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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

Wednesday 27 February 2013

Wed 27th Feb 2013 - Corfe Camp.

Corfe Camp was our venue this week, helping to maintain the Site of Special Scientific Interest.  Again a few tasks for us all, an area needed one of the dtiches clearing out a bit more than we managed last time to improve drainage; and other areas needed cutting back to improve access.  Then there was an old hawthorn tree which was in dire need of some pollarding, and also a big area of brambles and dead trees to clear out.  The subsequent debris was then used to create a barrier around the area.

Thanks to Carrie for the photographs and editorial.

Sunday 24 February 2013

Sat 23rd Feb 2013 - Hedge Laying Competition, Dunsbury Farm.

Link to the competition results......    

Didn't they do well...!

The 2013 IW Hedgelaying Contest at Dunsbury Farm was another success.  Bitterly cold weather didn't put off 11 individuals and 4 teams participating in what was another well organised competition and our two teams did extremely well indeed coming in 2nd and 3rd; only pipped by a mere 4 points from winning the team event!  Both teams scores compare very well with much more experienced participants taking part in the open category.  
So many congratulations you can all be justly proud and we hope the aches and pains... and thorns from the day's activity subside soon.

Thanks to Mark for the result details and photographs.

Friday 22 February 2013

Wed 20th Feb 2013 - Fort Victoria, Yarmouth.

Our venue this week was Fort Victoria, where Nick the ranger had several tasks for us to tackle.  The severe wet weather over the last several months has meant that there has been considerable land movement along the cliffs, with large cracks appearing near one of the footpaths down to the beach. This has meant that the path has to be re-routed further inland, and our main task was to clear the area of scrub and cut back the trees and shrubs to open up a new pathway.  We then had to build some steps to improve the access to this new route, and also replace some existing steps which had rotted away badly in the wet weather.  Our final task was to shovel a large pile of limestone chippings into plastic buckets, cart these up and down the steps and fill in several muddy areas along the top part of the existing pathway.

Carrie's Nature Lesson.

This beautiful red trunk (the colour will fade fairly quickly) is that of the common alder (Alnus Glutinosa).  This water-loving deciduous native tree is most at home by rivers and streams, although this example was next to a pond.  Its reddish wood linked it to evil spirits in ancient folklore, as they considered the tree to be a natural embodiment of evil, because the cut wood turns a reddish colour as if bleeding.  In Ireland the tree was so revered that cutting one down was a criminal offence, while in Norse mythology the first people were said to be made from ash and alder.

It is a strong underwater timber, and has been used for boats, jetties and underwater structures; even the supports of the Rialto Bridge in Venice are made of alder.  It also lends wildlife a helping hand as in secluded areas, female otters build their holts in the roots of these trees protecting their cubs from danger. Its conical shape can make it look like a deciduous conifer, and its pine cone shaped catkins only add to this illusion.  Small and green in summer, they ripen to become large and brown and some stay on the tree throughout the winter.  Its leaves, however, are oval shaped and look nothing like any conifer.

A big thanks to Carrie for all of the above this week...!

Sunday 17 February 2013

Green Gym Hedge Laying Practice - 2013

As Carrie reported last month on the 30th of January we have been practising a little for this year's Hedgelaying Contest and so whilst novices at the craft we hope to do our best again in this contest, our 5th time in the team event.
We have layed the hedge shown here in the photos at the Community Orchard in Longwood Lane, between Lake and Adgestone.  What was a leggy and gappy hedge is now set to last a good few years and will hopefully thicken and provide a good boundary for the site.

The next competition is on Saturday 23rd February 2013 at Dunsbury Farm - NOTE REVISED VENUE. 

Try the following link for further details....

Many thanks to Mark for the photographs and editorial.

Thursday 14 February 2013

Wed 13th Feb 2013 - Quarr Abbey.

Mark's photographs.

Carrie's Photographs.



This week saw the GG back at Quarr Abbey, helping Matt the head gardener. We visited this site about 18 months ago, when we cleared a long section of hedge to improve the view across the creek - this took two sessions as the trees being removed were very thick and tall.  Our task this time was to prune back the two years growth of the same section which proved to be a much easier task, and we managed to complete the whole section in one session.  We also removed down to ground level several sycamores, which had grown up between the back of the hedge and the fence into the field.  We did not have the luxury of a wood chipping machine like last time, so all the cut pieces were gathered up and used to build up the habitat piles which have rotted down nicely from last time.  Habitat piles are a wonderful source of shelter for all kinds of creatures like spiders, beetles, worms and grubs, and these in turn can also provide food for woodland birds.

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

Thursday 7 February 2013

Wed 6th Feb 2013 - Bonchurch Pond.

Mark's Photographs.

This shot (below) shows the completed work alongside the road.

Carrie's Photographs.

This week saw us on a return visit to Bonchurch Pond, which is looked after by a group of local volunteers and Julie the Pond Warden.  All round the edges of the pond it had become quite overgrown, so about 30 of us set to with loppers, bowsaws and secateurs.  There was lots of cutting back of brambles, overhanging branches, bamboo, hebes and other plants around the steps in the centre of the pond; there were also several large tree branches that were overhanging the pond, so these were also sawn off.  All the cuttings were then taken to the compost heap at the far end of the pond.  We also managed to uncover a really nice duck house, which was made locally, once we had cleared away the surrounding undergrowth.  The pond is very popular with visitors and locals and is home to several catfish, koi carp, ducks, moorhens, coots and some yellow bellied terrapins which were set loose in the pond and have now produced even more terrapins!  It is also home to a beautiful heron, which can often be seen high up in the trees or standing by the edge of the pond.

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

Friday 1 February 2013

Wed 30th Jan 2013 - Wetland Walk, Adgestone.

Carrie's Report.

This week saw us at a site we have worked at many times, the community orchard in Adgestone.  Unfortunately, the torrential rain the night before meant that the site was VERY waterlogged, so Mark had to do some quick thinking about some different tasks for us.  He soon came up with a selection of work - one group were tasked with cutting up a fallen tree and using the cut pieces to block off the area so people could not walk through and damage the flora and fauna.  Group two were tasked with repair work on the steps which lead down to the orchard, and yet another with clearing a large area of nettles.  The last group did some more work on the hedge which was started on our last visit.  This gave us some good practice for the hedgelaying competition, which is usually held on the last Saturday in February - this year it will be at Bathingbourne Lane.  Quite a large section of hedge was completed, and it is hoped we can return to the site for further practice and to finish the area up to the road.

Mark's Report.

At the Wetland Walk this week we
  •  renewed the steps
  • pruned the fruit trees
  • removed some sycamore
  • make a head hedge from a fallen tree
  • Continued to hedge lay the top boundary
  • trimmed the hedges and cut overhanging branches
all in all a very successful day.

STOP PRESS..... GG featured in a report.....see County Press, top of page 27 for details...!

Many thanks to Carrie and Mark for their reports this week.