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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 25 February 2010

Wed 24th Feb 2010 - The Roman Villa, Brading.

A variety of tasks for us this week at Brading Roman Villa, on a beautiful sunny day with clear blue sky - what a change from the last few days. We worked in the garden at the back of the Villa cutting shoots of bramble that have started to spring up, and trimming the long areas of grass to improve growth. There was also a large pile of soil which required some fit people with spades to spread out across the area. Our final task was to weed the gravelled areas in the small fenced off garden at the front of the Villa, a painstaking task on hands and knees as most of the weeds were VERY SMALL!

Many thanks to Carrie for the text and last 2 photos - and to Eddie for the other 5 shots.

Note from the Blog Master.......Don't forget the hedge laying competition - this Saturday coming out at West Wight. See this link for details - - and good luck to all of you who are entering (don't forget to send me some pics someone...!).

Thursday 18 February 2010

Wed 17th Feb 2010 - Quarr Abbey.

Our first visit of 2010 to Quarr Abbey and despite a weather forecast of heavy rain, the day was gloriously bright and sunny. Our task was to continue the work we commenced last year on one of the footpaths through the Abbey grounds. This involved removal of bramble and cutting the trees down to the height of the top of the fence, to highlight the view across to theSolent. The resulting debris was then loaded into trailers and transported to a specific area in the Abbey grounds.

Carrie’s History Lesson

The original monks at Quarr were actually Cistercians, with a stricter, more literal observance of the Rule of St Benedict and a very real personal poverty. They wore a white habit but were frequently referred to as “grey monks”, though in fact their habit was of undyed wool. Mediaeval monasteries provided society nearly all the services we expect the State to provide today. Quarr was the hospital and infirmary, and some of the monks were doctors and pharmacists. The abbey also had a library, and was responsible for the maintenance of the bridge at Wootton, tide mills, salterns and a fish-house at Fishbourne. The monks were also responsible for many of the surrounding granges and churches, including St Nicholas’ chapel atCarisbrooke Castle. The abbey also provided defence against invasion, and gun-ports can still be seen in the outer walls facing the Solent.

Many thanks to Carrie for the text and some of the photographs and to Eddie for the other pics.

Thursday 11 February 2010

Wed 10th Feb 2010 - Mornington Woods, Cowes.

The venue for the Green Gym this week was at Mornington Woods, Cowes. Our task was to plant new trees on the steep hillside above the car parking area. Previously there had been many mature trees on this site but they have recently been felled and we were planting their replacements. The steepness of the terrain, soil made up of stones and clay, old tree roots and a bitterly cold NE wind (and the occasional snow flurry) failed to suppress the enthusiasm of the GG team - although the hot drinks were particularly welcome...! This session was well attended and good progress was made at replanting the hill (see picture above).

Carrie’s Nature Lesson

This week it is Winter Heliotrope, also known as Sweet Coltsfoot (Petasites Fragrans) and in Gaelic Gallan Mòr Cùbhraidh a member of the Aster family. It comes from the Greek word petasos which is the word for the felt hats worn by shepherds, relating to the leaves of the plant which are large enough to be used as a head covering and felt-like. These large green, leathery leaves block light from reaching the ground beneath them, effectively suppressing any potentially competitive plant growth, and in some parts of the world it is classified as a weed. Heliotrope means sun-turning, i.e any plant that turns to face the sun. After opening, it gradually turns from east to west, and during the night turns again to the east to meet the rising sun; it has vanilla-scented white-pink flowers, hence the Latin name fragrans. The Victorians introduced the plant in the U.K. because they thought it looked pretty, but as it has a very deeply growing rhizome and propagates by seed, this makes it difficult to control the plant’s spread.

Flowering in January and February, the Winter Heliotrope is an insect plant, providing one of the first pollen sources in the year, and there are records of it being deliberately introduced beside beehives to provide a nectar source for the early emerging bees. Along with eyebright, cornflowers and plantain, it is an ingredient of a commercially produced herbal tea, said to help the eyes in situations such as soreness from dust, or to ease the eyestrain sometimes suffered by computer users.

Many thanks to Carrie for her Nature Lesson and the bottom photographs and thanks to Eddie for the top 4 pictures.

Monday 8 February 2010

Wed 3rd Feb 2010 - Dickson's Copse, Newport.

More coppicing work for us this week, helping the Rangers at Dicksons Copse, which is situated off Stag Lane alongside the River Medina. Following the recent rain the area was quite muddy, but that did not deter our group of hardy volunteers, who soon got stuck in with saws and loppers to clear the area required. We again managed to make a pile of stakes and heathers to be used in the forthcoming Hedgelaying Competition (Saturday 27 February at Kings Manor Farm), and of course there was our usual bonfire which was soon burning merrily.

Carrie's Nature Lesson

We found quite a lot of a beautiful lichen (see picture) called Evernia Prunasti, also known as Oakmoss, which is found in many mountainous temperate forests throughout the Northern Hemisphere. It grows primarily on the trunk and branches of oak trees, but is also found on the bark of other deciduous trees and conifers. The thallus are highly branched resembling the form of deer antlers, and its colour ranges from green to a greenish-white when dry, and dark olive-green to yellow-green when wet.

This species is harvested commercially in south-central Europe, and then sent to France where it is used in the manufacture of fine perfumes. The lichen acts as a fixative for other scents, and also adds a subtle herbal fragrance of its own. Its distinct and complex odour is woody, sharp and slightly sweet.

Many thanks to Carrie for the text and some of the pictures and the remainder were from Eddie.

Monday 1 February 2010

Wed 27th Jan 2010 - Fort Victoria, Yarmouth.

Fort Victoria was our venue for this week, helping the Rangers Nic and Richard with some woodland work. The day was very crisp but dry, and because the working area was well inside the woodland and in a slight bowl, it was quite warm, especially when we all got cracking with our saws and loppers!. An area of trees, mostly sycamore and some quite large, had been cleared by a chainsaw, so our job was to cut up as much of the brash as possible and carry it over to the two! bonfires which were already burning merrily. The felling is part of the management in this area to bring more light into the woodland, encouraging the growth of wildflowers and the various type of wildlife that feed on them.

Many thanks to Carrie for the editorial and some pictures.....and to Eddie for the other pics.