Previous Tasks‎ > ‎

January to December 2006

JANUARY

Sunday 8th

Whitewebbs Park

As is traditional, ECV’s first task of the year was spent working on the ponds in the East Wood in Whitewebbs. The condition of the ponds really brought home to the 5 volunteers how dry this winter has been: the water level in both was pretty much what would be expected in mid-summer. The rail pond was little more than a puddle, and apart from clearing some debris, no work was needed on it.
At the larger pond some clumps of willow intruding into the water needed coppicing, and the stems were used to repair the dead hedge around the pond. A new dead hedge was built to block off a short cut and give a bit of privacy to any wildlife around the water’s edge.
Steve Mathieson

Sunday 15th

Trent Country Park – Hedgelaying Competition

This was LBE’s 13th Annual Hedgelaying Competition, and the hedge used was a continuation of the largely field maple hedge used for the competition in 2004.
Ten teams entered this year and so a goodly stretch of hedge was laid, all of it to a pleasing standard.
Our thanks to Alan Johnson, who judged the competition, the first three places being as follows:
  1. Steve Gibson and Midi
  2. Keith and Dave
  3. Tom Hewins
Especial thanks are due to Bob, Jim, Joanna and Robin who collected the unwanted cuttings and fed them into the huge bonfire.
Altogether twenty-two competitors and helpers attended, plus judge and organiser, and even the weather stayed fine to add to the most enjoyable day.
Steve Mathieson

Sunday 22nd

Carrs Basin

Swallows and Amazons springs to mind! This task was centred on 'Island Warfare' - using a boat (well, flat bottomed dingy thing) to get to an island in the middle of the old loop of the New River, at a location known as Carrs Basin, which is where it runs alongside Enfield Town Park – against encroaching sycamore! (Funny how frequently all we seem to do is cut down sycamore.) The island tried to wreak revenge on us, since it is used at night by many birds as a safe place to sleep. However, it does also leaves the ground bare of any grass (it's been eaten) and also with a slippery extra coating (it comes out again). Still many sycamores were felled and other trees coppiced to be turned into barriers to keep the larger birds (geese etc.) off the island to the advantage of the smaller birds (ducks etc.). In addition, we also planted a few small whips (young trees, no more than a few feet long) to help keep the island stable. Six volunteers in total braved the high seas and skated to a successful conclusion.

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Robin Herbert

FEBRUARY

Sunday 5th

Firs Farm Nature Reserve

Today the team returned to continue laying the hedge they had begun in November.
As on the previous visit there was an excessive amount of clearance to be done before any pleachers could be laid in, and a bonfire was kept burning all day. There was a stretch of a few metres with nothing at all growing in the hedge line and an experiment was tried at transplanting a few blackthorn suckers from a nearby thicket.
6 volunteers attended this task, and the worst of the work has now been done. One or two more visits should finish all the hedge which can usefully be laid.
Steve Mathieson

Sunday 19th

Trent Country Park

Sycamore clearance was the order of the day. The area in the centre of the Nature Trail has quite a dense thicket of Sycamores, which ECV have been gradually reducing, by cutting and then removing the stumps. Today the six volunteers cut back some of the re-growth and removed some of the stumps, burning some of the material, creating a dead hedge and habitat piles with the rest. No doubt we will return to continue the good work later in the year.

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Christina Lee

MARCH

Sunday 5th

Grovelands Park

Today 7 volunteers carried out woodland management, before the birds started nesting, encouraging a more diverse ground flora. In the north of the park is a quite dense area of holly, which tends to shade out everything else. We thinned the bushes and lifted some of the crowns to open up the woodland floor and allow more light, so other ground flora will be able to thrive.
Christina Lee

Sunday 19th

North Enfield Recreation Ground

Affectionately known to locals as Tuckers Field, this recreation ground has recently seen some major improvements to the hard landscaping and playground equipment. 4 members of ECV plus 5 local park users, including 2 children, attempted to make similar improvements for the local wildlife. An old hedgerow bordering the footpath leading to Clay Hill had become very patchy in places and no longer provided the dense cover needed by nesting birds. Following the dry winter the ground was very hard and it took longer than expected to plant the bare areas with a mixture of native hedgerow whips of beech and hawthorn which it is hoped over time will flourish. A rain dance for their survival was considered but I was overruled!
Judy Mayo

APRIL

Sunday 2nd

Houndsden Spinney

On 2nd April seven volunteers made it to ECV in Houndsden Spinney, this is a secluded area away from the main street near Grange Park. It is a relatively small location and we had not been for a while. The task of the day was to clear sycamores, an invasive and exotic tree which threatens to take over the rest of the woodland. The work was carried out in earnest and the day went pretty well especially with the help of some lovely tea served by Christina. The area was surrounded by wild garlic and the volunteers did what they could not to tread on it and release the pungent smell!! To finish the day we attended to some whips, which have been planted in a previous task. Overall, it has been a jolly good work out. Happy to return to it again!

