Previous Tasks‎ > ‎

January to December 2010

JANUARY 2010

Sunday 10th

Trent Country Park

We always have work to do in the Nature Trail in Trent, more sycamore to work on, and perhaps charcoal making in the yard. Due to the unseasonal weather – (it snowed!) we had to cancel this task. It gave us all an opportunity to enjoy the festive break a little longer.

Sunday 24th

Forty Hall Park

Our first outing since the great snows over Christmas and New Year. In overcast, muddy but dry conditions, 8 volunteers undertook clearance of sprawling rhododendron scrub and sycamore in woodland beside the path between Forty Hall and Mile and a Quarter Footpath. 2 new enthusiastic members took part. Sadly there was no room to burn our cuttings, so it was left in piles suitable for wildlife habitats. Most of us had missed our regular sessions and were glad to resume work and in some cases attempt to get fitter!
Jill Kidger

FEBRUARY

Sunday 7th

Pymmes Park

Today’s project was to continue the work on the island in the lake in Pymmes Park. Only two volunteers were available for this task, but together with the LBE Outreach Officer, it was decided to row to the island and see what progress could be made. The main purpose of the visit was to continue felling the invasive sycamore and Norway maple, in order to allow a more varied flora to appear. A number of small to medium sized trees were cut down, and there was even time to use the branches to extend the dead hedge which had been started on an earlier visit. In addition, a platform for ducks, which had been made by the Friends of Pymmes Park, was strategically installed. This was an exclusive and secluded operation, which I am sure will be enjoyed by more people on our next visit.
Steve Mathieson

Sunday 21st

Alma Road Allotments

ECV always keen to visit new sites, answered a call for help from the allotment holders at Alma Road. An area at the far corner of the allotments is to be turned into a wildlife haven. Part of the ground had already been cleared to enable a native hedge to be planted. To ensure the young tree whips get the best start, they were planted through a membrane designed to stop competing weed seeds from germinating. Some wild flower seeds and plants were added to hopefully form a meadow in the future. One thing the whips and plants did not need was watering in as the task had largely been carried out on one of the wettest days of the year. Ten volunteers and three allotment holders took part and ECV look forward to making a return visit later in the year.
Judy Mayo

MARCH

Sunday 7th

Oakwood Park

Hopefully Karen is back on her feet and we will be able to continue our work on the rediscovered acid grassland, carrying out scrub clearance.
Unfortunately Karen was still on restricted duties, so the work here will have to be postponed until another time.

Sunday 21st

Trent Country Park

Today the team continued with the clearance of Rhododendron in Shaws Wood. In areas of the woodland this invasive species has attempted to monopolise the under storey, and while quite attractive in itself, it has minimal value for wildlife, and suppresses regeneration at all levels: ground flora, shrub layer and future canopy.
Nine volunteers cut down the tangled branches and, where possible, yanked the roots out of the ground, before throwing the wood on a mighty bonfire. After rhododendron is cleared it takes some time for the ground to be ready to support other species, but at least now the native flora can see the light.
Steve Mathieson

APRIL

Sunday 11th

Forty Hall

A continuation of the repairs to the fencing behind the walled garden in Forty Hall. Although only 4 volunteers were working that day, fencing is a suitable task for small numbers as all can have a role. Much of the repair work was needed because the upright posts had rotted at ground level, so where necessary these were replaced and the rails either replaced or renewed.
Judy Mayo

Sunday 25th

Whitewebbs Park

We carried out some fencing near the ornamental pond a couple of years ago, but more needs to be done. Behind the ornamental lake at Whitewebbs there is an area of shrubbery which would benefit from protection from intrusion by dogs and people. Although only three volunteers turned up to this task, the post and rail fence begun last year was extended to block all easily accessible places on the shrub line.
Steve Mathieson

MAY

Sunday 9th

Trent Country Park

Five volunteers returned to the nature trail to continue the struggle against sycamore. While some larger trees were felled, the major part of today’s work consisted of cutting off new shoots from previously felled trees. This tactic clearly has some success, as tracts of the wood are now filled with forlorn looking sycamore stumps with little or no regrowth: an unattractive scene, but a necessary stage on the road to native woodland. The Nature Trail management continues. We will be carrying out any general tasks, including some sycamore treatment.
Steve Mathieson

Sunday 23rd

Whitewebbs Park

On a very hot day, 7 volunteers met to do fencing repairs on what seemed to be the only stretch of the Mile and a Quarter footpath without any shade! The area concerned was at the concrete bridge junction where the footpath splits to go either to Forty Hall or Whitewebbs. As the ground was rock hard, water from the brook was used to try to make the inserting the new fence posts easier. As an indication of how dry the ground truly was, the water did not completely drain away meaning muddy volunteers when the posts were driven in! There was very little existing fencing material that could be recycled so a complete new stretch was erected and the stock proof wire reattached. No matter how many visits ECV make there is always some fencing that needs replacing. It is our version of painting the Forth Bridge!

