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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 27 February 2014

Flowers Brook, Ventnor.....Continued.

When I published the blog for the work we did at Flowers Brook, I received the following message from one of our mainland readers......

With regard to the work you did at Flowers Brook on 5 Feb 2014. I was visiting the Island for Shanklin Youth Club 50th Reunion (8 Feb) and on Friday 7 Feb visited Flowers Brook for the first time. I was brought up on the Island, but never new of this places existance until I found a picture of my Mum on the stepping stones taken in 1938, and posted it in the IW Heritage Group, on Facebook, and people told me where it was taken. I had seen pictures taken fairly recently, but was a little saddened to see it overgrown,and neglected. So you can imagine my delight, last Friday, when I discovered this place and found you (as I now know) were responsible for the work. I'd just like to give you a very appreciative thank you. Please keep up the good work. I would like to add the pic of my Mum from 1938, together with a few I took last week,if of interest, but am unclear how to achieve this.

I then managed to contact him and he was kind enough to send on the photograph of his Mum, taken in 1938. Below was his attached message.....

Further to my comments, and following your much appreciated work at Flowers Brook, on Wednesday 5th.February, please find attached a picture of my Mum, taken on the stepping stones at Flowers Brook, in 1938, when she would have been 18years old. I'm sorry the picture quality is not the best, but I cannot find the negative, so had to rely on a scan from a very small print. Regardless, I hope it may be of interest, and, as mentioned in my comment on your page, I was really delighted to find Flowers Brook 'rejuvenated'...thank you again, it meant a lot to me.

So nice to know that our work is appreciated and that the blog is picked up by so many people!

Wednesday 26 February 2014

Wed 26th Feb 2014 - All Saints' Church, Freshwater.

Mark's Photographs.

Carrie's Photographs.

With the sun streaming through the window, it was the first time this year that the wet weather gear could be left at home when setting off to GG. Having to avoid the Yarmouth road closure added to the travelling time for some but the numerous GGmers attending showed just how popular this venue is. The task was to assist the church wardens in a general pre-spring cleanup around the church grounds. Initially, we concentrated on collecting all the fallen branches that the recent gales had "pruned" and then branched out (excuse the pun) into other jobs as they became apparent. Teams were involved with cutting back overgrown areas of undergrowth and shrubs, cleaning out the drainage gullies around the church, digging over flower beds, tiding up some of the more neglected graves and general maintenance around the site. All the cut materials were transported to a roaring bonfire which made quick work of the disposal! At this time of the year the churchyard is a picture with all the bulbs in bloom but this means that you have to be very careful where you tread.
Many thanks to the church wardens for the tea, coffee and cake - always a winner with Team GG...!

Thanks for the photographs Carrie and Mark!

Wednesday 19 February 2014

Wed 19th Feb 2014 - Parkhurst Forest, Newport.

Mark's Photographs.

Carrie's Photographs.

Green Gym this week was a continuation of the work we started a few weeks ago, clearance of trees and shrubs in Parkhurst Forest. This is to ensure that the native plants have a chance to grow thereby improving the habitat for butterflies, some of which are becoming increasingly rare. Considering how wet some of our sessions have been recently, it was great to see some sun for this one. Knowing where we had to work in the forest improved our times for driving from the main car park to the work area, negotiating the woodland tracks. It was a well attended, resulting in many habitat piles been created by the time we all came to leave.

2014 IoW Hedge-laying Competition. Please note that the competition due to be held on Saturday 22nd Feb has been cancelled. This is due to concerns about flooding and site safety resulting from the recent spell of bad weather.

Photographic Competition Result. The "Guess your GG Chum" quiz has now been claimed and the grand prize of two extra biscuits awarded. As it was a team effort, the two members were awarded one extra biscuits apiece - well done ladies!

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

Wednesday 12 February 2014

Wed 12th Feb 2014 - Northwood House, Cowes.

They say that you are never too old to learn..... so what did we learn from our Green Gym session this week? Firstly, when there are amber and red Met Office warnings out for rain and wind, then believe them. The second lesson, when the rain is both torrential and horizontal - it is time to give up working outside and go home...! The first part of the morning was dry and we were making good progress at cutting back the rather overgrown hedges along the boundary with Ward Avenue. We were tasked to work with the Friends of Northwood House group, assisting them with the hedge work. After having a cup of tea at around 11:15 we returned to work and the weather deteriorated rapidly from then on. Considering how bad the forecast had been, we had a really good turn-out of GGmers, so once again it is a huge well done to all those who came along. Note to Mark, are you sure you are ticking the correct box when booking the weather for Wednesday mornings?

