Previous Tasks‎ > ‎

January to December 2008

JANUARY

Sunday 6th

Forty Hall Park

At Forty Hall in brilliant sunshine nine volunteers started the New Year. It turned out to be too frosty at first to clear the pond but as the bird and bat boxes had finally materialised we chose suitable trees west of the meadow to erect them. Decades ago the ancient hornbeam by the pond had split into three arching sections forming a wonderful sculpture. Laden with heavy branches they had become top-heavy and in danger of toppling so some of us undertook the necessary pollarding to reduce that possibility. A good time was had by all especially when ‘temeritous Tony’ abandoned the ladder. We felt sure the tree felt relieved, though there is still some work left to do. Habitat piles for wildlife were made from the brushwood. As the field kettle failed to light for a long time those with flasks triumphed. Once it became warmer it was possible to clear large fallen logs from the pond. We left hoping the birds would adopt the boxes supplied and come the spring we shall find out.
Jill Kidger

Sunday 20th

Jubilee Park

Last year in pouring rain, ECV laid a section of hedge in Jubilee Park. The hedgelaying was halted as there were large gaps between the trees and shrubs, Six volunteers met on a bright January morning to plant whips which we hope will flourish over the next few years to fill in the gaps. Unlike when the hedge was laid, when keeping one’s footing was the problem, this time breaking through the soil surface was our biggest problem. Team work won the day and we had planted all the whips by lunchtime (although we think we had been “cheated” as the whips were supposed to be bundles of 25 but didn’t appear to be). To try to increase the numbers, a couple of volunteers tried to move some existing tree runners but this proved twice as difficult as just planting. We can now only wait to see if the whips take and who knows in 10 years time ECV could be back laying a new section of hedge.
Judy Mayo

FEBRUARY

Sunday 3rd

Forty Hall Park

In bright sunshine and a brisk wind eight volunteers cleared overgrown and tangled brambles, wild roses and blackthorn, hawthorn and ash along Mile -and- a -Quarter Path by the New River Old Course. A cheerful bonfire of brushwood kept us warm. Sunday walkers were highly appreciative of our efforts and stopped to chat and made donations towards costs of future work. One interested lady took down details and may come and join us. All in all a good day's work, enjoyed by all.

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Jill Kidger

Sunday 17th

Oakwood Park

Today the group continued with the restoration of the acid grassland begun on 11th November. As before the work consisted of the removal of recently planted trees to allow the rare grassland habitat to re-establish itself. A large area remains to be cleared, and this will be an ongoing project. An additional task was the fixing of six birdboxes high in the surrounding trees. Seven volunteers attended and two Friends of Oakwood Park assisted for part of the day.
Steve Mathieson

MARCH

Sunday 2nd

Trent Country Park

A return to a park we frequently visit, but a location within it that is infrequently visited by ECV and the public alike. The Water Gardens are a not very well known little oasis of peace in remote corner of the wild Trent Park. Located at the far end of the lakes, it takes a determined visitor to find it as it is furthest-most from any of the common entrances to the park. But once there, it is a beauty to behold. Lovely little lined path, flower beds and little linked ponds make up this location. Our work today was two-fold. First we were to drag the weir at the end of the lakes where it makes it way around the gardens, as all the debris that gets into the lakes (natural and un-natural) eventually makes it way to this location, slowly silting the area up. Using drag rakes and grappling hooks on the end of ropes, as much debris as possible was removed from the water and left near the edge to both drain the water out, and to allow any water creatures brought along to make their way back in. Once drained, the debris was removed to the far side of the gardens so that it may not ‘fall’ back into the lake. Our other task was to repair one of the bridges crossing the little streams linking the ponds. Over the years since it was initially constructed (one of ECV’s first tasks!) the boards making up the bridge surface have started to rot and weaken, so to avoid any accidents and injuries, we replaced those boards, covering the surface with a wide steel mesh to make it less slippery in the wet weather. Seven volunteers attended, including two new members who we hope to see again (although dragging smelly, muddy, objects from out of the lake might not make our work very attractive!).

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Robin Herbert

Sunday 16th

Tatem Park

Another visit to Tatem Park, another day of rain! However, there was a good turnout this time, and a lot of progress was made with the log steps in the woodland walk. Indeed, the work proceeded at such a rate that the materials brought were used up, and further steps and stakes were manufactured from fallen timber in the park. Eleven steps were added and more pathwork was done elsewhere in the park. Nine volunteers attended, including four Friends of Tatem Park.
Steve Mathieson

Sunday 30th

Whitewebbs Park

The old chestnut paling fence near the ornamental pond had become broken and sections were missing. As the water birds were starting to nest, it was felt they needed a more secure barrier to prevent access to the back of the pond. In bright sunshine, six volunteers removed the old fencing, fashioned new fence posts from reclaimed material found in the park yard, and replaced the chestnut paling fence with a post and rail fence. The lower ¾ of the fence was covered with stock proof wire, the size of the holes decreasing from top to bottom to prevent creatures of any size getting in. The new fence attracted favourable comments from passers by and certainly looks more attractive. Lets hope the birds can have a successful and now peaceful breeding season.
Judy Mayo