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Laura Scaramella

Sunday 16th

Durants Park

Cancelled as maintenance on paddling pool had used area and it needed them to re-instate.

Sunday 30th

Pymmes Park

Today the group worked in the small stands of trees dotted around the Pymmes Park Fields. The first task was to remove as much as possible of the invasive sycamore regrowth in the under storey. Then ladders were brought out to install bird boxes which had been made by various local primary school children. Five volunteers including one new member, placed around a dozen boxes in strategic positions on the trees.
Steve Mathieson

MAY

Sunday 14th

Whitewebbs Park

DAY 1 - Stile construction and clearing weed from the historic aqueduct.
In green leafy surroundings and dappled sunlight, eight volunteers
constructed a stile to prevent equestrians from using a pedestrian path
cleared huge quantities of nettles and brambles from around the ancient aqueduct and bridge over the Cuffley Brook.
branches were removed from the brook to improve its flow.
The public were pleased to see us at work.

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Jill Kidger

Sunday 28th

Whitewebbs Park

DAY 2 - Fence construction.
Continuing the improvements to the Flash Lane fencing, 3 volunteers blocked off with fencing and brushwood, the 2 additional paths that had been created by people cutting through. Some of the sycamores were felled to deter walkers from the woods attempting to gain access to Flash Lane other than by the newly created stile.
Quite an achievement considering the number of dedicated volunteers on the day!
Christina Lee

JUNE

Sunday 11th

Holly Hill Farm

Hot? Boiling! Not the best combination of task and weather today. Normally we’d be complaining about rain, cold, etc., but today is was so HOT! And we’re not working in the shade either! Today we turned out to help our sister group Groundforce with their mammoth task of renewing the fence at the side of the road leading from the main road to the farm itself. Much of the work had been done, but there was still lots to do. In addition to the usual ECV ‘crew’ – which was larger than normal – we also had help from enthusiastic Groundforce regulars who turned out to help (or ensure we kept up the high standard of work, which of course we always do).
Despite the heat, several sections of fence were taken out and replaced, bringing this task nearer to its conclusion. Due to the number of volunteers available on the day (10), several people also helped clear long grass from around the bases of newly planted whips (young trees, no more than a metre high) and to ensure they got all the help we could give them, we also watered them from the cow’s water trough! However, to recompense the cows for using their water, we did collect all the fresh cut long, succulent, grass and put it over the fence for the afternoon tea. It did seem to be gratefully received!
Robin Herbert

Sunday 25th

Grovelands Park

In pleasant weather, 5 members constructed 2 sleeper and hoggin paths through boggy areas in the route from The Pound to the playground. We cleared the drainage channel to carry water under the path into a ‘soak-away’ a distance away.
The public were appreciative of the work done.
Jill Kidger

JULY

Sunday 9th

Arnos Park

Today’s task is at a new site for ECV (surprising that after all the years ECV has been going, we’ve never been here). Arnos Park is in the south-western corner of the London Borough of Enfield, just behind Arnos Grove tube station. In fact, you look down on the park when going from Southgate to Arnos Grove on the Underground (which always struck me as strange – looking down on something from the Underground). This is to be the start of a new wildlife or nature area, on a patch of rough grass next to the children’s play area. The first job is to define the area, so we started by putting up a fence to divide the wildlife area from the playground. We did not manage to complete the fence this time (lack of rails for a start, although even with enough we would not have had the time) but got about halfway across using half-round timbers to make a post and (twin) rail fence. Each rail was approximately 5m long, so we covered about 25m using the 5 sections we put in. The ground (following the recent very dry weather) was quite hard and dry, making it impossible to use the drive-all to force the first couple of posts into the ground. Instead we needed to dig a hole and ‘plant’ the post, using a punner to firm the ground afterwards. However, for the last six posts the ground was just a little more soft and we were able to use the drive-all, making the post placing much quicker (and probably firmer). We had 2 and 2 half new volunteers today, as well as 3 ‘regulars’ including myself, plus Karen our LBE Outreach officer leading us.
The new volunteers were all locals who’d seen the notices put up; one who has previously worked on the Millennium Green near New Southgate train station, the others a mother and her two little girls, who were of great help in clearing the long grass from the fence-line. Hopefully this is the next generation of ECVers!
Robin Herbert

Sunday 23rd

Jubilee Park

4 regulars and 4 Friends of Jubilee worked steadily round the maze removing enormous quantities of willow shoots and weaving others into the fabric of the fence. Some work remained to be completed. A good days work.
Jill Kidger

AUGUST

Sunday 6th (& 3rd Sept)

Trent Country Park

Two return visits to an area of the Nature Trail where previously sycamores had been cut down but 3-foot stumps left standing. On the first of our visits, 6 ECV members had to cut back the re-growth from these stumps, which had sometimes reached a height of 10 foot before they could reach the more mature trees which needed felling. 2 members trimmed the leaves and thinner branches from the cut material and constructed a dead hedge to stop people walking across the felled area which it is hoped will regenerate with native trees and flora. On the second visit, it was decided to concentrate on removing the 3-foot stumps so as to give any new growth the best chance of success. 7 volunteers, including 1 new member, spent the day winching and digging out the stumps and extending the dead hedge to protect the now larger cleared area. We can only wait and see what happens, but at least there will not be a lot less sycamore re-growth to contend with on our next visit.

