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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Wed 29th July 2015 - Rew Dow, Ventnor. GG # 595.

Carrie's Photographs. (Team A)

This week's Green Gym was held down in the "Deep South" of the Island - Rew Down Ventnor. According to Mark's statistics, this would be our 8th session at this venue but we hadn't worked there since 2009! Right at the start it was decided to split the group in two….. one party to work at the bottom of the down and the other to go right up to the top, by the golf club car park. Team A (at the bottom) were tasked to "plant" closing posts for a recently installed kissing gate. It sounded an easy enough job until we realised that the majority of Ventnor is built on chalk and the posts had to be planted some 2.5 feet into the ground! Having carefully measured out EXACTLY where everything had to go (easy for people to transit the gate but a barrier to grazing sheep) it was all hands to the spades. The pictures above show just how deep we had to go..! The posts were then tamped into their final positions and the surrounding ground levelled and cleared, ready for the fencing to be re-instated at a later date. Teams B and C had to scale Ventnor's equivalent of Everest - so well done to them…! 

A windy, cloudy day but it did stay dry and we had a good turnout.

Many thanks to the Golf Club who allowed us the use of their car park.

Alison's Photographs. (Team B)

Alison reports that there were 8 large sacks of ragwort collected,
so well done to Team B…!

Perhaps the remains of a badger fight?

Mark's Photographs.  (Team C)

Team A climb "the mountain" for tea break.

Nice views of the Round the Island Race - see link below.

And, from Mark…..

A couple notes  from me...

Nice to get back to Rew Down.  It has been quite a time.  In fact the folks on the Ragwort pulling task today, Team B, used the stile we installed the last time we were here!

 I don't have any pics of the Ragwort pulling gang, Team B, unfortunately as I was with yet a further group, Team C;  and we were neither up nor down as we were working on the corral - cutting and clearing access to the gate there and working on the fenceline.  

Here is a link to the round the Island race which we witnessed passing by this morning.  It was apparently part of the Royal Yacht Squadron's Bi-centenary International Regatta.


Carrie's Nature Find.

This week’s find is Common Knapweed (Centaurea nigra), also known as Black Knapweed or hardheads.  This common and familiar plant with thistle like flower heads, spineless leaves and stem blooms from June to September.  The flowers are purple although occasionally you may see them in white, and exist in two forms known as rayed and un-rayed.

This tall, native grassland perennial is found in low to moderately fertile soils, but not very damp or acid sites, so the place we found it on the fairly steep side of Rew Down is perfect for this beautiful plant.
It is found in pastures, road verges, meadows, field borders, scrub land, woodland edges and waste ground.  It can survive for some years in both grazed pasture and neglected tussocky grassland, but in order to regenerate it needs an opportunity to seed into open ground.

The flowers are pollinated by a wide range of insects including flies, butterflies, beetles and bees, while the resulting see heads attract gold finches and other seed feeding birds – in fact the bank we found this group of flowers was absolutely covered in bees and butterflies - absolutely fantastic to see.

Many thanks to Carrie for her photographs and editorial and to Alison and Mark for their contributions.

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