We are still waiting for someone to come up with the correct answer for the "Spot your GG Chum" quiz that was set last week. The grand prize of TWO extra biscuits is still up for grabs......!

Carrie's Nature Natter.

February can be a very harsh month that often sweeps in with freezing winds and snow, however, there are signs that Spring is on the way with hazel catkins expanding into golden tassels to release their pollen on the wind, delicate and beautiful snowdrops peeping their heads above the cold ground, and early flowering winter aconites with their cheerful yellow flowers that resemble buttercups.  The most obvious leaves to emerge in woodlands are cuckoo pint (also known as lords and ladies), whose leaves push through the leaf litter in curls, but once above the ground they soon open up.  Dogs mercury and violet leaves also start to appear with bluebell leaves and ramsons starting to burst through the leaf litter, while later in the month you may see some early primroses.

This is also the month when our most elegant bird, the heron, starts to get amorous.  Herons nest in groups consisting of 4-20 large nests in tree tops and are used year after year. They perform an unusual dancing courtship, where the male stretches his neck up then lowers it over his back with his bill pointing upwards.  Three to five eggs are usually laid, and these raucous birds are fascinating to watch.

Early spring is an ideal time to check muddy paths and gates, to see what different kinds of wildlife have been out and about, and the type of tracks they leave behind.  The fox has a straight purposeful track with a neat narrow print, and four toes curved in a diamond above a small triangular palm. The badger has five toes above a large kidney-shaped pad, with claw marks often visible usually on a regular path.  If you find a print which has four toes on the forefoot, and five on the hind then what you have found is a squirrel, while a print with no pad but four toes blurred with fur in an egg shape and long slipper like feet, means you have found a rabbit.

Frogs and toads emerge from their winter hiding places, and may use the same ponds to breed.  It is easy to distinguish between them as the toad is larger than the frog, and prefers to walk rather than hop.  The frog has a pointed snout and a yellowish brown smooth moist skin with variable spots and a brown spot behind the eye.  Toads have bulges on the back of their heads called parotoid glands, with drier warty skin coloured brown or greenish grey.  The image below shows a Bufo Bufo or common toad.

Many thanks to Carrie for the Nature Natter.

Saturday 8 February 2014

Grand Green Gym Picture Quiz....!

One of our members mentioned to me that he used to visit Flowers Brook as a child and was kind enough to dig out a picture of himself, along with his mother, taken sometime in the early 1960's.
Take a good look at the photograph below and try to identify your GG chum. The first person to come up with the correct answer will be allowed TWO extra biscuits at the next GG session (no expense spared on the prize) magnifying glasses at the ready!

Wednesday 5 February 2014

Wed 5th Feb 2014 - Flowers Brook, Ventnor.

The fact that there was a weather warning out for the Island and that my car was doing a good impersonation of a high-sided vehicle should have prepared me for this week's GG session. Then again, it was a new site for us to visit so it was fingers crossed and head off to the "deep south" of Ventnor. Walking down from Under-cliff road was "interesting" as the wind wanted to take your legs away but the lovely view was well worth the effort. We met up with another group, from the  the Ventnor Enhancement Fund, that had been working here recently and were soon doing what GG does best, hacking into the undergrowth to clear the area. The pictures above will show just how steep the working area was and the views of the waves show just how strong the wind was! The forecasted rain held off until around 11:00 but everyone was pretty soggy by the time the session finished. The area certainly looked a whole lot better when we had finished with it and it would be great to return here (perhaps on a sunny day?) to carry on the good work.
Considering how bad the weather forecast had been, we had a really good turnout so a big WELL DONE to all those who made the effort!

Mark's Note.

This little brook flows from a cascading waterfall down the side of the woodland to a pond, three different aquatic habitats in a very small space and all very good places for wildlife.  The brook will undoubtedly contain some interesting invertebrates and the pond is the home, in the spring, to amphibians such as newts. The work this week was all about managing some of the buildup of vegetation and scrub which has encroached on the pond and its surroundings.  It will be a great place to revisit in the summer!

Here is a link to an old photograph showing Flowers Brook in the 1950/60's

Look for the postcard with the caravans on it, click on it and it should enlarge.

Many thanks to Mark for the photographs and his note.