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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 24 February 2016

Wed 24th Feb 2016 - Cockleton Meadows. - Gurnard. GG # 623.

Sue's Photographs.

A wall of bramble.

The pond area from the east..

and from the west.

A nice way to warm up on a "crisp" morning!

One of the many piles of cut material - before processing.

Cutting into the pond bramble.

Getting there...

Above and below - WE FOUND THE POND(S)!!!

More cutting back.

The trusty hound guards the orchard area.

Above and below - the ponds are finally uncovered.

Mark's Photographs.

Call that a bramble..? Beat this one!

Nice before and after shots of the pond area.

One of the two bridges that we "discovered".

Cutting ivy and brambles from the trees in the orchard.

What gets a GGmer really excited? (besides being fed yummy cakes!) - a new venue to work at. So, this Wednesday morning we were all VERY excited about tackling this new site, especially as some of our GG members are on the committee that is running the project (Gurnard Open Spaces). Due to the restricted on-site parking, we all had to find somewhere to leave the cars, then hike back along Cockleton Lane to locate the entrance. The whole corner plot is presently being developed for a housing project (it was the old Gurnard Primary School site) but we were to work on land to the south of this. When it belonged to the school they had planted various fruit trees, built a pond, had vegetable beds etc but after they moved school it had all become somewhat overgrown. We were tasked to work on several areas, one of which was a 10 foot high wall of bramble and undergrowth - which we were informed "might contain a pond?". After about half an hour of hacking away, we finally made it through the gate and after further cutting away, discovered THREE ponds surrounded by a wire fence…! I am sure the photographs will show this magical revelation far better than my words can describe. Other members of the team were set to work in the orchard area, cutting everything back and giving the fruit trees a bit of a prune, where needed. With huge piles of cutting building up, it was decided that a fire was in order, so a considerable amount of effort was required to drag all the debris back to the fire for "processing". Needless to say, we did a full litter-pick and collected an amazing range of "goodies" including a brass bed head! We have all grown used to just how much we can achieve in one GG session but I think I speak for all when I say that this week was truly exceptional - so a big pat on the back to all those who attended and put in so much effort. This is a wonderful open area with views over the surrounding fields and even distant outlooks across the Solent. I can see that it will become a firm favourite with Team GG if we are invited back in the future. The weather, although frosty to start with, was rather cloudy but remained dry throughout - just about perfect for hard work!

Photographs were from Sue and Mark….. many thanks to you both.

Wednesday 17 February 2016

Wed 17th Feb 2016 - Little Jane's Quarry, Brading. GG # 622.

A nice before and after shot.

Wild flowers blooming once again!

Above and below…the hillside we have cleared.

When we last visited here, I finished the blog with this comment..

Exceptional progress was made on the clearance but it would be nice to return (perhaps on a warmer day!) to continue the work. Let's hope that it isn't another TEN years before we get a repeat visit….!

I needn't have worried, Mark pulled out all the stops and arranged for us to return to the job - and less than one month later! On a rather grey day (not the warm one we had requested), with a sharp wind blowing from the SE, we all met up in the Downs car park before transiting the busy main road and finding our way down to the quarry. Not exactly an easy place to find as it is tucked into the northern face of the hill, just to the south of Brading. On reaching the crest, most people remarked just what a wonderful view you get from there. Everyone was soon doing their "mountain goat" impersonations - clinging to the hillside whilst cutting away at the undergrowth with their chosen implements. As we got further and further away from the bonfire, more GGmers had to get involved with dragging the cuttings from the slopes and over to the fire, a strenuous "workout" for all those concerned. Other team members started raking up some of the flailed cuttings to encourage the natural plants to thrive. On our last visit, the bottom of the quarry had been mechanically flailed and looked rather bare but this time around there were the signs of green growth shooting through. We noticed that there were already primroses flowering around the edges where we had cut back previous.nice! Needless to say we did the usual litter pick of the surrounding area. It was a weary team that climbed the hill back to the cars but a glance over the shoulder showed the amazing work we had all accomplished in just a few short hours. A good job everyone!

Thanks for the photographs Mark.

Wednesday 10 February 2016

Wed 10th Feb 2016 - Bouldnor Forest, Yarmouth. GG # 621.

Sue's Photographs.

The route march to get there...

Thank goodness for the quad, it made easy work
of getting the tools and tea equipment on site!

No shortage of gorse bushes to cut.

"Ladies and gentlemen….select your tools"

A nice view over Yarmouth.

The "enemy" so pretty but SO prolific.

One way of dealing with it.

Tea break time.

With all that smoke our clothes will never get moths…lol.

Well heather - now it's down to you…!!