APRIL

Sunday 13th

Trent Country Park - Marathon Day

Nine intrepid volunteers gathered at Snakes Lane and were instantly dazzled by the TRANSPORT OF DELIGHT which met their eyes! ....a brand new forest green Landrover with 50odd miles on the clock. Ours for the use of today! We loaded tools and set off for rhododendron clearance work in Trent Park near to an equestrian trail. Rhodos piled high and no sooner had a cheerful fire been made than the heavens opened to an accompaniment of lightening and thunder. - and we were all under tall trees too! The tarpaulin hastily thrown over a branch gave some drippy shelter till the sun came out again. We thought about the Marathon runners crossing Tower Bridge. Our fire survived and consumed huge quantities of rhododendron, roots and all since the winch was in constant use. This turned into a grand day out with a good deal of ground cleared giving the bluebells a chance to bloom. We discussed the 20th Anniversary of ECV to be celebrated on the last Sunday in May.

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Jill Kidger

Sunday 27th

Whitewebbs Park

A month after our last visit, six volunteers (some different) set out to improve the footpath immediately to the west of the King and Tinker. The footpath was quite muddy in places and to avoid the muddy patches people walked off the footpath and so eroded the ground further. Cutting up sections of trees, that had either come down in storms or had been felled for safety reasons, a defining edge for the pathway was created. The muddy areas were then filled with bark chippings (some possibly from last years Christmas trees). Around lunchtime, the heavens opened on us and proved that our plan had worked, although we were then forced to increase the area of bark chippings as the path got muddier in different places!!

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Judy Mayo

MAY

Sunday 11th

Grovelands Park

Along the eastern edge of the park (the Broadwalk side) is a wooded area, and near the edge of that is a footpath winding through that wood. However, due to it’s nature (being shaded) it gets wet and boggy in areas, making it difficult to follow. At these time, people become inventive and either find objects to bridge the wet areas (bricks, logs, planks of wood) or just walking into the woodland around the path, creating either a new path, or widening the existing one. Neither option is very good for the wood or path though. Therefore, over a series of visits we have been putting down a durable surface made up of half-buried ex-railway sleepers to form an edge, with a permeable membrane between, filled with ‘hoggin’ (limestone scalpings). Once punned (using a punner, a long pole with a heavy weight at the end, not a comedian), the surface is quite hard and durable. Hopefully that should make walking along the path a more pleasant experience on those uncommon British damp days… Nine volunteers attended, making light work of the days task.
Robin Herbert

Sunday 25th

Trent Country Park – 20th Anniversary

Enfield Conservation Volunteers had their first task on 22nd May 1988. To celebrate 20 years we met at Trent Country Park, with a session of sycamore clearance in the Nature Trail in the morning, followed by a light buffet and wonderful cake, baked and decorated by Jill Kidger. The Mayor and Mayoress attended – Cll. Lee Chamberlain and his wife, as did some past members who had left the area. An article in the Enfield Independent publicised the work of the group and the achievements of the last 20 years. Here’s to the next 20!

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Christina Lee

JUNE

Sunday 8th

Forty Hall Park

The path between one of the fishing lakes and Turkey Brook is gradually getting eroded by both the action of water and of dogs running into the lakes. One particular point was getting so bad that repairs were necessary to keep the path passable and to avoid the entire lake eventually draining into the brook. Today's project was to create a revetment on the lake, firstly to widen the path, and secondly to remove the obvious entry point for the hounds. The first job was to mix sand and cement and to fill about forty sandbags. These were laid in a line, about six deep, across the entrance to the mini bay. Then road spikes were driven down through them to hold them together and in place. Thereafter the work shifted to filling in the space between the sandbags and the path. Some of the volunteers descended to the bed of the brook, shovelled gravel from the streambed, and filled empty sandbags with it. These bags were emptied into wheelbarrows, and the contents trundled off to be dumped behind the revetment. Eventually the seemingly bottomless pit was filled, and a bit of path surfacing made it look good as new. A second task for the day was to block off a gully, which rainwater and dogs had scored into the brook, again cutting a ditch across the path. More sandbags and gravel filled the top end and the rest was blocked by driving wooden stakes into the ground. Just as the last stake was driven in, a large Alsatian turned up and ran around in confusion for some time before leaping over the barrier and heading down his favourite gully to the stream. At least if he keeps to that route he won't be eroding the path! Ten volunteers attended, and though the work seemed daunting at first, with a bit of organisation it was all finished in good time.