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Judy Mayo

Sunday 20th

Grovelands Park

Today the team continued work on the woodland footpath that runs parallel to Broadwalk. Since there were only four volunteers at this task, no more construction work was attempted, and the group contented themselves with cutting back encroaching vegetation and clearing obstructions from the path surface to improve access.

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Steve Mathieson

SEPTEMBER

Sunday 3rd

Trent Country Park

See 6th August

Sunday 17th

Forty Hall

Pond Dipping Platform repairs and loop clearance – 3 Fishermen joined the 7 of us in replacing rotten planks in these platforms. We completed the repairs on 2 platforms, driving piles into the mud for extra support. 2 of us cleaned debris from the water around the island, in preparation for dredging work in a future task. Very satisfactory day’s work.

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Jill Kidger

OCTOBER

Sunday 1st & 15th

Forty Hall

Dredging of loop at fishing lakes – under blue skies and amazing golden autumn leaves, six of us worked on dredging silt and debris from the backwater loop. This task extended to 15th Oct, when some of the 12 volunteers worked to move debris, overhanging holly and manoeuvre a massive log from the water to the bank. The water began to flow more freely as a result. The rest of the crew began thinning the oaks which are encroaching onto the Great Field, in order to restore the meadow area.

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Jill Kidger

Sunday 29th

Trent Country Park

Today the team continued with the battle against rhododendron in the Shaws Wood/Williams Wood area. This time we had a winch with us, so we could remove even the larger rootstocks. As usual we concentrated on one particular area and tried to clear it of as much unwanted vegetation as possible. Not only does this allow the more desirable flora to colonize quickly, but also it enables us to monitor any re-growth by the rhododendron. There are always some inaccessible roots growing under fallen trees or among the roots of large woodland trees, and it is useful to be able to gauge how often we need to visit the site to maintain the desired biodiversity.
Seven volunteers, including one new member, attended this task.

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Steve Mathieson

NOVEMBER

Sunday 12th

Forty Hall

Continuing the work started earlier in the year with the gradual clearance and restoration of the meadows from encroaching trees – sycamore mainly, but also (and more controversially) oaks. We are making the clearance more of a thinning exercise, so that the loss of the trees is not so noticeable. If all the trees were to be removed at once, there would be an uproar from some parts of the local community. However, it was not that many years ago (about 20 to 30, I remember them as a boy and I'm not that old!) that there were no trees in this area, so the work we are doing is merely returning the area to its original state of not that many years ago. Had sheep or other pasture animals still been grazed on the land then the trees would never have had a chance to establish themselves. At the end of the day (unlike normally) the results of our work were barely noticeable, but had begun to make a difference.
Robin Herbert

Sunday 26th

Jubilee Park

This must have been one of the wettest days ever for an ECV task: the weather started filthy and got worse. Of course, this did not deter the intrepid volunteers. Ten people, including three of Pymmes Park's own Friends group, braved the elements to work on two separate tasks.
Six of the group continued with the maintenance of the willow maze, a project which the Friends have taken under their wing. The speed of growth of willow is both an advantage and a disadvantage for a maze, in that it does need a lot of cutting back. Armed with loppers and secateurs, the team almost finished cutting and weaving the remainder of the maze. The last bits can presumably be knocked off on an ad hoc basis.
The other four volunteers went to work on laying a hedge which runs alongside the pitch and putt course. A section of this hedge had been laid by ECV two or three years previously, and had thrived reasonably, so the group began on the next stretch. One problem was that the hedge was sited on a six-foot bank, and the soaking conditions meant that it was only possible to crawl up to the hedge, and slide when you wanted to descend. However, some twenty yards of new hedgelaying had been finished by the end of the day, and it had even been possible to gap-up an empty section with some blackthorn suckers rescued from nearby.
Steve Mathieson

DECEMBER

Sunday 10th

Grovelands Park

10 volunteers, including 2 new members, made our last task of 2006 a festive one. Holly in the park has become very dense and suckers form straggly and whippy branches as they search for light. As the park was being used for a circular run, we worked in a small area, the only sound heard being the thud of running shoes. A few standard hollies were left which should grow healthily and upright and the remainder was cut and where possible the suckers pulled out the ground to prevent further suckers forming. Where the holly was female and had berries, this was cut into manageable lengths and left by the pathway for park users to take to supplement their Christmas decorations.
Judy Mayo

Sunday 17th

Xmas Social

A band of 15 merry walkers strode forth through Hilly Fields, Forty Hall and Whitewebbs, finishing at the Fallow Buck pub for a pleasant festive meal. We’re all looking forward to the new programme of tasks, starting in Whitewebbs on 7th January 2007.

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