Can it really be almost four years ago since we last visited this venue? For those who have short memories, then have a look at this link - to bring back recollections of the (in)famous "as dug" incident..!
Wed 6th June 2012 - Bouldnor Forest.
We mustered in the car park, eyes scanning to ensure that there wasn't a pile of the dreaded lurking anywhere… phew, all clear! With storm Imogen having blown through earlier in the week (96 mph winds at the Needles) the weather was really agreeable. A cool breeze blowing but the occasional patch of blue sky was letting the sun through - all the better for appreciating the stunning views, over the Solent, from our worksite of the day. We had climbed the rather steep, muddy hill from the car park area, up to an open field covered in gorse bushes. Our brief was very simple…. cut as much gorse as possible, drag it back to the bonfire and burn it…! This sort of task is music to the ears of a GGmer, the exact mission that we all excel at.
As shown in the photographs, the whole team were soon spread out along the track, hacking their way through the plentiful gorse. The plan is to give the heather, growing copiously under the gorse, a chance to become dominant and let the area return as it was previously - open meadow. Hopefully, cattle will be introduced to keep the undergrowth down in the future. Gorse is a difficult thing to deal with as it can be regarded as "nature's barbed wire" but we managed to clear a considerable area by the end of the session - so a pat on the back for all who attended.

Photographs were taken by Sue - thank you Sue.

Wednesday 3 February 2016

Wed 3rd Feb 2016 - Moor Wood (Sandpit Copse), Wootton. GG # 620.

Sue's Photographs.

The long trek….

Just some of the mud.

Hard at work.

Some of Team GG crossing "The Swamp"!

So many people…..

Just one of the many piles.

More mud.

Looking south and...

….then looking North - a good morning's work.

Mark's Photographs.

Having endured a somewhat bouncy ride down Knight's Cross lane and then found somewhere to park, it was a reasonably long "yomp" over fields and through woodlands to the work site at Moor Wood. The local wildlife must have been very amused to see us all trooping along, loaded with tools, tea-break supplies etc while climbing numerous stiles and trying to stop our wellies being sucked into the mud…! Our brief was to cut and pile as much of the willow and bramble as possible so, at a later date, cattle might be introduced to graze the whole area. This should keep further undergrowth to a minimum, thereby encouraging the woodland flowers to bloom. From our experience with the mud today, I hope the cattle are either water buffalo or regular cows with snow shoes…! Considering just how far we were off the beaten track, we had a really good turnout and there were many stacks of cuttings across the whole site by the end of the session. The weather was a vast improvement over last week's session (not difficult!) with sun and blue skies but a rather cutting North Westerly blowing - still very good for February. The trek back to the car parking area was "interesting" with various groups navigating their way back through the fields and woodland. Hopefully….. everyone made it back safe and sound???

Have a look at the GG Twitter site for photographs of the fungi that we found during this session.

For those who do not Tweet on Twitter (or whatever you say…!) here is a screen shot..

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

Monday 1 February 2016

Mon 1st Feb 2016 - This might be of interest to GGmers….????

This was re-tweeted (re-blogged…?) from the Island Echo Twitter pages and is for general information only! Some of the listed areas may change… so watch this space.

island2000Popular beauty spots such as Brading Down and Golden Hill have been secured for the future following a deal between the Isle of Wight Council and local charity Island 2000.
As part of its continued efforts to reduce spending, in 2014 the council agreed to cease its countryside management service.  However, local organisation the Island 2000 Trust, as part of the charity’s ‘Gift to Nature’ project, will be taking over management of the service from today (Monday 1st February).
Councillor Paul Fuller, Executive Member for Public Realm, said:
“This is fantastic news for the Island. The future of our extensive countryside estate is now assured through the partnership agreement with Island 2000 and the ‘Gift to Nature’ project.
“This enables our council to not only reduce its spending,  but at the same time ensure our countryside is safeguarded for public use.  The opportunities available to the charity will significantly improve in terms of seeking funding for enhancing access, and I look forward in seeing the prospect of future projects coming to fruition”.
The council will retain ownership of its 170 hectare countryside estate.  Island 2000 will undertake management of the estate through a partnership agreement.  No job losses have occurred as part of the transfer of services.
The Isle of Wight Council’s Countryside Manager, Matthew Chatfield, is one of the staff due to be transferred. He explained:
“This is great news for anyone who loves the Island’s countryside – we’ve got a big job ahead of us but I’m glad to report that we will be keeping our wonderful nature reserves and country parks open for everyone. We’re excited and optimistic about the future of the new, bigger and more dynamic Gift to Nature – and proud to be building on the strong support that Island people have shown for Gift to Nature in the past.”
Graham Biss from Island 2000 said:
“Over the last few months we have been working hard with the council to find a way forward for their Countryside Service and I am delighted we have been able to put together this partnership arrangement.
“We care passionately about the Island’s natural environment and ensuring it is readily available to everyone to enjoy. However this is only the start and if we are going to be successful we will need everyone to support us to help preserve these important assets.
“I am delighted to welcome Matthew Chatfield and Nick Webb to the Gift to Nature team.”
Areas now managed by Gift to Nature are thought to include:
• Afton Marsh
• Medina Riverside Park
• Dodnor Creek and Dickson’s Copse
• Golden Hill Country Park
• Brading Down
• Shide Chalk Pit
• Rew Down
• Nansen Hill Bonchurch
• Haylands Wood
• Binstead Wood (Dame Anthony’s Common)
• Millennium Wood, Seaclose
• Sibden Hill & Batt’s Copse, Shanklin
• Sandown Levels
• The Landslip Bonchurch
• Blackgang Viewpoint
• Rosemary Lane / Swanmore Meadows
• Merstone Station
• Land at Connie’s Way, Newport
• Pan Mill Meadows
• Castle Copse
• One Horse Field
• Munsley Bog
• Sandown wetland walk and community orchard
• Bohemia Bog