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Isle of Wight Green Gym - Official Blog.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Wed 21st Sept 2016 - Sandown Meadows, Lake. GG # 653.

Terry's Photographs.

The "hairy lawn mowers" in an adjacent field.

Awaiting the session brief.

Off into the jungle.

Willow cutting gets underway.

Draging the cut material away….

…and disposing of it on the fire.

This week's GG competition, "Spot the Frog".

Just part of one of the (many!) willow thickets we tackled.

More for the fire.

A pile of cut willow.

Just one of the areas we cleared.

It has been some time since we last visited this venue but everyone seemed to remember where it was located and arrived without incident. Although the parking is some distance from the work site, we were able to load the tools and tea making gear into the back of a pick-up truck which made transporting things easier! The instruction was simple - decimate any willow that you come across! It was to be cut down and transported to one of several fire sites around the area for disposal. Had the clumps of willow been stood in a grass field then that would have been easy but we had to hack our way through head high reeds and nettles, avoid falling in the steams and boggy areas before we could even start the willow cutting. Although overcast, the temperature was still above average for September, with some GGmers still wearing shorts (see photos above). Not an easy GG session but excellent progress was made at reducing the willow so WELL DONE to all those who attended.

Many thanks to Terry for taking the photographs this week.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Wed 14th Sept 2016 - Cockleton Meadow, Gurnard. GG # 652.

Alison's Photographs.

This was our 3rd visit (see 24th Feb and 4th May) to Cockleton Meadows and again the sun was shining upon us.  25 of us turned up to be greeted by a long list of tasks.  The first item on the agenda was to make compost bins using pallets.  We then raked the meadow of the mown grass and this was piled into the compost bins. Meanwhile, others were planting trees, and clearing dead wood from the orchard area.  Tea was taken in the shade of the walnut tree.

After tea break, the raking continued……  the compost bins were filled up and covered with tarpaulin. Once the hay was raked off yellow rattle seeds were sown to help reduce the vigour of the grasses and thereby encourage wild flowers to grow. The boundary hedge to the west of the site was given a tidy and the risings were added to the bonfire. 

We were lucky enough to spot a small toad crawling through the grass – he was rescued and moved out of harm’s way.  Butterflies were in abundance with red admirals in the orchard feeding on fallen apples and a small copper found on the meadow.  The hedges were full of rosehips and sloes; the trees in the orchard are now in full production with apples, crab apples and walnuts.  It is not surprising this site is becoming one of our favourites!

Many thanks to Alison for the photographs and editorial this week. (Well done!)

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Wed 7th Sept 2016 - Seagrove Dell, Nettlestone. GG # 651.

Terry's Photographs.

Above and below… there is a pond under there SOMEWHERE..!

Where do we start..????

Common green shield bug.

How different from just a few hours earlier.
All ready for those winter rains.

It has been a while, 5 years in fact, since our previous session clearing vegetation from this... 'pond'.  I hesitate to describe it as a pond as it was dry when we worked there today and has been for most of the summer.  It is a balancing pond, it takes water and stores it before more gently the water soaks away into nearby ditches.  This performs a valuable role in preventing flooding and of course provides habitat for wildlife.  Its ephemeral nature means that it wouldn't be a place to find some pond species such as dragonflies, which need several years of water to be present to go through their life cycle.  But would still be valuable habitat for many other species of wildlife which I'm sure call this Dell home at some point during the year.   

We were asked to gather today to remove some of the more rampant vegetation which might, if left, have hampered the flow and created issues.  You will see from the photos that the pond is now clear, apart from some habitat left for shelter and as a home for overwintering amphibians within the pond.

Well done everyone for finding the site and for a brilliant morning's work.

We would like to thank the IW branch of CPRE for once again supporting us and awarding us the certificate in their Anti Litter Campaign.  We aim to leave each week our particular sites litter free and collect many bags of material over the year.  

Many thanks to Terry for the super photographs and Mark for the editorial.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Wed 31st Aug 2016 - Swanmore Meadows, Ryde. GG # 650.

Terry's Photographs.

Gentlemen…..start your barrows…!

Not exactly the "yellow brick road".

A Plume Moth.

Tea break.

"Island Roads" continues their mammoth task.

One of the many pathways we trimmed back.

The IoW Green Gym reached another milestone this week with our 650th session…! We were on a "return mission" to Swanmore Meadows, continuing the stirling work we started there a few weeks ago. As we all began to assemble, having parked in various areas, it was noticeable that the pile of chippings had grown somewhat since we left it last time. Mark informed us that we didn't have to spread the whole lot (phew…thank goodness!) as another group of volunteers was also helping to repair the pathways. We focused our efforts on the path that we worked on last time, the one running north/south between Rosemary Lane and Quarry Road and parallel to the railway line. This path has a passing loop arrangement so is almost twice as long as it needs to be. Although it was rather a cloudy day, the sun did break through occasionally and the humidity was rather high, which made the wheel-barrowing hard work. For the ones who didn't fancy shovelling or barrow pushing then there was still plenty to do with a massive litter pick and trimming the overgrown areas along the numerous pathways that crisscross the site. As much as we enjoy improving the area for the dog walkers it would be so much nicer if they would clear up after their dogs - rather than leaving it for us to do. Another very busy session so well done to all those who attended.

Many thanks to Terry for the photographs this week.