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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 25 January 2013

Wed 23rd Jan 2013 - The Needles Old Battery.

A new site for the Green Gym this week, at the Needles Old Battery, giving a hand to the sterling group of volunteers who have been restoring lots of rooms and other areas over the last five years.  There were three tasks, the first for a small group clearing much mud and debris from one of the tunnels, and loading it in barrels for disposal.  The second task was to clear a very long stretch of concrete gully at the edge of the road leading down to the main entrance, and dispose all the debris; the final task was to clear the weeds and grass from an area near the tea rooms, where there used to be buildings for the soldiers.

Basic History.

The Needles Batteries were constructed between 1861 and 1895 for coastal defence against the threat of French invasion.  They played an important role in the defence of Southern Britain during two worlds wars, and between 1956 and 1971 the New Battery was used by Saunders Roe for testing the Black Knight and Black Arrow space rocket engines, prior to the rockets being shipped to Woomera for launching.  The Batteries and surrounding downland were acquired by the National Trust in 1975, with the Old Battery being opened to the public in 1982 after extensive restoration.

Many thanks to Carrie for the editorial, history lesson and photographs.

Thursday 17 January 2013

Wed 16th Jan 2013 - Mill Copse, Yarmouth.

Braving a flurry of snow our Green Gym this week worked at another of the Wight Nature Fund's superb array of nature reserves, the woodland known as Mill Copse which borders the Western Yar.  Working with the IW Council's Ranger Service the group spent the rapidly improving morning coppicing a coup of Hazel Corylus avellana and also removing some Sycamore Acer pseudoplatanus.    As you will see below by the end of the morning we were in sunshine on what was a perfect winter's day.  

The coppicing process involves the cutting of groups of the trees down to near ground level to form what are known as 'stools' from which fresh new growth with be stimulated to grow in the spring.   Once coppicing was a means to an end, supplying timber for a whole list of things including the making of hurdles,charcoal making, building and fuel.  Today we selected and removed suitable material for our future use for hedge laying, taking sturdy straight poles for stakes and whippy thin lengths for heathers or binders.  So coppicing is a traditional form of woodland management, it can look harsh but in fact is very beneficial to wildlife as the process opens up dappled clearings, the sunlight encouraging wild flowers to flourish, attracting bees butterflies and other invertebrates into the woods.  Crucially the cutting back of the hazel trees ultimately extends their lives providing habitat for decades to come. 

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

Thursday 10 January 2013

Wed 9th Jan 2013 - One Horse Field, Totland.

Mark's Photographs.
(top one showing the "scrapes" that were created for nesting invertebrates.)

Carrie and Tony's Photographs.

This week saw us again at One Horse Field in Totland, continuing with the work that was started on a VERY wet day before Christmas.  There were a couple of tasks to get on with, so one group continued with raking all the cut grass in the centre of the field, and soon the large bags full of cuttings were being dragged to the field margins making some very large piles.  The rest of the group spread out across the field to cut back encroaching sycamore and blackthorn, and also tidy up some of the blackthorn trees which are being left to grow, but just needed a bit of cutting back. A further group were removing the top layers of turf in other areas to encourage invertebrates.

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

Thursday 3 January 2013

Wed 2nd Jan 2013 - Munsley Bog, Godshill.

Mark's Photographs.

The new IoW Green Gym logo.

Some of team GG modelling the 
"must have" tops  for 2013...!

Carrie's Photographs.

Our first GG of 2013 saw us back at Munsley Bog in Godshill.  Despite the fact that the forecast was for dry until Friday, it was a very damp and drizzly day, so obviously all the fancy weather satellites got it wrong yet again!  Quite a few tasks for us to tackle, the first being to continue cuttting back the bracken and raking it into large piles to rot down, and secondly to cut back one of the large willows at the end of the boardwalk, which was encroaching too far over the walkway.  A small group collected lots of the willow cut on our last visit, and used it to repair a dead hedge along one of the boundaries which had a few holes in it; this was very handy practice for a bit of hedgelaying, as the next competition is racing towards us on the last Saturday in February.  The final task was to dig a run off from the pond to allow the water to drain into areas of the bog which are at a higher level to make it more boggy - so lots of spade work for the hardy group on this job.

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