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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 29 November 2012

Wed 28th Nov 2012 - Afton Marsh, Freshwater.

As can been seen from the pictures above, warm clothing was the order of the day for this week's GG session (plus a good pair of wellington boots and WARM socks!). Our tasks were at the far south end of the marsh, close to boundary with Freshwater Bay car park. The recent rain has finally given way to a dry, but much colder, spell of weather - so the idea of a big fire to keep us warm was an appealing one. Nick the ranger soon had the fire going but it took some time to get it really established, well done Nick! Team GG were soon attacking the overgrown areas with lopers and bow saws, dragging the material back to the fire area where it was chopped up prior to burning. The problem is with marsh areas is that, as you transit to and from an area, the ground becomes increasingly boggy and you end up standing in water half way up your boots, brrrrrrr...! The brisk northerly wind was a good reason to keep yourself active and warm - or find a job in the area of the bonfire! A quick head count showed that we had around 30 people at the session and excellent progress was made at clearing areas of the marsh so a big WELL DONE to all those who braved the cold.

Carrie's Nature Lesson.

This week’s find by Martin (and again kindly identified by Dr Colin Pope) is a Blushing Bracket (Daedaleopsis Confragosa) as there are often shades of pink or mauve in the upper surface. The maze-like network of pores on the underside is striking and bruises reddish when rubbed, hence the name Blushing Bracket.  This tough slow growing fungus can be seen on riverside willows in midwinter, when very few other fungi are in evidence. The bright brackets catch any sunlight, and stand out starkly from the dark background of the branches or trunks to which they are attached.
They are most commonly seen in tiers on dead or dying willow trunks and branches, but have also been found, although less frequently, on alder and just occasionally on hazel birch and poplar.

Many thanks to Carrie for the nature lesson and photographs this week.

Thursday 22 November 2012

Wed 21st Nov 2012 - Merstone Station.

Carrie's Photographs.

Colin's Photographs.

Mark's Photographs.

Please note the position of the rainbow in the photographs above and below, not only does the sun shine on the righteous, but so does the rainbow....! (Well captured Mark)

It was back to one of GG's favourite locations this week, the old railway station at Merstone. This is a very popular site with members of the public - with walkers, dog exercisers, cyclists, horse riders, picnickers etc all enjoying the open meadow area. Since the area has been cleared and managed, it has also become a haven for wild flowers, insects, birds and animals.

So, to keep this site in top condition, GG were tasked to give the platform area and the land to the west an autumn cleanup....! As this is a meadow site, the cut grass needs to be raked up, thereby denying the soil of additional nutrients. This will give the wild flower a fighting chance at the start of the growing season next year. The team were soon seen to be raking away and removing the cuttings to a remote area. Particular attention was given to the maze pathway area which had become very overgrown. One of the seating areas needed the bench supports renewing, so the rotten posts were dug out, new oak posts cut to length and then buried prior to the bench top being reattached. As per usual when we visit such sites, there was a general litter pick and tidy-up of any needy items.

The session started well weatherise, with cloud but just a little light rain. By tea time the winds had picked up considerably and squally weather became the order of the day! You can see from the photographs above just how dark the sky became which highlighted the rainbow beautifully. Very well done to those who stayed in spite of the inclement weather...!!!!

Many thanks to Carrie, Colin and Mark for the photographs this week.

Thursday 15 November 2012

Wed 14th Nov 2012 - Medina Valley Centre, Dodnor.

The first 4 photographs were taken by Frank Cope of the Medina Valley Centre.
(many thanks Frank!)

Carrie's Photographs.

This GG session was a follow-up to one we had back in the summer. The first session was for us to clear an area of ground alongside a boundary fence and this week we went back to plant up a new hedge along the fence line. In between these sessions, contractors had been in to erect new posts and wire - utilizing as much of the original as possible - thereby retaining some of the railway industrial archeology. This boundry divides the MVC land from the Newport / Cowes cycle track which was originally the railway line.

In total, some 110 tree and shrub "whips" of assorted varieties were planted in a double row, some 40 metres in length. Each was staked with a cane and fitted with a plastic rabbit guard to give them the best possible start in life. We look forward to returning to the Centre in future years to see how the hedge grows.

Other tasks undertaken were to gather up cut grass and general work around the site.

 Carrie's Nature Lesson.

Two finds this week, the first being some beautiful sloes (Prunus spinosa), a large deciduous shrub or small tree with blackish bark and dense, stiff, spiny branches.  The leaves are oval with serrated margins and the flowers have five creamy white petals.  They are produced shortly before the leaves in early spring, and the fruit called a sloe is black with a purple-blue waxy bloom, ripening in auturmn and harvested in the UK during October or November after the first frosts.  Sloes are thin fleshed and have a very strong astringent flavour when fresh.

Our second find was a very spectacular fungi, kindly identified by Dr Colin Pope, as a Velvent Shank (Flammulina Velutipes).  This is quite a common mushroom, whose fruitng season is mainly from September to March, which can resist winter frosts, emerging totally unscathed when thawed.  They are usually found in medium to large tufted clusters of dead or decaying wood, favouring elm and oak.  The caps are a striking orange-brown colour, with a distinctly sticky surface texture.

Many thanks to Carrie for the photographs and nature lesson.

Thursday 8 November 2012

Wed 7th Nov 2012 - Millennium Green, Binstead.

Carrie's Photographs. (before and after shots of the butterfly meadow)

Mark's Photographs.

Our GG session this week was held at a site we have visited many times in the past - the Millennium Green at Binstead. It was back in 2010 that we had our last visit here and it was nice to see how much it has developed since then. The hard work put in by the wardens and volunteers for this area has been acknowledged by a Green Flag Community Award - so a big "well done" to everyone concerned.

Our tasks this week involved two main jobs. The first was to clear away an area known as the butterfly meadow and the second to prepare the land, near the main entrance, for the planting of wild flower seeds. As can been seen from Mark's photographs above, we have to be very careful when we are working in such areas, to ensure that we do not disturb any of the wildlife there!

With some 37 GGymers attending and good weather, excellent progress was made and the main tasks were completed within the session.

Many thanks to Carrie and Mark for the photographs this week.

Friday 2 November 2012

Wed 31st Oct 2012 - Fort Victoria, Yarmouth.

Mark's Photographs.

Carrie's Photographs.

This week we were back to one of our regular haunts, Fort Victoria Country Park, and it was a great relief to many of us that we couldn't see any barrows or limestone chippings!  Our task this week was up at the viewpoint which looks out over the Solent; this area was cleared of sycamore and other trees about three years ago, but they have now grown so much that it is obscuring this fantastic view.  So everyone grabbed saws and loppers and got stuck into removing all the trees and vegetation.  Then they were all carried along to the fire, which Anita did very well to get going, given the damp conditions; however, it was soon burning merrily, and we managed to clear a really decent sized area.  We were also fortunate with the rain, which very kindly held off until we had finished the session.

Many thanks to Carrie for both the editorial and her photographs this week and to Mark for the other photographs.