Previous Tasks‎ > ‎

January to December 2007

JANUARY

Sunday 8th

Whitewebbs Park

The first task of the year, and as has become tradition – we were pond clearing. The ponds in question were situated to the west of Flash Lane in Whitewebbs Park. 7 volunteers took up the challenge, removing fallen trees and debris from 3 dewponds of various sizes. Due to the dry Summer and Autumn, they were all fairly low and allowed reasonable access. ECV had worked on them in the dim and distant past, so a return visit was appreciated. The clearance will hopefully prevent the ponds from becoming silted up and disappearing altogether, retaining a variety of habitats present in this area of the woods.

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Christina Lee

Sunday 21st

Tatem Park

Under blue skies and glorious sunshine, 2 Enfield Preservation Society members, 2 Friends of Tatem Park with 4 ECV members and 2 newcomers, who showed interest in future tasks, dismembered and removed a fallen tree from across the pathway to the children’s playground. Habitat piles were created from the brush and logs. Debris was dragged from the round pond. The hedge surrounding it was inspected and it was found to be full of gaps and in poor growth. The conclusion was that it was not fit for hedgelaying. On reflection, the taller hazels, hawthorns and blackthorns formed an attractive grove which was more in keeping with the ambience of the ornamental park.
Jill Kidger

FEBRUARY

Sunday 4th

Firs Farm Nature Reserve

Today the group returned to the hedge which it had worked on twice last winter. A year's growth was enough to show that the volunteers' hedgelaying had been quite successful: despite the bulk of some of the pleachers which had had to be laid in, the regrowth was vigorous from the base of the hedge, and the blackthorn which had been used to fill gaps had also grown.
With this encouragement, the volunteers began laying the next stretch of hedge. Progress was relatively quick, as this section did not include any previously laid hedge to be demolished (though, as usual, there was plenty of fly-tipped litter and rubble to be removed). There was a mix of tree species, mainly hawthorn, and most of a size quite convenient for laying. After about thirty more metres, the hedgeline ran into a clump of cherry laurel, and this marks the limit of how far this particular hedge can go: the laurel is not a suitable plant for laying, and beyond the laurel the trees were too large and too sparse.
Of the nine volunteers who attended, three had not previously done any hedgelaying, and they, along with the rest, were delighted that the hedge had been completed so rapidly and sturdily.
Steve Mathieson

Sunday 18th

Forty Hall Park

Returning to Forty Hall for the first time this year, we continued our efforts to slow the progression of the woodland from encroaching upon the meadows in front of the hall. Over the last few years (30 or so) the trees from around the river have been allowed to spread up towards the house. We are attempting to gradually reverse that trend by thinning and removing the new growth of oak and other trees before they have a chance to develop further. This work will allow the restoration of the meadows to their original state, opening back up the vista as might have been viewed as far back as Elizabethan times. A full attendance today of 11 volunteers made light work of the task, ensuring that the grass mowers can keep the area in trim and not allow any (or too much) new growth.

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Robin Herbert

MARCH

Sunday 4th

Trent Country Park

On a very, very wet Sunday 9 volunteers once again set out to clear the encroaching rhododendron at Shaws Wood near the bridleway. People have different views of Rhododendron, you either love it or hate it (just like Marmite!). Many people think it is very attractive when in flower and with its evergreen glossy leaves makes a good barrier. But it is an ornamental plant introduced during Victorian times which has no place in a country park. Wildlife cannot eat or nest in it, it poisons the ground so nothing else can grow there. Because it spreads easily by means of suckers or just layering itself wherever it touches the ground, it can quickly take over an area. ECV are on a campaign to restrict this “thug” and will make more visits to this site (in better weather we hope) to contain it and give native species a chance to regenerate.

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Judy Mayo

Sunday 18th

Trent Country Park

During one of the windy spells in late winter a large sycamore was brought down in the nature trail. This was one of the last sycamores of seed-bearing size in this wood, so its demise was greeted with some delight. On the downside, the falling tree had demolished a sleeper bridge over the brook, as well as the dead hedge which the volunteers had carefully constructed some months previously. Although the dead hedge was seriously mangled, its function as a barrier was effectively taken over by ten tons of tree. The bridge was beyond repair, with even the old railway sleepers being too crunched to be reusable, and so a replacement was needed a few yards upstream.
Eleven volunteers, including one new member, attended, and half the team set about building the new bridge. The bank was cut away, and half-sleepers set into it as bearers. Three sleepers were then laid across, and nailed and staked in place. When this was done, the bridge team joined the rest of the volunteers in the battle against the sycamores. As the winch was not available to pull out the stumps, most of the work involved using billhooks and loppers to cut off the regrowth of trees felled in previous years. In addition, a few of the smaller stumps were grubbed up with mattocks.
Sycamores are tenacious, and their regrowth is vigorous, so progress is always slow in clearing them from an area, but, comparing the nature trail now to what it was a few years ago, there seems to be a big difference. It may be that a more natural flora will now be coming in to replace the sycamore scrub: at least the woodland floor will no longer be getting a sprinkling of winged seeds from one large tree.

