Task Programme

Gallery pictureGallery pictureGallery pictureGallery pictureGallery pictureGallery picture

UpcomingRecent2019201820172016201520142013Older

Sunday 18 Aug 2019Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
Gallery picture
This National Nature Reserve is an OCV favourite. It's set on the chalk slopes that mark the western boundary of the Chiltern Hills. The sheep-cropped grass that covers the chalk is an ideal wild flower habitat. Our work here in high summer usually involves either the maintenance of the public access routes or the installation of the new all-steel 'clip-it' fencing system (and that's not always quite as easy as you might think it sounds).Whatever the job we'll be working with one of the reserve wardens, which means that if you've ever thought about leading a task then this would be a good one to start with. If you're interested contact Phil at tasks@ocv.org.uk. Full details of the day's work will be posted to the mailing list via the task leader's email as usual.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Ray Hitchins

Thursday 15 Aug 2019Wind and Solar Farms Tour - 6.30pmWestmill Community Wind & Solar Farm
Gallery picture
For August's social, we'll head to Westmill Community Wind & Solar Farm for a guided tour to see community energy in action! We'll experience the scale of the turbines and solar park up close, learn about renewable energy, hear the history of the site and find out about the installation and energy generation of the five turbines and over twenty thousand solar panels. We'll have a meal somewhere nearby before heading back to Oxford. We'll meet our tour guide at the farm at 6.30pm if you want to make your own way there. Otherwise car sharing can be organised, we should leave Oxford around 5.40pm.
Contact: Anne

Sunday 11 Aug 2019Meadow Cut & RakeIffley Island, Oxford
Gallery picture
A traditional OCV task for high summer: our regular cut of this SSSI by the Thames, on behalf of the Oxford Preservation Trust. Despite its name the site is not quite an island, but there are houseboats on an inlet to one side and the open river to another. We'll cut the sedge and reeds and rake the cuttings off so they won't enrich the soil. The end result is beneficial to the wild flowers on the site, and, in particular, to the fritillaries hereabouts. If the sun shines this is one of the high-lights of the OCV calendar. As last year we'll be using our set of Austrian Scythes - look out for more details in the weekly task email.
Leader: Anne CossuttaDriver: Tim Bletsoe

Tuesday 6 Aug 2019Committee MeetingTown Hall
The committee meets once a month in the Oxford Town Hall to make sure that the group operates smoothly. This month we're in the Jury Room - if you'd like to come along and see how we run things and perhaps get more involved you're very welcome to join us. Alternatively, we'll be in the Royal Blenheim pub from about 9pm.
Contact: Jenny

Sunday 4 Aug 2019Site ReclamationEast Ward Allotments, Oxford
The East Ward Allotments are in the heart of East Oxford off Cricket Road. The plan today is to help The Children's Allotment project reclaim a corner of the Allotment site that used to be a nursery area. For more details see http://thechildrensallotment.org. At the time of writing there are a number of possible tasks: redundant shed walls to take down and dismantle; stands of bramble to dig out; and some landscaping work. For more details nearer the day make sure you've signed up to the OCV email list.
Leader: Andy MoDriver: Chris Skepper

Sunday 28 Jul 2019Meadow Cut & RakeNorth Hinksey Nature Reserve
Gallery picture
This small reserve, created on what was once allotments, now borders a business park, and sees a lot of use. Despite its small size it has a good mix of habitats - a stream and pond, a small meadow, a splendid hedge, and a community orchard. The main job today will be to scythe and rake the meadow area to enhance conditions for wildflowers. There's a chance too that we'll be working to improve the pond and stream areas with some excavation work on the banks.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Jo Gay

Friday 26 Jul 2019Potluck + Tools Maintenance Social - 5.30pmCutteslowe Park, Oxford
Gallery picture
Join us at our Cutteslowe Park toolshed from 5.30pm where our amazing tools need a bit of love so we can keep doing good work year round! There will be some sharpening to be done, a few shelves to fix, minor minibus repairs to be carried out... No experience whatsoever necessary, it's just a good opportunity to get together and if you've never been to the toolshed, a way to see what goes on "behind the scenes"! Please bring some snacks and drinks to share if you'd like. I can pick up a few people from the town centre if they need a lift. Please RSVP if you'd like to join: socials@ocv.org.uk
Contact: Anne

