Previous Tasks‎ > ‎

January to December 2009

JANUARY 2009

Sunday 11th

Forty Hall Park

The first task of the New Year saw 9 volunteers, including one new member, at the frozen Crater Pond in Forty Hall. The task was to improve the environment of the pond by removing the overhanging trees. This will improve the quality of the pond by allowing more light in, prevent the bottom silting up with rotting leaves that also pollute the water and hopefully allow the pond to retain more water. Although we had hoped also to remove the logs already in the pond, the risk of the ice breaking prevented anyone going on the “water”. The large overhanging trees which surrounded the original banks of the pond (it has been many years since the water reached anywhere near these) were cut down and many dead elm trees on the top of the bank were removed allowing much more light in. Come the spring the wildlife in the pond will flourish again, and the trees will sprout anew but will not create shade.

11th January 2009 - Forty Hall Park

Judy Mayo

Sunday 25th

Tuckers Field (North Enfield Rec.)

The Friends of Tuckers Field secured funding for hedge-planting, which we started in the Autumn.  We didn’t manage to get them all in then, so we finished planting the whips and a few small trees.  We even had articles in the local papers – The Enfield Advertiser and The Enfield Gazette (ECV in the News)!
Anon

FEBRUARY

Sunday 8th

Forty Hall

The Mayor’s Fun Run prevented our last scheduled visit to this sunny bank on 1¼ north footpath, so we continued the clearance to encourage the cowslips and other spring flowers.  With snow on the groun and crisp conditions, nine volunteers worked at the clearance of mile and a quarter north footpath.  South facing, this venue turned into a lovely picnic spot when the sun came out.  Straggling blackthorn and old wild roses twining together were cut back and burnt while old dead logs piled for wildlife accommodation.
Lots of joggers and dog walkers appreciated the clearance programme.

8th February 2009, Forth Hall Park

Jill Kidger

Sunday 22nd

Grovelands Park

A change of task was necessary this Sunday: our scheduled work on the island was cancelled when the boat was found to be unseaworthy. Instead the group did some holly clearance in the woods near the maintenance yard.
While holly does have some value for wildlife, in certain situations it can be very invasive. These woods were a typical case, where the canopy consisted of native broadleaf trees, but hte understorey was entirely a dense tangle of holly. This means that no other shrubs can establish there, and the forest floor is virtually bare of herbaceous and annual plants. Furthermore it would mean that, when the mature trees eventually died, there would be no seedlings growing up to replace them.
Ten volunteers, including one new member, set about cutting back the holly stems and branches, and stacking them in habitat piles. It would be neither practicable nor desirable to remove all the holly, so the crowns were lifted on the larger specimens. A good area was cleared in this way, and with the canopy not yet in leaf, there was a striking difference in the light level in the woods when the day was finished.
Steve Mathieson

MARCH

Sunday 8th  

Pymmes Park

Since the previous fortnight a Grovelands, another boat had been found, so the work on the larger island at Pymmes Park was able to proceed.
The vegetation on the island is an unusual mixture of plantings and self-set trees and shrubs. The general intention is gradually to introduce more native plants with their associated wildlife benefits. Today’s task was mainly to clear sycamore and Norway maple. Previous visits by ECV had concentrated on the super -invasive sycamore, and clearly the work had been quite effective, as there wasn't too much left. However, the Norway maple had happily taken its chance, and grown up vigorously. Many of these were cut down and snedded, and habitat piles dotted around the island. Some of the material was used to create dead hedges on the banks to impede Canada goose encroachment. Finally, some whips of hawthorn and rowan were planted to replace the felled trees.
In addition to the two outreach officers, there were five volunteers, including one first-timer, who all had an enjoyable and productive day.
Steve Mathieson

Sunday 22nd 

Oakwood Park

Extended the area available to the acid grassland was the task for the day. Six volunteers attended on what was a pleasant sunny day. We have visited this site before, slowly but surely pushing back the boundaries of scrub to allow the acid grassland (which is quite rare in this part of the world, and supports it’s own variety’s of flora and fauna) to expand. Whilst we where there, we spotted a couple of butterflies; a green/yellow one and a browny/red one. I’m sorry, not too good on butterfly spotting! Pictures of one of them will be shown below, if viewing this on the website.
We have now greatly expanded the area available, and now hope that more unique flora and fauna will be encouraged to populate the area.
Robin Herbert

APRIL

Sunday 5th

Trent Country Park

Today the battle with the invasive sycamore continued. An area by the ditch had been largely cleared a few years back, but the re-colonisation had proceeded apace. A few trees had reached seed-bearing age, and these were felled as a priority. In addition, regrowth from old stumps was cut off using billhooks, loppers and bowsaws.
Eight workers attended, including three first-time volunteers. A considerable area was cleared to give other flora a chance to establish itself, and although much more work is required,it can be seen that the sycamores are gradually becoming more sparse in these woods.

