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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

Wednesday 30 April 2008

Wed 30th April 2008 - Freshwater Community Centre

Regular readers of this blog will have noticed that the Green Gym is remarkably lucky with the weather on Wednesday mornings. This week we almost came unstuck but the forecasted rain proved to be just the odd shower - which helped with watering in of the new plants. Our tasks this week continued on from the groundwork (excuse the pun!) that we started last week. This time we were putting down the weed suppressing membrane, planting up and then applying a top mulch to the beds. The two enormous piles of mulch took forever to wheelbarrow and shovel around the plants but the end result was well worth the effort. Other GG members tackled some of the other flower beds around the building - giving them a good weeding and trim as required.
Many thanks to the catering staff for our mid-morning refreshments and the excellent buffet at lunchtime.
The photographs this week are from Carrie & Eddie......many thanks to you both.

Wednesday 23 April 2008

Wed 23rd April 2008 - Freshwater Community Centre.

With this week's Green Gym falling on St George's Day, you might expect us to have been out slaying the odd dragon - in fact we were taming flower beds in Freshwater. The beds were all around the community centre and in need of some tender loving care. The three main beds (at the front of the building) were de-weeded, dug over to remove roots etc before applying compost and digging it in. This is in preparation for further work when these areas will be planted up with low maintenance plants. The work on the numerous other garden areas incuded trimmed back, weeding, digging over and all the other jobs that every garden needs. It was amazing to see just how many wheelbarrow loads were taken to the composting heaps. The day had started with rain but it cleared before 10 am - so the Green Gym luck continues. The meeting was very well attended and even the County Press paid us a visit - so we might be famous yet again.
We would like to thank the catering staff for laying on the drinks at coffee time and for the superb buffet that was available to those who stayed on for the GG AGM - a meal suitable for St George himself...!
Thanks to Eddie for the photographs this week.

Thursday 17 April 2008

Isle of Wight Green Gym wins national award.

The following was recently published in the Island Beacon magazine.... Well done to all.

Island Green Gym Wins National Award
The Isle of Wight Green Gym has won a National Green Gym Award at a ceremony organised by conservation charity BTCV. The Awards, presented by Caroline Flint MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary for Public Health, highlighted the success of the Green Gym programme that allows people to improve their physical and mental health through short periods of practical conservation within their local community.Green Gyms are free, fun and help protect local green spaces. Mark Russell, Isle of Wight Green Gym Chairman and Carole Walker, Education Officer, picked up the award for group sustainability.The Isle of Wight Green Gym meets every Wednesday at different locations on the Island. For further information about Green Gym or call Colin and June Withers on 866459.

Wednesday 16 April 2008

Wed 16th April 2008 - Dimbola Lodge Freshwater.

This week we had a new venue for the Green Gym - Dimbola Lodge at Freshwater. Blog readers who are not from the Island or those who are not aware of this wonderful place, please use the following link - - it is well worth a look. We were asked to tackle several areas in the gardens that had been "left to nature" and they certainly were in need of a serious Green Gym offensive..! The work included grubbing out a raised boarder (two trees were removed completely), cutting back the overgrown shrubs before digging over the boarders and hedge cutting. The wheelbarrowers were a blur as they tried to keep up with the people cutting things down..! We would like to thank the catering staff for the hot drinks they made for us during our teabreak. By the end of the session the areas were looking much tidier although further visits would be needed to complete all the tasks. We hope that a certain 60's musician, who was overseeing our efforts, was happy with what we achieved...! There was a good turnout and the weather was sunny although the easterly wind was a little cool.
Thanks to Carrie & Eddie for the pictures.

Thursday 10 April 2008

Wed 9th April 2008 - Fort Victoria.