Sunday 21 Jul 2019Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
Gallery picture
Our regular monthly visit to Aston Rowant National Nature Reserve in the Chilterns. The site is managed by Natural England and, as usual, we'll be working under the guidance of one of the site wardens. Summer time work at Aston Rowant could be fencing, path work, or looking after the sheep. As usual, the details of the planned work will be announced on the mailing list in the week preceding the task. So if you're not already on our mailing list, then now is the time to join it. We're always looking for new task leaders (OCV depends on some volunteers being willing to lead) and an Aston Rowant task is a great opportunity to try it out under the supervision of one of the wardens. Contact Phil at tasks@ocv.org.uk for more details.
Leader: Tim EvansDriver: Tim Bletsoe

Sunday 14 Jul 2019Fence RepairsBurgess Field Nature Park, North Oxford
Gallery picture
Burgess Field is large green space of 8.5 hectares that sits between the main railway line out of north Oxford and Port Meadow. It's a mix of rough open grassland with stands of mature trees and long hedge-lines. It's also, in places, some ten to twelve feet higher than the neighbouring Port Meadow largely because of the junk left hereabouts when the site was used as a city dump. When the dump was closed it was capped with clay, then topsoil, then planted up, and left to itself. It now needs more attentive management, so today we'll be working to repair the post and wire fence that runs along the western boundary of Burgess Field. This is the fence that makes sure that the livestock that graze the meadow stay on the meadow. The fence-line follows the bottom of the bank that marks the edge of the Field, so if it's been raining it will be wet underfoot. If there's a good turn-out of volunteers there'll also be some selective removal of young scrub on the open grassland areas.
Leader: Andy MoDriver: Chris Skepper

Sunday 7 Jul 2019Fen Cutting & RakingLye Valley, Oxford
Gallery picture
A second successive Sunday at Lye Valley. It used to be the case that we could rake both fens in the valley in a single day. It's a mark of the progressive improvement in the quality and extent of this relatively rare habitat that it now takes us two full days. The Friends of Lye Valley have been making constant improvements and the results are impressive – come and see for yourself. This Sunday we'll be on, and possibly in, the North Fen. As with last week, if there's been rain, you'll need wellies.
Leader: Jenny HillDriver: Tim Bletsoe

Tuesday 2 Jul 2019Committee MeetingTown Hall
The committee meets once a month in the Oxford Town Hall to make sure that the group operates smoothly. This month we're in the Jury Room - if you'd like to come along and see how we run things and perhaps get more involved you're very welcome to join us. Alternatively, we'll be in the Royal Blenheim pub from about 9pm.
Contact: Jenny

Sunday 30 Jun 2019Fen Cutting & RakingLye Valley, Oxford
Gallery picture
Lye Valley is one of three specially designated conservation sites in the 'Wild Oxford' BBOWT project (for more information see http://www.bbowt.org.uk/wildoxford). There are two fens at Lye Valley: one to the north, off the Slade; and one to the south, by the golf course. Today we'll work on the South Fen. Once again, we'll be joined by the Friends of Lye Valley, and ecologist Judy Webb, who usually manages to find, and photograph, all kinds of fascinating things (click on 'Reserves', then 'Lye Valley', then 'Photos'). It's the kind of job that needs lots of people, so come along and lend a hand. If there's been rain, you'll need wellies.
Leader: Andy MoDriver: Ray Hitchins

Thursday 27 Jun 2019Punting & Picnic Social - 6.30pmCherwell Boat House
Gallery picture
As is tradition, we'll be going punting on the Cherwell for this month's social. We'll meet at 6.30pm at the Cherwell Boat House and we'll punt up the river until we reach a suitable spot for a picnic! Email socials@ocv.org.uk if you'd like to come and don't forget to bring some food and drinks to share on the day (and money for the punt hire). As always, you don't have to be a regular volunteer to join - everyone is welcome!
Contact: Anne

Sunday 23 Jun 2019Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
Gallery picture
Our monthly return visit to this important National Nature Reserve in the Chilterns. It's a site that includes important chalk grassland grazed by flocks of sheep. Early summer means it's likely that we'll be working to improve public access on the site by improving paths, installing hand-rails and gates, or repairing post and wire fences. Whatever the work, and whatever the weather, full details will be in the weekly email as usual. We're always looking for new task leaders (OCV depends on some volunteers being willing to lead) and an Aston Rowant task is a great opportunity to try it out under the supervision of one of the Natural England wardens, either Mick or Kate, who manage the site. Contact Phil at tasks@ocv.org.uk for more details.
Leader: Tim BletsoeDriver: Tim Howard