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Steve Mathieson

APRIL

Sunday 1st

Hilly Fields Park

Eleven volunteers accepted the April Fools Day task by pretending to be sheep. An area of Hilly Fields close to the Fallow Buck pub is homes to a colony of yellow meadow ants. These ants excavate large mounds in meadowland but need sunlight to warm the mounds to survive. In olden days sheep would graze the area which keep the vegetation down, but in Hilly Fields ECV are used!. Young growth from silver birch and encroaching brambles were cleared from around the mounds while other members of the group cleared large areas of bramble to widen the habitat area available to the ants. Unfortunately one of these bramble patches turned out to be home to a very large grass snake, who after having its photo taken, was relocated away from danger. You never know what you will find on an ECV task.

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Judy Mayo

Sunday 15th

Arnos Park

We return nearly a year later to Arnos Park, to complete (or nearly complete) the fence dividing the nature area from the childrens play area. As well as extending the post-and-rail fence, we also strengthened the existing fence by putting in supporting posts halfway along the rails. Yet again, a very hot day, just like last year, so we were very glad to reach the end point of the fence where we left a gap for a large five-bar gate to be installed (something we are doing later in the year in the next programme). We were also joined by a group of volunteers from Community Service Volunteers (www.csv.org.uk), Go London branch. Four enthusiastic helpers added to our seven ECV volunteers. As well as clearing some fallen trees, they created two Stag beetle homes - holes in the ground filled with branches standing upright. We shall see when we return later in the year if the beetles like their new high-rise apartment block!

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Robin Herbert

April

Sunday 29th

Grovelands Park

In pleasant overcast conditions to the sound of birdsong, seven of us tackled another section in the muddy path in the woodland leading from Grovelands Pound! Trenches were dug and sleepers laid to contain hoggin. Culverts under the existing pathway were cleared. Brambles and holly were cut back. The task took slightly longer than anticipated, so the team were owed nearly an hours overtime!! 

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Jill Kidger

MAY

Sunday 13th

Whitewebbs Park

Despite rather wet weather, we had the grand total of 10 volunteers (plus TWO outreach workers as leaders!) turn out for today's task, including two new volunteers, David and Jenny. Step building was the main order of the day, at a location in Whitewebbs near 'Beggars Hollow' behind the Rose and Crown pub known to some as Spaghetti Junction, due to the fact that there are 5 different paths leading off from the one place. At one point, the ground slopes down from the main junction to two of the paths. As we found out, this slope becomes very slippery in the wet weather, so it was here that we constructed a flight of steps to make the descent (or ascent) safer. Risers were partially dug into the ground and held in place with posts, whilst the area behind was filled with road scalpings (old road surface removed when a new surface is laid). In addition, we repaired a fence next to the river which was becoming dangerous, and put in a replacement way-marker post to replace the original one that had gone missing. Finally, we used a graffiti removal kit to remove some 'tags' from another metal sign-post. Lots of work done, and as usual, the place looked very different when we left from the way it was when we arrived. Shame it rained so much....

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Robin Herbert

Sunday 27th

Tatem Park

A combination of holidays and appalling weather limited the number of volunteers to five, including two of the park's own Friends group, but it was still possible to make some progress on all of the projects planned for the day. 
The work was centred around the little pond. A mini rock island was created in the centre for invertebrates and as a dragonfly landing station. Duckweed formed a thick coating on the water surface, so rakes were used to skim off as much as possible. Two more jobs around the pond were the weeding of the surrounding hard surface, and cutting back overhanging branches to improve access. In addition, some plants with wildlife value were planted round about. 
Running up from the pond is a path which forms part of the woodland walk. This is steep enough to be awkward in slippery conditions, so half a dozen steps were set into the bank and surfaced with woodchippings. More steps would certainly be helpful on further stretches of the path, and there will certainly be plenty of work available on future visits to the site.
Steve Mathieson

JUNE

Sunday 10th

Whitewebbs

In breezy warm weather, 9 of us cleared vegetation from the cast iron aqueduct at Flash Lane and erected a wide kissing gate giving special access for wheelchair users of the path beside Cuffley Brook. A fallen oak tree blocking the bridlepath was sawn and cleared. Users welcomed this.
Jill Kidger