Our friendly Rangers decided that the Extreme Path Building (see earlier blog dated Wed 12th March 2008) that we did previously was just too tame...! This time they tasked us to take things to a new level (please excuse the pun) and try Extreme Path Excavating. Part of one of the main footpaths had been destroyed by the recent storms so it needed to be re-routed through the surrounding woods. The area was surveyed - to decide the best possible route and to ensure there were no nesting birds around. Then it was just down to brute force - hacking away at the undergrowth, removing trees/shrubs/brambles etc, cut into the sloping clay and level a 1.5 metre walkway. This involved moving huge boulders, using stakes & boards to make steps and path edging then using the excavated soil (mostly clay) to backfill as we went along. Not shown in the above pictures was the "spiral staircase" built at the far end where the new path dropped down to join the original one. All the GGmers that attended are now fully qualified to work as Navvies or be part of a chain gang....! The weather was warm and sunny and we had a excellent turnout.
Many thanks to Carrie and Eddy for the pictures.

Monday 7 April 2008

Isle of Wight - April - SNOW.....!!!

Can you believe the weather we are having.....especially here on the Island! Last Wednesday the GG was held in warm sunshine and yet on Sunday we were making snowballs and sledging.... It started around 8:30 am and was melting by lunchtime - but was enough for the "snow starved" Islanders to get out there and have fun. So many snowmen built in so little time!
Let's keep our fingers crossed that the plants and wildlife doesn't suffer too badly in this cold snap and that things have warmed up by our next GG on Wednesday. I have tried to find out how often the Island gets snow this late in the year but drawn a blank - I am sure that one of you will be able to fill me in on the facts. See Post Script below.
The following was found on the UK Met Office web site....
Snow in April is not uncommon, according to the Met Office, although heavy falls are unusual: "The last time we saw a decent snowfall in the UK in April was in 1989 [on the fifth day of the month], when heavy snow fell across parts of the south Midlands and central southern England." In parts of the south 8-10cm (3-4in) of snow was reported but it thawed during the day and overnight.
In 1981 there was a blizzard towards the end of April. "Low pressure to the west of the UK moving east generated a severe blizzard in an area from Dartmoor north across east Wales and the Cotswolds, Midlands and Lincolnshire wolds." The Met Office says snow on April 25-26 that year was persistent, with lightning and a gale. Gloucestershire had up to 66cm of snow, the southern Pennines 50-60cm. "It was the worst blizzard since April 1908.
For further information about UK winters, use the following link
Finally, if you have any better snow shots - please send them to me and I will try to post them here on the blog.
Post Script.
The following was published in the County Press this week - under their "Looking Back" column.
April 12, 1958. The IW experienced the worst Easter weather of the century, with freezing temperatures, biting winds and even snowstorms leaving beaches and promenades deserted. Competitors in the Island's annual Easter cycle rally responded by singing Christmas carols in the snow.

Saturday 5 April 2008

GG Quiz Team

The following message has just arrived from June - well done to all those involved.

It doesn't happen often that our Green Gym Quiz Team does this, so we thought we'd tell you, we came FIRST in the quiz last night at Riverside, in the hope you think it work a mention on the blog.

It was held in aid of the Red Squirrel Project and Simon Craddock was Quiz Master.

Our team was Mark, Colin, Phil, Carole and June. We all were given a welcome bottle of wine for winning.

Wednesday 2 April 2008

Wed 2nd April 2008 - NatureZones, Blackwater.

This week there was a new venue for the GG Team - NatureZones at Blackwater. This is a non-profit making charity, sited to the south of Blackwater, just off the old railway line / present day cycle track.
(See the following link to the NZ site - for details). The team was met by Angela who gave us a talk about their aims and ambitions then took us for a guided tour to point out the tasks we had been assigned. Thank goodness that we had an excellent turnout as there was plenty of tasks to tackle - everything from post fencing to ditch digging...! The site is split between general meadow and woodland with a stream running between the two. The woodland area was given a quick makover by cutting back branches that overhung the pathways, collecting fallen wood to create nature piles and trying to pull up some of the plentful supply of sycamore shoots that are everywhere...! Another group tackled the overgrown areas of the stream - cutting back fallen trees and dredging out the mud and leaves. Others were involved in piling fence posts, digging up turfs and numerous other, what a busy day...! Come coffee time we were suprised by being given cake and those who stayed after 1pm were treated to soup and bread...... many thanks to Angela and her helper for the hospitality shown to us.
The top two pictures above were taken by Eddy and the ones below them by Hilary - thanks to you both.
The two pictures below were sent in by Carrie....many thanks to you as well.