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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 31 January 2018

Wed 31st Jan 2018 - Brading Downs LNR. GG # 720.

Terry's Photographs.

As left by the contractors.

Above and below - tree fungi.
(Top is "King Alfred's Cakes" below is Shelf Fungi.)

Tidying-up the bits the contractors couldn't deal with.

A much appreciated tea break..!

Rather ominous rain clouds.

Starting to pile up our cuttings.

Looking much better.

One GGmer takes a rest.

Logs for the fire?

It is unusual for GG to work up on Brading Down so early in the year - and today we found out why.... it is bloody cold..! We soon filled up the designated car park so the late comers had to park a bit further down the hill but, we eventually managed to get started on the tasks in hand. The areas designated as "scenic car parks" were a bit of a misnomer due to large areas of undergrowth blocking the views..! Prior to our visit, the majority of the undergrowth had been mechanically flailed which had left regions under the trees requiring our attention. With loppers and bow saws in hand, we were soon tackling the brambles and shrubs - the cuttings being neatly piled across the site. To make this area even more accessible to the public, some of the team tackled the over grown areas along the footpaths leading down to the Adgestone road.
As mentioned above it was a cold, strong wind blowing across the Downs and some people were made aware of what the term "wind chill factor" really means...! Most of the session was dry but there were a few sharp showers, one of which had hail in it. A quick glance at the photographs above will confirm that it was definitely a "three layer with wooly hat" sort of session.

Many thanks to Terry for taking the photographs this week.

If you are wondering what is going on up on Brading Down, then look at the following press release from G2N.  Nice to know that GG is playing a part in the Big Plan!

The Island 2000 Trust will be delivering a new project worth over £25,000 after securing a £20,000 grant from Postcode Local Trust, a grant-giving charity funded entirely by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
The project is focused on the Gift to Nature reserve at Brading Down, one of the Island’s most iconic viewpoints and is intended to encourage more people onto the Downs and learn more about this wonderful place.
Visitors to Brading Down in 2018 will notice big improvements, with better surfacing on the car parks, a new picnic area, new seats and more signs giving information about the remarkable archaeology and heritage of the area. Work has already started to improve the panoramic views of the east Wight, and is expected to continue throughout the summer.
Island 2000 CEO Graham Biss said:
“We have thirty sites across the Isle of Wight and Brading Down already is one of the best-loved sites managed by Gift to Nature, but we want more visitors to the Island and Islanders to enjoy this special place.
“As well as being a great place for a picnic it’s got an extraordinary story to tell – did you realise that the Down is home to Roman and Iron Age field systems?”

Wednesday 24 January 2018

Wed 24th Jan 2018 - The Old West Medina Cement Mill, Dodnor. GG # 719.

Mark's Photographs.

One of the treated tree stumps (in the foreground)

The Great Wall of Dodnor..???

Some VERY damp GGmers.

Clearing one of the kiln areas.

An old hob-nailed working boot.

The interface between old and new. (But it is ALL old)

Although this week was technically a new venue for Green Gym, we have worked "just over the fence" many times before (at Dickson's Copse and on the footpath adjacent to the mill pond). Having all assembled at the end of Stag lane, Mark accompanied us through the Vestas wind turbine factory car park to the work site. The ruins of the old cement mills had, over many years, become very overgrown but the majority of this had recently been cleared by contractors. The area is to be subjected to an archeological investigation at a later date so we had been asked to try and clear away some of the undergrowth from on and around the remaining structures. After Mark had introduced us to the site and pointed out the "no go" areas (some of the remains are dangerous to enter / climb upon) we split into small groups each working at one of the designated tasks. It is interesting to work on such an old, historical site and we hope that we will be invited to continue the work we have started, albeit with better weather next time. Ah...the weather...well, considering the rather wet and windy conditions (see below) we had a reasonable turn-out of GGmers which included two new recruits. 

The Weather. Green Gym used to be renowned for always (well, nearly always!) having the best weather of the week on a Wednesday morning. Just recently we seem to be "enjoying" storm after storm - with the one this week taking the name Georgina. Gale force winds and torrential rain were the order of the day although the worst held back until towards the end of the session. The radar plot below shows the position of the storm front at around midday Wednesday. Yes, we all got VERY wet!

The Old West Medina Cement Mills.  Should you like further reading on the subject then there is a book available - full of the history, facts, photographs and maps. 

If you are interested then please have a word with Mark as he is able to obtain copies of this excellent book for the very reasonable sum of £10. (I have one and it is well worth the outlay!) 

Mark did a great job of taking photographs in the rain - so a big thanks to him..!

Wednesday 17 January 2018

Wed 17th Jan 2018 - Sandown Orchard, Lake. GG # 718.

Terry's Photographs.

Trimming back.

A rather flooded pathway...!

Digging the mud out of the steps.

More cutting back.

Rebuilding the steps and pathways.

The cycle track entrance.

A well earned tea break.

Even more cutting back

The orchard area after we cleared it.

Down towards the pond area.

Back to an old GG favourite this week....the orchard area of the wetland walk in Lake. We have a couple of visits here each year and... being winter time... it was (as per usual for this time of year!) flooded. Never mind, there was still plenty for us to be getting on with without getting out the thigh waders or We wanted to make good headway at cutting back all the undergrowth and bramble before the start of the nesting season for the birds. Another area needing attention was some of the well used entrance paths and the steps that we installed some years ago. The photographs above illustrate just how much was achieved in those few, short hours. If you happen to visit this site, you can't miss the new boundary hedge between the road and the orchard. The rangers have made a super job of hedge laying the (VERY overgrown) original hedge line - it really does look great. Considering the rain we have had recently and yet another storm forecasted for tonight, the weather for us was pleasantly warm with frequent sunny periods... nice! 

Many thanks to Terry for taking the photographs this week.

Wednesday 10 January 2018

Wed 10th Jan 2018 - Nansen Hill, Ventnor. GG # 717.

Mark's Photographs. (Historical - 2007!)

Can you spot yourself? (I can!)

Mark's Photographs - taken today.

The long, uphill trek..!

Great views at the top.

Very arty!

Team GG hard at work.

More views.

Alison's Photographs.

Some of Team GG reach base camp one..!
(and what a view)

Right in the thick(et) of it

Lots to cut down.

It was much steeper than it appears in these photographs..!

Just part of the area we cleared during the session.

This week we were off to the south of our island, Nansen Hill in Ventnor. We visited here, many years ago, but time has not made the hillside any less steep to work on...! Most of the team assembled at the "Smugglers" carpark then tackled the hill from the bottom but three of our merry band decided to go to the top carpark (beyond the radar station) and work their way down. The conclusion to this two pronged attack.... six of one and half a dozen of the other. Once on site we were soon attacking the dense hawthorn and blackthorn thicket that had grown up along the boundary fence. Knowing how deadly both of these can be when it comes into contact with exposed skin, particular care was taken to cover everything, including eye protection. With half the team cutting down, the others were dragging it back to the bonfire area whilst trying to upright on the rather slippery, steep, slope. Considering the rather arduous task, good progress was made at the task in hand. During the tea break we were able to take in the stunning views towards Shanklin, Sandown and beyond to the mainland. The weather was outstanding for January - dry, blue skies and above average temperature.

Ever wondered why it is called Nansen Hill? Click the following link and all will be revealed.

During tea break the Dakota airliner, that crashed into this hill, was mentioned. Please click the link below for further details.

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