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IoW GG links

To look at the Isle of Wight Green Gym web page (contains details of sessions etc) please use the following link :-

The link to Twitter is

If you would like to leave us any comments then please use this link

Thursday 18 December 2008

Wed 17th Dec 2008 - Shide Quarry, Newport.

And so the Green Gym for 2008 draws to a close.......! Our last meeting of the year was held at our "traditional" Christmas break-up venue, the chalk pit at Shide. The weather was kind to us, perhaps a little cool in the shade but the sun shone for the festivities. With around 45 people in attendance, good progress was made at cutting down the scrub on the bottom and walls of the pit. The fire was a welcome way of warming cold fingers. Rather than rabbit on myself - I will hand over to some of the GG members.......
Hello Everyone.
Of the fifty Green Gyms of 2008, how many different sites would you guess we have visited? Well there were actually thirty different sites which have benifited from all your hard work during this year, lets give a big cheer for us lot eh! Today, the site was Shide Quarry, as many of you will know, as we had 45 volunteers there, where we all enjoyed the company, work, weather and no particular order! Next year Green Gym begins again on the 7th January. Click on the link below to check the programme.
Can I wish you all a very Happy Christmas and New Year, see you in 2009!
Take care. MarkMark RussellChairman, Isle of Wight Green Gym
Yes a big cheer to us lot, but an even bigger cheer to the 'committee' who make it all happen, particularly:
Mark - we'd be lost without you!
Geoff (nice spuds, look forward to tasting 'em next year
Hope you feel better soon Colin. We missed you.
And where are you Crawfs - not seen you for ages.

Happy Christmas everyone.
CU in 2009. Angela
And from me......your friendly Blog Master......a Very Merry Christmas to you all.

Friday 12 December 2008

Wed 10th Dec 2008 - St Saviors School Totland

This week’s Green Gym was at St Saviours School, Summers Land, Totland. Our second visit to this venue, with the previous one being so hot and dry digging was a real challenge. This time we were planting beech, hawthorn, hazel and some field maple around the perimeter of their field, hopefully to provide a wind break when the trees mature. Another excellent turnout on a crisp, sunny, chilly day, with some excellent views across the Solent to the mainland and Hurst Castle. Some of us were digging holes - the task being much easier than previously - although some areas contained a lot of clay so were rather claggy, while others followed along actually planting the trees.
Thanks to Carrie for the text and pictures.

Thursday 4 December 2008

Wed 3rd Dec 2008 - Millenium Green, Ryde

This week saw us Green Gymmers at Millenium Green in Ryde. This is a quiet oasis on the outskirts of Ryde which has become very popular with the group, and this is our third visit. It is cared for by a group of local volunteers allowing walkers to enjoy the peace and wildlife to flourish, and again we had a beautiful crisp sunny day with an excellent turnout of nearly 40 workers. Our tasks were clearance of bramble around some of the oak trees and further work to open up the butterfly meadow. We also restored a path which had been made some time ago, and was completely blocked by an impenetrable amount of bramble.
A group started at each end and followed the sound of each other’s voices to meet in the middle - shades of “Dr Livinstone I presume.

Thanks to Hilary & Eddie for the photographs and Carrie for the text.

Thursday 27 November 2008

Wed 26th Nov 2008 - Alverstone Mead.

This week saw us at one of our regular sites, Alverstone Mead. The weather stayed dry, and our main task was to clear a path on one side of a stream from the metal bridge into the field along to the hide itself. We also removed some bits of old fence and a few sycamores, stacked all the willow we removed for John to utilise for hedging, and also trimmed some previously cut willow into manageable pieces.
Many thanks to Carrie & Eddie for the pics this week and to Carrie for the editorial.

Thursday 20 November 2008

Wed 19th Nov 2008 - Parkhurst Forest.

If you go down to the woods today, You're in for a BIG suprise.....!

Yet another new site for the Green Gym, helping the Forestry Commission in Parkhurst Forest. Another fantastic turnout on a surprisingly mild and sunny, day, with over forty members beavering away. The new Commission warden for the Island Michael Pittock was on hand to go through our task, which was basically to remove small trees which had self seeded, including turkey oak to let more light into the area. They are hoping this will increase the diversity of wildlife, especially the pearl bordered fritillary butterfly, which is only found here in the Forest.

Many thanks to Carrie & Eddie for the photographs and Carrie also wrote the editorial.
Carrie's Nature Lesson.
This quite attractive golden brown fungus is one of the milkcap family, either a Curry Scented Milk Cap (Lactarius camphoratus) or Lactarius sphagneti. Both are small agarics with reddish brown caps, yellowish gills and exuding watery milk They are solitary or in extensive scattered groups on soil under conifers. The second is a member of the bracket family (of which there are approximately ten varieties in Britain), and this one is called Jelly fungi or jelly rot (Phlebia Tremellosa). It produces fruiting bodies which look like shapeless blobs of jelly or in shapes such as “ears” or “tongues”. It is rather like dry rot, and can be found on the ground as well as on trees.

Thursday 13 November 2008

Wed 12th Nov 2008 - Broadlea Primary School Lake.

This week saw the Green Gym at a new site, Broadlea Primary School in Lake. A superb turnout again on what was a beautiful sunny day, and the school has a lovely setting with views up to Ashey Down and the Seamark. Our first task was to cut back overgrown trees and hedges, and the second to clear their pond of weeds and surrounding bramble. It was amazing when it was all cleared to discover a very nice pathway at one edge and also some steps, neither of which had been seen for some time. Our third task was to erect a post and rail fence, in an area felt to be unsuitable for the children to play, where the pond overflows and becomes very muddy. We planted some additional saplings between the two areas of fence, and it will now be left as an area for wildlife.
Many thanks to Carrie & Eddie for the pictures and to Carrie for the editorial.