Picasa Web Slideshow

Steve Mathieson

Sunday 19th

Grovelands Park

The Friends of Grovelands secured funding from the Council’s Friends of Parks fund to continue the boardwalk.  With our previous experience, we hoped to be helping them to install it, but problems with getting the materials meant we had to cancel this task.
Anon

MAY

Sunday 3rd 

Trent Country Park

Seven volunteers made a return visit to the diminishing patch of rhododendron at Shaws Wood near the bridleway. Leaving a boundary barrier of the plant (some of which was just coming into flower), a large thicket of rhododendron mixed with very vicious bramble was removed. This was piled on top of previously cut material to ensure that it cannot re-root. Where re-growth had occurred from previous visits, this was cut off to weaken the plant and where possible roots grubbed up the hard way with a mattock. ECV do realise that many people find the rhododendron attractive, but as well as not being native they are now found to be a host for a disease which attacks our English oaks. I know which I’d rather see in Trent Country Park!

Picasa Web Slideshow

Judy Mayo

Sunday 17th

Forty Hall

Six volunteers (and a dog!) made a return visit to the Warren Footpath behind the walled garden. We continued the work started on a previous visit to replace or repair missing sections of the fencing that forms part of the boundary with Forty Hall Farm. The programme had advertised this as being necessary to keep the pigs and sheep at bay but all that confronted us was the new Enfield Vineyard!! Many of the posts holding up the fence had rotted at ground level, so new posts were put in and the stockproof wire mesh stapled back in place. Where sections of the fence had “gone missing” these were replaced using a mixture of new and old recycled material from other sections. Waste not, want not was the motto of the day.  We will keep a close eye on the fencing to make sure those grapes don’t escape!!!

Picasa Web Slideshow

Judy Mayo

Sunday 31st

Grovelands Park

This task (which had been carried forward from 19th April, when the timber had not arrived) was the continuation of a boardwalk which runs along a path at the bottom of the woods. In wet weather, particularly in winter, the path becomes extremely boggy, and the boardwalk gives a passageway in all conditions.
The work involved bedding railway sleepers along the path and nailing planks across them. Progress was slowed by the base of a concrete wall which crossed the path, and which had to be chipped away to accommodate the sleepers. In addition, the planks had to be cut to length in the yard and then barrowed down through the woods to the construction site.  A ditch under the boardwalk was deepened, filled with hardcore and re-covered, with the intention of further improving the drainage.
Ten volunteers, including a few locals lending a hand, worked on the project, and a particularly muddy stretch was successfully spanned.
Steve Mathieson

JUNE

Sunday 14th

Whitewebbs Park

It was time for the annual clearance of the vegetation growing on and around the aqueduct, an English Heritage site. As usual, the weather here was really.....

Picasa Web Slideshow

Anon

Sunday 28th

Whitewebbs Park

More fencing – some removal of the self seeded ash, so that the fence and views are retained.
5 volunteers plus a passing visit by the Friends of Forty Hall Chair, took out large ash saplings from the double fence and stacked them for later collection.  3 of us worked at removing decayed fencing, detaching stock wire, driving in new posts and re-using rails as required, and replacing wire.
Sunny humid conditions prevailed and horseflies enjoyed our company, as well as butterflies, attracted to the bank we have previously cleared of scrub.  More work is needed to keep the verge a sunny haven for flowers and wildlife.
Jill Kidger

JULY

Sunday 12th

Hilly Fields Park

Nine volunteers attended this task in Hilly Fields that has to be done regularly. Split into two groups, three started the day by repairing a sleeper bridge that had become unsafe. The remaining six volunteers returned to the area where there is a colony of yellow meadow ants. The ants need the sun’s rays to warm the large anthills and so the group are continually visiting the site to clear the area of silver birch saplings and bramble to allow the light in. It was a very sunny day, so whilst the ants were benefiting from our work, the volunteers started to wilt in the summer heat. After lunch, the other three having finished their bridge, rejoined the main group and a few larger trees on the edge of the colony were cut down, to allow the colony to spread and build new homes.

Picasa Web Slideshow

Judy Mayo

Sunday 26th

Oakwood Park

The acid grassland is gradually expanding and today we will be continuing the good work. Regrettably cancelled due to ill health.
Anon

AUGUST

Sunday 9th 

Pymmes Park

This visit to the island in Pymmes Park followed on from our task on 8th march. The nesting season now being pretty much finished, it was now safe to cut some more trees down. Thematic targets were sycamore and Norway maple, which had survived our depredations earlier in the year. Once again, trees of various sizes wee cut down with bowsaws, and sneddded with billhooks and loppers, before being stacked in habitat piles. In order to assist re-colonisation by more beneficial flora, further stretch of dead hedge was constructed using the felled material. This should reduce the trampling by Canada geese, several of whose addled eggs were found on the island. Five volunteers managed to make a considerable difference to the tree cover on the island, but several more visits will be needed before the regrowth can be left to its own devices.
Steve Mathieson

Sunday 23rd 

Trent Country Park

More work in the Nature Trail, improving this version of the park in microcosm.
Robin Herbert

SEPTEMBER

Sunday 6th & 20th

Forty Hall

Two consecutive visits were made to the Mile and Quarter South footpath. On the first occasion seven volunteers cleared the self seeded ash saplings and felled larger trees which were growing between the two boundary fences of the footpath and the fields of Forty Hall Farm. Not only was the view across the fields hidden, but also the trees were shading the footpath, thus preventing the sun from drying it out following rain. We were amazed at how many people used the path and most had nothing but thanks for the work we were doing. At the end of the day even the flock of sheep in the field came to inspect our work.
A reduced crew of five (and a dog!) made the return visit but the chief job this time was to replace or repair missing sections of the fencing. Many of the posts holding up the fence had rotted at ground level, so some new posts were put in or strengthened. Some sections of the fence railing had “gone missing” or rotted and these were replaced using a mixture of new and old recycled material from other sections and finally the stockproof wire mesh stapled back in place. ECV always recycle material where we can.

