Total Page-views

Blog Archive

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

Friday 21 December 2012

Wed 19th Dec 2012 - Shide Quarry, Newport.

Tony's Photographs.

Carrie's Photograph.

This was our last session of Green Gym for 2012, and unfortunately the weather was not terribly kind to us.  Our venue was Shide Quarry, which is always our last visit of the year.  Our main task was to cut back the cotoneaster, some of which is extremely close to the ground.  This will prevent it crowding out the wildflowers on the floor of the quarry, which in turn provide nectar rich food for the Chalkhill Blue butterfly found here. About 30 hardy souls dressed top to toe in wet gear were soon beavering away, and Nick the ranger also managed to start a fire to burn off the cut pieces.  We also managed to have a lovely cook-up of a delicious vegetable stew, which was very welcome at tea break, along with all the other festive goodies everyone had kindly brought along.

Carrie's Nature Lesson.

As its name suggests, the Chalkhill Blue is found on chalk downland, although limestone downland is also used.  The adult butterfly is most often seen in bright sunshine (if any of us can remember what this looks like!!), where the ground may appear to shimmer with the activity of hundreds, if not thousands, of males searching for a mate just a few inches above the ground. It lives in discrete colonies where its foodplant, Horseshoe Vetch, is found in abundance.  It is also a warmth-loving butterfly, and is typically found on sheltered, south-facing hillsides.  At good sites, these lovely butterflies can be found roosting communally on grass stems at the lower slopes of a hillside, occasionally with several individuals on the same stem.

Many thanks to Carrie for the photographs, editorial and nature lesson this week and to Tony for his photographs.

All that is left is for me, Bob the Blog to wish you all a VERY........

and we look forward to seeing you all at Green Gym in 2013...!

Saturday 15 December 2012

Wed 12th Dec 2012 - Munsley Bog, Godshill.

This was the ninth consecutive year of The IW Green Gym working at Munsley Bog our first session there being held back in the October of 2004.  Each year we have gradually reduced the willow and managed the bracken by cutting it back, endeavouring to improve the bog mire habitat. If anyone has any photos of the early days please send them in but this blog entry in 2007 (use link below) shows the extent the site has changed since that time when the willow was encroaching so, while also having a bad effect on the water table.

The bracken now is hopefully gradually thinning in areas where we have enabled the water table to rise, slowly being replaced here and there by rush, moss and other flora.  

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

Don't forget your blanched vegetables, flasks of HOT water, mince pies, cakes etc for the next GG at Shide Quarry.....which is the Christmas Bash and the last GG of 2012....! Hats and fancy dress optional (but desirable!) The weather on Wednesday looks less than perfect - so check details on the GG web site.

Thursday 6 December 2012

Wed 5th Dec 2012 - One Horse Field, Totland.

It is always a bad sign on a Wednesday morning if you have to de-frost the car prior to leaving for GG....! This week was definately time to dig out those extra layers of clothing, gloves, thick socks for the boots and most important of all, a warm hat. Although the car thermometer was showing just above freezing as we arrived, the stiff northerly wind was dragging the temperature sub zero. It was a good thing that Mark had an energetic work package for us and we were soon spread around the field beavering away in an attempt to stay warm. The central area of this meadow had been mechanically flailed earlier, so our task was to rake up as much as possible and transport it to the edges. This site is basically split into three different areas - each one receiving particular attention on a three year "crop cycle". As with other meadow sites we have worked on recently, the idea of raking up the cut grass is to deny the ground the nutrients that would be added by letting the material compost. This allows the wild flowers to grow quicker than the surrounding grass thereby giving them a head start come the growing season. Although numbers were down a little, good progress was made with the task in hand and it will be interesting to see how well our efforts pay off during next year's visits.

Many thanks to Mark for the photographs this week.