Thursday 6 November 2008

Wed 05th Nov 2008 - Ventnor Botanical Gardens.

The venue for the Green Gym this week was Ventnor Botanic Garden and the task - one of the things we do best - slash and burn, working in the Coastal Flower Meadow where we did some work a few months ago. Although the field has been cleared with the tractor, there was still an area that required bramble and tree removal and we had two bonfires going at the same time. Apparently they have tried to cultivate wild flowers here without much success, so the intention is to plant hops! Perhaps we will have a new beer known as “Green Gym Brew”. Another excellent turnout, with an amazing amount of clearance done in a couple of hours.
Many thanks to Carrie and Eddie for the photographs and text.

Carrie's Nature Lesson.

This week the GG Team were very observent and spotted the fungi pictured below.

“Trametes Gibbosa, also known as Lumpy bracket, is semicircular with a hump found singly or in groups. It is smooth and greyish white, sometimes coloured green due to algae growth. Its habitat is on dead deciduous trees, especially beech, is found all year round and not edible.

Ganoderma Applanatum, common name Artists Bracket is hard and corky with a knobby upper surface, and not edible. It is often pallid, grey brown, umber or cocoa coloured, and causes intensive white rot on dead trees.

Trametes Versicolor, sometimes known as Turkey Tail, is one of the most common types of bracket fungi, and so called due to the banding pattern on the fruiting bodies which looks like a turkey’s tail. It is generally dark to light brown sometimes with coloured bands of orange and maroon, and can be strikingly beautiful, also not edible.

Tremella Mesenterica known also as Witches Butter or Yellow Brain Fungus. The colours are from yellow to orange, and it starts as small jelly-like nodules which expand into a multi-folded brain shaped mass - it is poisonous”.

Thursday 30 October 2008

Wed 29th Oct 2008 - Mill Copse, Yarmouth.

The week the GG Team were out at Mill Copse, Yarmouth - but this time we didn't have the TV cameras with us! The rangers had been there ahead of us to cut down some of the non-native trees, saving the usable timber for other projects around the Island. Our task was to gather up all the branches etc and burn them - so Nov 5th came early for us this year. It was a wonderful bright day and the fire helped to take the edge off the cool easterly wind. Once again we had an excellent turnout and good progress was made at clearing the forest floor.

Carrie's Nature Lesson.

These berries were found near the bird hide and are named Black Bryony. The Latin name is Tamus communis, and it is the only member of the British Yam family. It is common in woodland edges and hedgerows on well drained soils, and its name comes from its fleshy underground roots that are black. The tubers are poisonous unless boiled, it produces small green flowers, and its bright red berries are also poisonous, sometimes fatal. Cattle can become addicted to the plant, sometimes dying as a result.
Many thanks to Carrie and Eddie for the excellent pictures.

Thursday 23 October 2008

Wed 22nd Oct 2008 - Seaview Dell.

This week was another new site for the Green Gym guess what - a pond! This time just round the corner from Seagrove Bay in Seaview at the bottom of Solent View road. The site has been improved over the last few years with the pond being dug out and lined and a new hedge planted around the perimeter.
The local pond warden had made quite a few suggestions about the work required, together with a fairly comprehensive report from Ray at the Footprint Trust.
There was quite a large amount of reed mace in the pond lots of which was removed, bramble and overhanging trees around the edges were cut back and also a large ash removed to allow more light into the area. A superb turnout as always, and as you can see from the before and after pictures, it’s amazing what we can do in a couple of hours.

An interesting find near the site was a fungi called Shaggy Ink Cap, which was in its early stages of growth. This is from the family Coprinaceae known as the ink caps. The shaggy ink cap or lawyer's wig, is a common species, edible when young. As it grows older the cap turns to a black liquid as it starts to decay. The genus takes its name from the common ink cap C. atramentarius, whose ageing caps were formerly used for making ink.
The Credits..! Many thanks to Carrie and Eddie for the photographs and to Carrie for the editorial & "nature lesson". We would also like to thank all the local people who came along to help on the day - especially the kind lady who supplied us with the cakes at teatime...!!!!
PS. The following arrived from Mark, just as the blog was being published......
A truly massive turn out of over 40 people worked with us this week. Many thanks to the community there as we had local residents, pond wardens and Parish Council members joining our numbers of regular volunteers. We were clearing some of the Reedmace which had been particularly successful there. We removed or cut back around 50% of the vegetation leaving plenty for cover and for regeneration. We also left the Bulrush and Pendulous Sedge which were much less abundant. Around the rest of the site we cleared back some of the brambles and felled an Ash tree both actions have gone a long way to open up the site. In addition we moved a small tree which had been planted in the memory of Roy Henley of the Seaview Garden Society, this was done to save the tree as it was in a very poorly state under the canopy of a much bigger Ash tree.

Thursday 16 October 2008

Wed 15th Aug 2008 - St Mary's RC Primary School, Ryde.

This week’s site was a new venue for the Green Gym, at St Mary’s RC Primary School in Ryde, which has encouraged wildlife into the grounds for some years. Our tasks were to tidy up their woodland area by cutting back overhanging trees, clearing brambles and nettles, then clearing vegetation from their pond and its surroundings. We also found an amazing wooden sculpture of a bush cricket situated in one of the old oak trees present in the woodland which are probably over 150 years old, together with some interesting bracket fungi.

The fungi is Polyporus Versicolor, common name “Turkey Tails” normally found in rows or overlapping shelves on stumps and logs of hardwoods from Autumn to Spring. The fruiting body is up to 10cm broad, bracket to shelf-like or fan-shaped, with thin, white, tough and fibrous flesh having a white to pale yellow layer of very small tubes, with the tube mouths more or less round.
Many thanks to Carrie for the pictures and editorial.