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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 :-

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Thursday 23 April 2009

Wed 22nd April 2009 - Moa Place Freshwater.

This week saw a good number of Green Gymmers at Moa Place in Freshwater, and although we have visited this site before, it now requires some ongoing maintenance. Generally our tasks were basic gardening, with lots of weeding of the beds at the front and in the middle of the car park, which were cleared and planted on our previous visit; the front beds look spectacular, but the small bed in the middle was very overgrown and generally trampled by feet and cars. Further tasks were digging up some old trees at the back, and general pruning of all the pathways which run round the building.
Carrie was the lady with the notebook and camera this week - many thanks to her.

Thursday 16 April 2009

Wed 15th April 2009 - Batts Copse, Shanklin.

This week’s venue was a site we have not visited for about three years now, Batts Copse in Shanklin, which is a large attractive area of woodland with some nice footpaths, and a fox has been seen here recently. It is very popular with residents and dog walkers, but also unfortunately popular for rubbish dumping – there was even an old duvet! The group were helping the rangers Richard and Nick, who always seem to provide us with an interesting variety of tasks. A large area on one of the footpaths is always muddy and gets worse in winter, so this was improved by the addition of limestone chippings – at least we had wheelbarrows this week! A section of chestnut paling fence was in a very poor state and required removing and replacing with a new fence, some steps needed repairing and were then made more passable by the addition of limestone chippings. A general litter pick was also undertaken, and the stream under a little bridge cleared of obstructions to improve the water flow.
Once again it is Cub Reporter Carrie behind the camera and notebook this week........many thanks.

Thursday 9 April 2009

Wed 8th April 2009 - Fort Victoria, Yarmouth.

Fort Victoria was our venue this week, with an excellent turnout on a gloriously sunny day (weather forecast wrong again, as it should have been rain!). Following some difficult winter weather, one of the footpaths leading down to the beach had partially collapsed, so we were helping the Rangers to re-instate it to join up with the part providing beach access. This involved putting down some membrane and covering it with limestone chippings; this method, rather than just the chippings, will help to make the path more solid and hopefully last longer. As usual there was a large pile (3 tons to be exact) of chippings to be moved down the hill to the path, but rather than wheelbarrows (too difficult to access) there was a new and interesting method - buckets! Nevertheless we soon had a chain going up and down the steep path, and the pile disappeared in no time.
Carrie's Nature Lesson.

Nick the Ranger was kind enough to do some adder-spotting for us, and managed to find one curled up in the sunshine (see image which is a male). Adders, (or common vipers) Vipera Berus are the most northerly distributed snake and the only species found inside the Arctic circle; they are also Britain’s only venomous reptile. They are relatively short and robust with large heads and rounded snouts. The red-brown eyes have vertical elliptical, rather than round pupils, a feature of all venomous snakes. Males are usually grey or buff with vivid black markings, but can vary from silver to yellow or green in colour. Females are brown with dark red-brown markings and are larger than the males.

Adders occupy a variety of habitats including open woodland, hedgerows, moorland, sand dunes, river banks, bogs, heathland and mountains; and although preferring undisturbed countryside, can also be found in surprisingly wet habitats during the summer. Prey, such as lizards, amphibians and small mammals are immobilised using venom, which is left to take effect before following the victim’s scent to find the body. This economical way of hunting avoids any potential damage from struggling with prey. Adders are active during the day, spending time basking until their body temperature is high enough to hunt for food. They hibernate from September to March when temperatures dip below nine degrees Celsius, often using deserted rabbit or rodent burrows or settling under logs.
A big thanks to Carrie for the text and photographs.

Friday 3 April 2009

Wed 1st April 2009 - Arreton Cross.

Yet another new site for the Green Gym this week at Arreton Cross, on yet another gloriously sunny day for the large number of keen volunteers. This is an area of grassland which was part of the Island’s Million Blooms initiative, where rare flora and fauna were lost during some landscape planting. Our various tasks involved some scrub control to improve the amount of light reaching the site; re-planting some mahonia’s (which survived the landscaping) and protecting them from rabbit predation with a wire fence; and also fencing off other small areas to protect the natural flora and fauna which it is hoped will re-grove on the site.

Arreton Cross sits within the Perreton Down and Marsh SINC (Site of Importance for Nature Conservation). SINC’s are local sites recognised for their wildlife importance, and an ongoing programme of maintenance will allow some of the rare plants to flourish. These include Common Spotted and Bee Orchirds, clustered and knotted clovers and also the very rare Yellow Broomrape.
Once again, it is a big thanks to Carrie for being cub reporter.