Sunday 24th

Trent Park Nature Trail

Continuing our never-ending battle against the sycamore in the Nature Trail, 6 volunteers tried a pincer movement to lessen its impact. Three of the group removed several of the stumps of previously cut trees while the remaining three felled more which will need the stumps removing at a later date. 
The area where the stumps were removed was covered with large numbers of wild foxgloves that should make an attractive show next year. However, previously cleared areas have been taken over by bracken which appears to be stopping any other plants from colonising. Is bracken our new enemy?
Judy Mayo

JULY

Sunday 8th

Arnos Park

This was the third visit to the fence line separating the play area from the new conservation area. The main project for the day was the installation of a five-bar gate to enable access for emergency vehicles and maintenance machinery. The load bearing gate post requires a metre deep hole wide enough to accommodate cross struts, and the digging, in addition to fixing the hinges on the gate and post, kept the six volunteers busy until lunch time. In the afternoon the gate was set in position, and a short stretch of post and rail run from the post into the shrub border to complete the fence line. Unfortunately, no catch was available for closing the gate, and a bolt is required to fully secure one hinge, so the project is not 100% complete. However these minor additions do not warrant another visit from ECV, and so this task can be signed off with some pride.

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Steve Mathieson

Sunday 22nd

Trent Country Park

A return to a site last visited in March - Shaw's Wood. This time however, the weather was much better (last time it rained all day), although the same number of volunteers attended (9 in total) although the names were different, as we had two new starters; Jess and Star. The weather was much drier, although recent rain made the ground soft and our job easier. Progressing the work started previously, we continued to clear the invasive Rhododendron from this area, enlarging the space free of this invader to allow a variety of other species a chance to establish themselves. Disposal of the removed vegetation (and that includes the roots, as otherwise it'll just grow back again) was either by creating mulch or habitat piles, or by the much more fun method of burning! Of course, much care was taken to ensure the fire stayed within control, with at least one person if not many in attendance at all times. Slowly but surely, just like other locations we work on, we're making an impact.
Robin Herbert

AUGUST

Sunday 5th

Forty Hall

On what turned out to be the hottest day of 2007 so far, 6 volunteers met to continue the selective clearance of small oak trees which are encroaching into the meadow area. Because of the unaccustomed heat that day, work progressed rather more slowly than is the norm when ECV get their teeth into a task. One of the drawbacks of removing the trees was that the cover they provided from the relentless sunshine disappeared. Despite taking in plenty of liquid, the willing volunteers started to wilt and it was agreed that a siesta would be more sensible than risking sunstroke. We will return in more temperate conditions to continue the work.
Judy Mayo

Sunday 19th

Jubilee Park

As is customary when ECV convene in Edmonton, a blanket of rain covered the morning: it may be imagined that this had some effect on the numbers attending. Seven braved the elements, including two Enfield Society members, one Friend of Jubilee Park and one local councillor. It had been intended to divide the work between the willow maze and the wildlife conservation area, but our labours would have been spread too thin, and so the maze lost out. 
The conservation area consists of rough grassland sparsely planted with native trees. Unfortunately it is beginning to be invaded by Japanese Knotweed, one of the most intrusive pants in the country. Some of the volunteers set about removing it wherever it reared its ugly head, digging out as much of the roots as possible. 
The rest of the volunteers built a loggery for Stag Beetles. This rare and impressive beetle is in decline in Britain and globally, largely due to habitat depletion. The beetles lay their eggs in decaying timber, which must be substantial enough to sustain their larvae throughout their lives. 
To create the loggery a hole was dug about two feet deep and about four feet wide. Logs of various sizes were set upright in the hole with most of their length below ground level. When as many logs as possible were fitted in the hole, they were wired together in an attempt a vandal-proofing, and the gaps between them back-filled with soil. A muddy but solid looking construction was the end result: let’s hope some gravid Stag Beetle flits there in the near future.

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Steve Mathieson

SEPTEMBER 

Sunday 2nd 

Hilly Fields Park 

Six volunteers attended the task in Hilly Fields. During the Christmas Social Walk in December 2006 it was discovered that a bridge would be useful addition to allow easy crossing of the drainage ditch to the northern bank path leading to Clay Hill. Four of the volunteers set to levelling the ground on the northern side, no mean feat considering the large tree roots they encountered, and putting in a sleeper bridge. No sooner had this been done than several dogs and a couple of appreciative people made use of it. The other two volunteers returned the area where the colonies of yellow meadow ants live. Although the group had cleared the area of silver birch saplings earlier in the year, the wet summer had proved to their liking and there appeared to be more than ever to remove. Not daunted, the area was cleared and hopefully the yellow meadow ants will be able to enjoy the benefits of the last of the autumn sunshine. 
Judy Mayo 

