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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

Thursday 31 October 2013

Wed 30th Oct 2013 - Millennium Green, Ryde.

The Meadow area "before".....

and "After".

The "Water Babies" in the pond!

Another old favourite for Team GG this week, that wonderful nature reserve, the Millennium Green at Ryde. We have been here many times over the years and this time was our autumn clean-up session. The meadow was in need of a serious "haircut" and the pond had become very overgrown. Carrie's photographs above show exactly what we were tasked to do, particularly the "before and after" shots of the meadow area. We were a little down on numbers this week, due to the half term holiday, but the site wardens that came along seemed very happy with the progress we made during the session. The weather remained dry - much better than what we had experienced on Monday this week when the storm (named St Jude)  hit the Island. I think even GG would have called it off in that sort of weather with 100mph winds and torrential rain....but then again.....

Many thanks to Carrie for the photographs this week.

Thursday 24 October 2013

Wed 23rd Oct 2013 - Pan Mill Meadows, Connie’s Way, Newport.

Pat's Photographs.

Carrie's Photograph.

Yet another visit to this wonderful meadow site, hidden away on the outskirts of Newport. In an attempt to give the wildflowers a good start next year, before the weeds crowd them out, this whole area was cut back with a tractor prior to our session. Our main task was to rake up all the cuttings (this deprives the weeds of the nutrients) and pile them into a huge compost heap. Other teams were cutting back the overgrown areas and tackling the ongoing job of litter picking. Talking of litter picks, GG was presented with a framed certificate and generous cheque for our litter picking exploits. Mark accepted them from Pat Almond, the area representative from the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England - so a "Well Done" to all those who work so hard throughout the year at cleaning up the sites that we visit.
This was an exceptionally well attended session with just a light sprinkling of rain to spoil a dry, bright morning. So different to last week's session.......!

Many thanks to Carrie for the photograph of the presentation and to Pat for the group shots.

Thursday 17 October 2013

Wed 16th Oct 2013 - Afton Marsh (North), Freshwater.

The times we've said "oh we've been lucky with the weather" or "It's always nice on Green Gym day" well you can tell from the photos that this week it wasn't!  The heavens opened, raining constantly from before loading the van at 9.00 a.m. through until on the dot of 1.00 p.m. when miraculously the clouds parted and as we dragged ourselves, dripping and steaming back to our vehicles, we were bathed in bright sunlight!  A strange morning indeed.

But we are a hardy bunch and the session went well, and our spirits were high, as always, as the willow was being cleared.  These trees, if left, would eventually encroach further into the marsh and change the valuable and on the Island, rare marshland habitat.  Important then that the area is managed.  The willow is cut high to enable the stumps to be treated.

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

Thursday 10 October 2013

Wed 9th Oct 2013 - Yarmouth green.

This week a new location for the group, but one we've all past by many times over the years I'm sure.

 The hedge here is made up of primarily ornamental species of evergreen shrubs such as Euonymus and Arbutus unedo or Strawberry Tree.  They form a useful salt tolerant hedgerow, used as habitat cover by roosting birds one would imagine.  We've been asked today to keep the rampaging bramble in check, especially adjacent to where the Disease Resistant Elms have been recently planted by the Wildlife Warriors group.

Across the car park a further group of us trimmed back more bramble which had been threatening a willow bench seat, installed a couple of years ago along the Yarmouth Harbour Sensory Trail.

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

Thursday 3 October 2013

Wed 2nd Oct 2013 - The Bee Fields, Newchurch.

Our GG session this week was at the Bee Fields, on the outskirts of Newchurch. The area we were working in is known as Martin's Wood, which is to the west of the recreation ground, towards Alverstone Garden Village. Our task was to continue the work we had started here some time ago - removing areas of turf to expose the sandy soil - which then allows the ground burrowing bees to dig their tunnels. The turf that is removed is then piled up around the cleared site as some of the 70 species of bee that inhabit this site prefer to burrow into banks rather than the ground. Our previous clearance efforts had become covered with patchy grass but there was an amazing amount of bee activity in those particular areas. A second working party went around removing and collecting the rabbit guards from the trees that had outgrown them.

Although the sky was overcast, the session remained dry throughout and the temperature was perhaps a little above seasonal average. There was a good turnout and many a new "housing estates" were created for the bees. One joke (?) overheard.....they only need small areas as they are BEEJOU homes..!

Mark's Message.

A return to Newchurch this week to Martin's Wood otherwise known as Gift to Nature's Bee Fields.  A site which until around a decade ago was growing crops such as sweetcorn.  The soil here is sandy however and so the the area was then planted up as woodland.  This act has transformed the field's ecology in the past decade as the now untilled bare ground has been used by more and more mining and solitary bees and wasps.  An incredible 96 species of bee and wasp of which 23 are nationally rare and 3 completely new to the Island!  These small busy little bees are no threat to anyone however as they buzz around preoccupied with mining their nest holes.
As the years progress so the ground cover increases and that's where we come in as we skim off some of the growth to increase the amount of bare ground and coppice scallops off of the many paths which criss-cross the area.
We were rewarded by the sight of hundreds of Ivy Bees (Colletes hederae).

Many thanks to Mark for the photographs and message.