It was a momentous evening - the return of the GARLAND OF JOY!
For the first time since the start of the pandemic we resurrected the Garland of Joy last night, and the first recipient was Jane to celebrate her 10th Good Deed. Well done Jane! There was some chat about passing it around to make up for all the missed Garland wearing over the last 2 years, so send in your petitions/applications if you've missed out on a garland-worthy milestone.
Iffley Glebe is one of Iffley village’s most important open spaces, playing a vital role in maintaining the rural atmosphere of Iffley within it's city setting. The field is full of wildflowers each summer and the ancient hedge across the field provides birds with nesting places, and insects and berries for food. At night the glebe is an important hunting ground for bats and owls. The stone wall surrounding the site has a lot of weeds growing in it which, although pretty, need clearing regularly in order to keep the wall in good condition. That was one of our tasks for the evening, as well as some (very careful) pruning back of tree branches in the corner of the site - being sure to check for any signs of nesting birds before chopping.
It turns out 25 pairs of hands makes light work of weeding walls and pruning. Despite some minor traumas (spiders, stinging nettles), snickering over childhood names for galium aparine (aka...sticky-willy), and not quite resisting the urge to stick goose-grass on anyone's back (thank you Samantha, in an hour we had stripped the main wall along the Glebe of the worst of it's weeds inside and out (not the moss though!), and made a good start along the two side walls too, although some of the ivy proved extremely tenacious.
The cold wind meant there was no hanging around after the group photo - we were straight away off running, taking the scenic route back along the Thames Path past Iffley Lock.
It's the return of light evenings: No more Wednesday GoodGyming in the dark!
Our first post-clock-change task was at one of our regular locations - Boundary Brook Nature Park. Over the course of the last year we've been gradually extending the gravel paths around the site. We have an efficient system for the task nailed now, so we set to work with a dozen wheelbarrows moving in convoy, and an ace shovelling team. We were able to keep a constant flow of gravel moving through the Nature Park and getting deposited at Henry and Helen's feet for raking and spreading into a smooth(ish) pathway. We even spotted a deer rushing through the woodland as we worked.
It was great to see the bird hide coming together over in the wildflower meadow section of the Nature Park, as we shifted a lot of the wood to make the structure on a previous GoodGym task, and also weeded bramble roots out of the area to creare a smooth space for it. :-) People will now be able to get to it on a smooth new gravel path.
In total we shifted approximately 5 tonnes of gravel to extend the wheelchair-friendly paths around the nature park which we started back in April 2021. That works out at 1/3 of a tonne per GoodGymer - A more than decent workout! I'm sure we're all feeling it in our arms and shoulders this morning.
Welcome to GoodGym Nadeem!
You can find out more about Oxford Urban Wildlife Group, who manage the Nature Park, here.
What a difference a week makes!
In a massive contrast with last week's wind and rain we were treated to a glorious spring evening for the last Wednesday before the clocks go forward.
Meeting outside the Iffley Road Sports Centre - site of Roger Bannister's original sub-4 minute mile - on what serendipitously turned out to be Roger Bannister's birthday, we split off into walking and running groups.
Lead by Katie, the walkers set off for a bucolic loop of Aston's Eyot, complete with deer sightings and a beautiful sunset.
Meanwhile the runners were put through their paces by Bethan and Ben - our amazing new Run Leaders. Dodging fellow track users we completed a warm up loosely modelled on a Junior parkrun warmup (if it's good enough for a 5 year old it's good enough for me...) then split the group down the middle for the main session. Ben's group completed a pyramid efforts session; gradually increasing the effort distance and decreasing the recovery distance then working back down to the original distances. Meanwhile Bethan's group took on sets of 300m efforts with 100m walk/jog recovery intervals.
Suitably sweaty we managed to all finish at roughly the same time, which is one of the major benefits of running on the track - everyone can work to their own effort level. With a mixture of experienced and less experienced runners, people who haven't been able to run for a few weeks etc, running around in circles is a great way to keep the group together.
With perfect timing we exited the sports centre just as the walkers got back and all headed up the footpath for a few drinks at The Oxford Blue.
This was Amy's last session before moving to Cambridge, where shockingly there is no GoodGym! Good luck Amy!
Iffley Glebe playis a vital role in maintaining the rural atmosphere of Iffley. The glebe is full of wildflowers each summer and the ancient hedge across the field provides birds with nesting places, and insects and berries for food. At night the glebe is an important hunting ground for bats and owls.
Iffley Glebe is not open to the public, so this is a rare chance to see it and contribute to it's upkeep.
Tasks will include:
- Pulling/clearing of the plants growing in the wall (except moss)
- Tidying up the area around the garage, including checking for nesting birds, chopping back branches, cleaning the drive of brambles/plants other than grass, and general tidying up
- Cutting/pulling ivy off trees
- Cleaning the sign
Please bring your own gardening gloves. All tools will be provided by Oxford Preservation Trust. Meeting options: * Anyone wishing to run to the task as a group please meet in the car park of the Richard Benson Hall, 276b Cowley Rd no later than 6pm. It's about a mile and a half to Iffley Glebe. There won’t be a bag drop available. We will take the direct route to Iffley Glebe but we can run back the scenic route along the Thames Path afterwards. * If you would prefer to meet at the task please meet us outside Iffley Church Hall at 6:15pm.
Back on the spring/summer tasks now the clocks have changed!
Boundary Brook Nature Park was created in 1990 when a group of community wildlife enthusiasts rescued a plot of disused allotments to carve out a wild space in the heart of East Oxford. 30 years on the space is thriving, with mixed woodland, meadow, a nature pond and butterfly glade.
Oxford Urban Wildlife Group have asked for our help to finish building the paths we started last May. We’ll do a Saturday afternoon session in April too.
Please bring your own gardening gloves. All other tools will be provided.
* Anyone wishing to run or walk to the task as a group please meet in the car park of the Richard Benson Hall, 276b Cowley Rd at 6pm. There will be running and walking routes planned. It's less than a mile to Boundary Brook Nature Park. There won’t be a bag drop available.
* If you would prefer to meet at the task please meet us outside Larkrise Primary on Boundary Brook Road at 6:15pm.
We've been given access to the Roger Bannister Track for a running session this evening!
Track sessions are great for all speeds and experience of runners - since we run around in circles no-one can get too far ahead or behind the group :-)
We will do an introductory session including a warm up, then a section of fast and slow intervals led by 2 of our newest run leaders, followed by a cool down jog at the end. The principle is similar to a HIIT session, where you alternate sections of higher effort with gentle recovery sections. Everyone will run or run-walk at their own pace, so the faster runners will just have to complete more intervals in the time ;-).
Running not your thing? We’ll have a walking group lead by Katie who will meet at the same place and time for an evening walk instead.
Open to all, come and join in!
The walking and running groups will meet up at The Oxford Blue at 7:15pm - anyone's welcome even if you haven't joined the run/walk.
Meet outside the main reception to the Iffley Road Sports Centre at 6:10pm to either walk or run. If you are late then explain to reception that you are with GoodGym and they will direct you through to the track.
If you would like to jog 1km over to the sports centre with the group meet at The Richard Benson Hall, 276 Cowley Road at 6pm.