Sunday 16 Jun 2019Reserve MaintenanceStansfeld Park, Oxford
Gallery picture
Stansfeld Park in Headington Quarry, Oxford is set within 18 acres of woodland with ponds, marshland and meadows. The undulating landscape results from quarrying for limestone in the area that was used to build many of Oxford's colleges, churches and civic buildings. When quarrying ended, a variety of habitats formed, including limestone grassland, ash and hazel woodland, dense hawthorn scrub, ponds and wetland. We'll be working for the Oxford Trust who have taken on the job of rejuvenating the site partly as a local amenity and partly an educational resource. Today's task has been arranged with Dr. Roger Baker, the Trust's Outdoor Learning and Ecology Manager, to mark the public opening of Stansfeld Park with a family-friendly set of jobs to do, including the reinforcement of the many paths with bark chippings. For more info nearer the day see the OCV weekly task email, and for more on the exciting prospects for Stansfeld Park under the management of The Oxford Trust see their website: http://theoxfordtrust.co.uk/stansfeld-education-centre/.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Tim Howard

Friday 7 Jun 2019 -
Monday 10 Jun 2019
Peak District ResidentialPeak District National Park, Derbyshire
Gallery picture
We're heading to the Peak District this weekend to volunteer with wardens from the Peak District National Park Authority and the Peak Park Conservation Volunteers who look after this spectacular part of the country. We'll be staying near Grindleford in the Hope Valley. The work will be decided nearer the time, but in the past we've worked on footpaths on the fells and in the valley, restoring dew ponds, reinforcing river banks, clearing scrub, and peat restoration on the moors. The accommodation will be indoors with beds and showers, and there is a good kitchen and living area with space outside for barbecues if the weather allows. The plan is to leave Friday evening, volunteer on Saturday and Sunday, then on Monday go for a walk or do some sightseeing and return after lunch. Residential trips are great fun and open to all OCV members. If you're not a member it only costs £5 to join for the year, and we'll tell you when we start taking bookings.
Leader: Tim BletsoeDriver: Ed Polehampton

Tuesday 4 Jun 2019Committee MeetingTown Hall
The committee meets once a month in the Oxford Town Hall to make sure that the group operates smoothly. This month we're in the Jury Room - if you'd like to come along and see how we run things and perhaps get more involved you're very welcome to join us. Alternatively, we'll be in the Royal Blenheim pub from about 9pm.
Contact: Jenny

Sunday 2 Jun 2019Reserve MaintenanceTrap Grounds, Oxford
Gallery picture
The Trap Grounds is a small pocket of the countryside in the middle of urban north Oxford hard by the canal. It's managed by an enthusiastic volunteer group (The Friends of The Trap Grounds) and includes a range of habitats: woodland, ponds, reed-beds, and areas of meadow and marsh. Today's task consists of two parts, the first of which is a landscaping project. We'll be building a ridge around the back of a newly sited pond and, if the water levels are low enough, we'll be digging a trench down into the bottom of the pond. The second part (nesting birds permitting) involves a bonfire of cut willow brash, felled last winter, that has been roughly stacked nearby on the margins of another pond.
Leader: Phil HunterDriver: Ray Hitchins

Sunday 26 May 2019Post & Wire Fence RemovalBurgess Field Nature Park, North Oxford
Gallery picture
Burgess Field Nature Park is another Oxford nature reserve that used to be a city landfill site. It's a large site of 8.5 hectares and, like Aston's Eyot and the Trap Grounds, it lies close to the river Thames – to be precise, between the main railway line and Port Meadow. The land is owned by the City Council, and we'll be working with the newly formed Friends of Burgess Field. Last summer we took out several hundred meters of redundant post and wire fence. Today we'll take out several hundred more and, hopefully, finish the job. We'll be pulling staples, rolling barbed wire, and knocking out posts: straightforward, no-holds-barred destruction.
Leader: Andy MoDriver: Chris Skepper

Sunday 19 May 2019Reserve MaintenanceAston Rowant NNR, South Oxfordshire
Gallery picture
We're back to one of our favourite sites this week. We'll be helping the Reserve warden maintain the nationally important calcareous grassland habitat. At this time of year we might actually begin to see some of the rare plants that our work helps to protect. We could be helping out with fence and gate repairs, or doing whatever other maintenance jobs are required on the site. As usual everyone will be welcome and full details of the project and the meeting place will be given in the weekly email. If you've ever thought about getting more involved as an OCV task leader then this would be a great one to start with - contact Phil Hunter tasks@ocv.org.uk for more info.
Leader: Ray HitchinsDriver: Tim Howard