Sunday 16th 

Houndsden Spinney 

A new member joined today. 4 of us cleared sycamore and fallen trees from the pathways around the spinney and 2 others made repairs to the boardwalk which had collapsed in places and needed slats repairing. The weather remained clear and dry thoughout and we all enjoyed the day. 
Jill Kidger 

Sunday 30th 

Forty Hall 

Continuing our efforts to restore the meadow land in front of Forty Hall was the order of the day. Over the years, oak trees have encroached up the meadow towards the house. This will begin to endanger any archaeological finds as yet undiscovered. To reduce this problem, we are basically cutting the younger trees down to the ground (the older ones are too big) although not removing them (as taking the roots out will disturb the ground). 
Lots of help on hand today, several new volunteers and friends of Forty Hall; in total about 15 people, both large and small. 

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Robin Herbert 

OCTOBER 

Sunday 14th 

Trent Country Park 

Over 15 years ago ECV erected the bridges in the Water Garden, one very large and complete with a pergola, the other more modest with a handrail. Unfortunately the smaller bridge had been vandalised and become rotten. Nine volunteers, including one enthusiastic new member, attended. The volunteers split into two working parties, one remaining in the main yard to cut the new decking to size while the rest set to ripping up the old bridge. Although very rotten in places, the edges of the planks remained firmly nailed to the supporting railway sleeper supports and much effort was required to remove them without disturbing the supports. A large tree had also fallen down beside the bridge and needed to be removed. After lunch the two groups joined forces and a new central support was added for strength, new decking nailed into place and finally it was topped with wire to prevent slipping. Everyone agreed it had been a worthwhile task and many members of the public thanked us. 
Judy Mayo 

Sunday 28th 

Tatem Park 

It was wet. Very wet. But that didn't stop us! And I was late too. Despite the extra hour in bed. Still, none of this stopped 6 ECVers and 5 Friends of Tatem Park from setting about the job at hand. Which was to clear around the pond, re-open a footpath which had become a bit overgrown and then give it a fresh surface of bark chippings, and continue with the construction of steps up from the pond towards the afore-mentioned footpath. With much barrowing of chippings to both path and steps, our days work was completed and a good time was had by all! (And the hot bath when I got home was never more welcomed!) 
Robin Herbert 

NOVEMBER 

Sunday 11th 

Oakwood Park 

A recent biodiversity survey conducted by the GLA discovered an area of acid grassland in Oakwood Park. Acid grassland is a habitat which is rare enough in the London area to require fostering wherever it is found: unfortunately on this occasion it was found on an area which had recently been planted with trees. Although woodland is a valuable wildlife habitat in itself, there is a relatively large amount of wooded areas in outer London, including some in Oakwood Park itself, whereas the sort of flora and fauna which would thrive in acid grassland would not prosper elsewhere. Besides which, the trees, though flourishing, were only recent introductions, and so had not established a real woodland environment. It was therefore decided to return the area to the grassland it had been a few years previously. 
The method employed was simply to cut the trees down to ground level: this would allow an annual grass mow to contain the regrowth. Eight volunteers, including two students from Southgate School, set to work with bowsaws to remove the trees. The spoil was snedded with billhooks and loppers and taken into nearby woodland as habitat piles. A days work did not make much of an impression on the area, and several more visits will be necessary before the site can be brought to its desired condition. 
Steve Mathieson 

Sunday 25th 

Tucker’s Field (North Enfield Rec.) 

8 ECVers with help from 4 Friends of Tucker’s Field (one of whom is a regular ECVer) and 4 volunteers from Youth Action Volunteering Enfield, (so that’s a staggering 16!!) got down and dirty digging large holes to plant 12 standard trees and gap up several metres of hedge. The trees were to replace several trees that had died, presumably due to water logging, as the holes dug to remove them, filled with water almost instantly. Some debate took place regarding the best way of staking, as there are several schools of thought. We tried a variety of them, so we will be able to judge which are the most successful! More hedging plants should have arrived, but as they hadn’t materialised, another day will be arranged to plant these. 

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Christina Lee 

DECEMBER 

Sunday 9th 

Enfield Hedgelaying Competition 

Several teams have signed up to take part in the competition, which was postponed from earlier in the year due to the inclement weather. A young hedge in Hilly Fields has been chosen as the target, so hopefully everyone will do a good job and an attractive laid hedge will be the result. 

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Christina Lee 

Sunday 16th 

Xmas Social 

A walk in the Lee Valley from Cheshunt is the chosen activity this year. We hope for good weather, and a pleasant repast in a local hostelry.

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Christina Lee