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Steve Mathieson

Sunday 22nd

Whitewebbs Park

9 volunteers attended the regular “cleaning up” of the listed aqueduct as part of the agreement with English Heritage. Vegetation growing on and around the aqueduct needs to be removed as it could damage the brickwork. At this time of year stinging nettles were the main growth and the volunteers wearing short sleeves removed them very carefully. A patch was left furthest away from the brickwork for butterflies to lay their eggs on, so ensuring that the conservation of the aqueduct also allowed for nature conservation. A broken pipe that ran under a nearby footpath was also replaced to allow excess water to drain away without making the path muddy.

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Judy Mayo

JULY

Sunday 6th

Jubilee Park

The conservation area in Jubilee Park consists of rough grassland, planted up with a number of trees, intended to give a mixed habitat to maximize the diversity of flora and fauna in the area. However, as is their wont, the trees had been growing since their planting, and the character of the area was gradually changing towards woodland. While woodland has its own merits, the conservation area is not really big enough for a serious wood, and so remedial action was decided on. Today's undertaking was the removal of one spreading ash in the middle of the plot. Although not tremendously tall, the trunk was stout, and needed the twohandled saw to cut all the way through it. A birdmouth was cut, and eventually the tree was persuaded to topple over in the required direction. Then the serious work began. Four volunteers, including one Friend of Jubilee Park, joined the outreach officer in sawing the tree up into manageable lengths, and carting it off to fill in gaps around the edge of the conservation area. A few of the larger limbs were used as path edging and some woodchip was put down as infill. The main trunk was left where it lay as a beetle habitat, but the main thing noticeable was the amount of light let into the ground. It should be interesting to see if this makes a difference to the ground flora.
Steve Mathieson

Sunday 20th

Forty Hall Park

On a very busy Sunday at Forty Hall, 5 volunteers vied with the archaeologists and an organised walk to make a difference at Forty Hall. The work required was to the fence along the Warren Path that links the Walled Garden with the mile and a quarter south footpath. The fence had become very rickety in places and many sections of rail were missing or replacement posts needed. Using reclaimed material from Whitewebbs, the stretch of path running the length of the walled garden was checked, repaired or replaced as necessary. There is still quite a lot more to do so a return visit will be required.
Judy Mayo

AUGUST

Sunday 3rd

Hilly Fields Park

Later in the year than is usual, the volunteers revisited the yellow Meadow ant habitat in the old orchard. With only five volunteers attending it was not possible to try to extend the area by clearing any trees or even branches, so the work was concentrated on cutting down any new seedlings and knocking back the bramble growth. At times the work on this area seems like three steps forward, three steps back, but the dead ant hills in the surrounding woods show what all the area would have become if ECV hadn't worked on it over the years. Perhaps we will have a few more hands on our next visit and will be able to push back the boundary a bit.

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Steve Mathieson

Sunday 17th

Oakwood Park

An area of grassland in Oakwood Park had been identified by the Habitat Survey Manager of the London Wildlife Trust in 2007 as a special site meriting preservation since its acid soil supported several species of grass adapted to acid growing conditions. Although such grasses are normally grazed low by sheep in a moorland setting, this grass had been left unmown and was 30cm high. On a previous ECV task mature trees shading the grassland had been removed. It had been trampled by the park users and squirrels had buried a great many acorns in it which had germinated freely turning the area back to scrub. Other trees had also seeded there producing scrub. In order to arrest the rapid development of scrub two volunteers cleared the seedling trees by cutting them to ground level. The roots were too well established to remove so inevitably they will regrow alongside the new season's acorns planted by squirrels. It was hoped that the area could be mowed successfully as a result of our clearance. Early mowing would greatly reduce the development of scrub above the small seedling stage. Three other volunteers took down some mature trees to open up an area adjoining the boundary. Sloes and brambles which were encroaching on the open grass were also cut back.
Jill Kidger

Sunday 31st

Forty Hall Park

Today's job was to continue to reduce the incursion of the oak woodland on to the meadow area. As previously, selected oaks around the edge of the new woodland were cut down to ground level and then chopped into pieces to create habitat piles. With six volunteers, progress was not rapid: this is a task which could occupy ECV for some time.
Steve Mathieson

SEPTEMBER

Sunday 14th

Trent Country Park

With the task planned for this weekend having to be cancelled at short notice, Trent Park Nature Trail stepped into the breach with its invasive sycamores. With many of the regular volunteers on holiday, there were only four present, so no winching was attempted. Instead, the stems were cut to three or four feet above ground to facilitate winching out the stumps another time. Then any leaves and side stems were removed with billhooks and loppers. This policy at least prevents the sycamore from being able to set seed, it then being merely a question of whether enough man hours can be put in to keep on top of the vegetative regrowth. Looking around the nature trail, it is clear that in some areas previous battles against the sycamore have been largely successful, whereas in other places the understorey still is mostly sycamore, which will provide plentiful work for future visits.