Picasa Web Slideshow

 

Picasa Web Slideshow

Judy Mayo

OCTOBER

Sunday 4th  

Trent Country Park Nature Trail

Eleven volunteers attended this task to continue the fight against the sycamore in the Nature Trail. With such a large number a lot of progress was made. A group of largish trees was felled to open up a new gap in the canopy, and elsewhere re-sprouting stumps were stripped bare of shoots and leaves. Although our trips to this site always provide us with plenty more sycamore to clear, there are now several expanses where a different flora is establishing itself. And a large bonfire testified to the bulk felled today.

Picasa Web Slideshow

Steve Mathieson

Sunday 18th

Trent Country Park

Many years have passed since ECV last worked on the pond immediately to the right of the Cockfosters entrance. Although the pond appeared to have quite bit of water in it, it soon became clear that much of the apparent depth was made up of silt and decaying leaves. On a beautiful sunny autumn day, 12 volunteers (including one new member) accompanied by the “famous” dog worked to reduce the number of trees which cast shade (and their leaves) over the pond. The results of this felling were piled up to (a) create a temporary “people” barrier to allow new groundcover plants and seedlings to establish and take advantage of the light next spring and (b) to provide wildlife habitat piles for insects, amphibians and small animals to overwinter. Finally, an underground hibernaculum was constructed for those toads which prefer purpose built homes. See instructions below for those who would like to bulid their own: http://www.rspb.org.uk/advice/gardening/reptiles_amphibians/hibernacula.asp
Judy Mayo

NOVEMBER

Sunday 1st   

Forty Hall

We are gradually removing the oak that has invaded the Great Field. We will be continuing this, to retain the meadow, as the grassland is an important site for conservation.
Due to the awful weather, it was deemed too dangerous to work, so the 4 volunteers who hadn’t been able to be reached, were given the day off.
Anon

Sunday 8th 

Enfield 16th Annual Hedgelaying Competition

12 competitors took part, making 8 teams from local Enfield groups Enfield Conservation Volunteers & Groundforce Countryside Conservation Volunteers, and outside borough groups Roding Valley Volunteers & Countryside Management Service and individuals.  The hedge was a boundary hawthorn hedge between Trent Country Park and Trent Park Golf Club.  Each team was allocated approximately 8 yards of hedge, to lay to a sheep proof standard, using only hand tools.  Sections of the hedge had been laid in previous years, starting in 1998, which had grown well.  As the trees were now older than when laying first began, the work proved more difficult, and of the 8 teams, only 4 were able to finish. (The rest of the sections were completed by Groundforce Countryside Volunteers on Wednesday & Thursday.)  The winner was previous champion, Peter Vaughan from Roding Valley Volunteers.  He received a small trophy, and all competitors received a certificate in recognition of their involvement.
Materials used for stakes and bindings (heathers) used to keep the hedge stable, were cut and collected by the Groundforce Volunteers in the previous 2 weeks from Trent Park and Brook Wood on the Ridgeway.

Picasa Web Slideshow

Anon

Sunday 15th  

Houndsden Spinney

ECV makes periodical visits to this small area in Winchmore Hill for maintenance and habitat improvement. Today the steps and boardwalk we had constructed previously were in good condition, so the volunteers concentrated on clearing sycamores from the woods. Sycamore are of little value for wildlife and are very invasive, and by felling them, light is let into the forest floor to allow woodland plants to flourish. Ideally the trees which eventually replace the sycamores will be descendants of the native trees already present in the woods. However, for this to happen, a continuous process of felling is necessary.
Two people working with ECV for the first time raised the attendance to seven, and by the end of the day the area by the stream in particular was looking noticeably lighter.
Steve Mathieson

Sunday 29th  

Forty Hall

With advice from the charity Froglife, we will be carrying out some pond work including creating a hibernacular!.
Anon

DECEMBER

Sunday  13th

CHRISTMAS SOCIAL

With the aid of the Parks Outreach minibus, we ventured out of the borough, to Cheshunt in the Lee Valley, to walk up the River Lee for lunch in the Crown Pub at Broxbourne.  A pleasant stroll on the way up, with a brief stop for mince pies and chocolate biscuits.  The return was unfortunately marred in the final stretch by the onset of rain!  However, an enjoyable time was had by all and we all look forward to our physical exertions in the New Year, to work off all the festive grub.
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