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Steve Mathieson

Sunday 28th

Tatem Park

This week, and a visit to a frequently seen, but rarely noticed, park near the southern edge of the borough of Enfield. Nestling in the north-east corner of the junction of the A10 and the A406 (Great Cambridge Road and North Circular Road might be more familiar to some), it's passed by many thousands of motorists every day, but no doubt rarely do they realise what a (relative) oasis of calm and beauty lies just a few metres away from them. ECV have been hare a few times before, and each time we continue to make improvements to allow the park to become more accessible to all. This time we were continuing the step making up a steep slope and from that to a little bench, making access easier for those less able to negotiate a slippery slope. A dry day for a change (it has rained upon occasion in the past), 6 volunteers (plus Karen, our guiding leader from the Outreach team of course) attended and made short work of the steps, using local wood and bark chippings to complete a fine set of step that we hope will be there for many years to come.
Robin Herbert

OCTOBER

Sunday 12th

Forty Hall

On a misty Sunday morning (which turned into a beautiful sunny day) we returned to the ponds and Hornbeam at Forty Hall. We had an excellent attendance of 10 volunteers, 3 people from the Froglife charity and 1 youth action volunteer. We split into two groups one of which continued and finished the pollarding of the Hornbeam which was started earlier in the year. The other group tackled clearing the bushes and branches overhanging one pond. The main purpose of this is to allow more light to get to the pond and to stop leaves falling into the water and polluting it. I heard that a common darter dragonfly was already appreciating the increase in light before we left in the afternoon.

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Julie Davenport-Pleasance

Sunday 26th

Trent Country Park

Following one of the wettest periods of the year, 7 volunteers, including one new one, set about the never-ending battle against the sycamore in the Nature Trail. We split into two groups, one cutting back new growth and felling more of the invader whilst the other removed stumps from previously felled trees. This should stop regeneration and give native plants and trees a chance to get a foothold. It had been on the programme to turn some of the felled material into charcoal but the inclement weather meant the wood was far too damp to attempt it. Still there will be other times and plenty of sycamore – in fact the spring and summer sounds a better bet to make charcoal (and possibly try it out).
Judy Mayo

NOVEMBER

Sunday 9th

Tucker’s Field (North Enfield Rec.)

This was a return to the hedge planting which we had done on previous visits to this site. This time the plan was to plant alongside the railings between the footpath and the football pitches. The species provided were hawthorn, blackthorn, hazel, guelder rose, field maple and dog rose, and, although they were in the form of whips, the roots were too big for slot planting, so proper holes had to be dug. At least this had the effect of keeping the workers warm, as a wicked wind was whipping across the field. Spurred on by this boreal flagellation, the six volunteers, who included one newcomer, planted out some two hundred and fifty trees in a double row. The ground conditions here were good, so there are grounds for optimism that this hedge might be a success.
Steve Mathieson

Sunday 23rd

Forty Hall

A snowy night was followed by a bright morning, which attracted nine volunteers to this task near the lower lakes in Forty Hall. Unfortunately, the bright morning lasted just until the work started, when it was superseded by cold and heavy rain lasting until lunchtime. Only somewhat deterred, the volunteers set about the main project, clearing invasive rhododendron from the path between the lakes and Turkey Brook. As the path is narrow here, the cut material had to be dragged some distance to be disposed of as habitat piles in the woods. A second task involved coppicing hazel to obtain heathers and stakes for the following fortnight's hedgelaying competition. Heathers are the bindings used for tying in the top of the hedge, so the object was to find stems as long and straight as possible. With these loaded up and carted away, the crew were more than usually happy to get home for a warm bath.
Steve Mathieson

DECEMBER

Sunday 7th

Enfield Hedgelaying Competition

On a crisp and sunny morning, 7 teams gathered to do battle at the 15th Enfield Hedgelaying Competition, this year held in Trent Country Park. Amongst the competitors were 2 teams from Essex Wildlife Trust, 2 Teams from Epping Forest Conservation Volunteers, a team from Groundforce, a combined team of Groundforce and Epping Forest, and a team from Enfield Conservation Volunteers. As usual the standard was very high, with judging by Bob Phillips, a former winner on occasion. This year, although classed as an expert (whereas most of the others were either proficient or novice), Peter Vaughan was champion, as he worked alone, helped the other teams, and still had the best looking section of hedge. Thanks to everyone who participated, and also those who helped with the clear up on the day and after the event.
Christina Lee

Sunday 14th

Xmas Social

A small elite crew gathered for a walk around Forty Hall, taking in some of our past tasks, through to Myddleton House where we picked up another member. Having strolled around the grounds and looked at the greenery on offer, we proceeded to the Pied Bull, for pleasant food and enlightening conversation. Looking forward to the tasks in the New Year,
Christina Lee