ECV 23 May 2010


Judy Mayo

JUNE

Sunday 6th

Trent Country Park

The task was to build a chicane barrier to prevent horses from entering the footpath next to the entrance to the equestrian centre, and exiting onto the Enfield Road. A strong barrier was constructed from recycled materials by nine volunteers. The sloping ground was levelled to allow easy passage of cycles, wheelchairs and buggies. Additional work to replace the guardrail (which had collapsed) on the sleeper footbridge was also achieved with recycled wood from nearby. The weather conditions were cool and breezy and remained dry for the whole task.
Jill Kidger

Sunday 20th

Whitewebbs Park

The aqueduct at Flash Lane is a listed structure with English Heritage, so we have to look after it. This means removing any vegetation and keeping the brook flowing underneath, which we ably do each year, taking care not to scare the horses on the adjacent bridleway.

ECV 20 June 2010


Christina Lee

JULY

Sunday 4th

Forty Hall

Today’s project was fence repairs on the Warren Path, a footpath that runs from the back of the walled garden at Forty Hall, down to the Goughs Park footpath. The post and rail fence that divides the path from farmland was getting very dilapidated in places, so the six volunteers, using a combination of new and recycled timber, fence posts, rails, wire mesh and ingenuity effected repairs wherever they seemed most urgent.. A continuous, if slightly eccentric, barrier is now in place.
Steve Mathieson

Sunday 18th

Hilly Fields ant meadow

7 volunteers turned up to clear the Hilly fields ant meadow of overshadowing vegetation to allow the sun to shine on the ant hills which allows the heat to keep the ants flourishing. This is a picture of a similar area in Kent. The hills are made by the ants, which are small and reddish/yellow. They like the sun so overshadowing trees and brambles keep the area cool and the ants move on. We spent the day lopping trees and clearing dense vegetation back to encourage new ant hills to be made in the sun.
The area looks unusual and attracts people who like to party as they use the hills to sit on and build large fires, also they drink a lot of alcohol. We gathered up 3 black sacks of beer tins and vodka bottles from the area. We had a great time (without the need of beer or vodka) and will return in the next 18 months to keep clearing more vegetation.
Mark Judge ECV volunteer

AUGUST

Sunday 1st

Jubilee Park

6 volunteers turned up but installation of preformed pond was abandoned when Friends of Jubilee Park complained about the size, despite having been given measurements beforehand.

Sunday 15th

Whitewebbs Park

Six volunteers met at the Whitewebbs Lane entrance to the Mile and a Quarter footpath. Earlier clearing visits had started from the southern end of this path, but it had been decided that a two-pronged attack would be preferable as otherwise the shading trees at the northern end would get too big for ECV to deal with. Between the two lines of fencing separating the footpath from the fields, the hawthorn had got very overgrown and several self sown ash trees were flourishing. Although it was a fairly warm day, a bonfire was the chosen method of disposing of the spoil cut down. Light soon flooded back to the bank side, where hopefully wild flowers will flourish next spring, having had the benefits of the impromptu potash feed.
Judy Mayo

SEPTEMBER

Sunday 5th

‘Vicarage Farm’ footpath (now christened “Merryhills Way”)

Dave Cockle of the Western Enfield Residents Association and the Enfield Society gave us assistance in making the soon to be open Right of Way across from the Ridgeway to Trent Park more accessible. There is a particularly muddy patch which we worked on improving the drainage by digging a ditch, laying a pipe and surfacing with brickwork and stones scavenged from on site. Some cutting back was also carried out, and a recce. of what needed doing in the future. Dave was really pleased with the results and further work will be carried out by our sister midweek group Groundforce, and if there is still work to do, in our next programme.

ECV 05 September 2010


Christina Lee

Sunday 19th

Grovelands Park

Rather like the fence around the Nature Trail at Trent Park, we keep extending the boardwalk in Grovelands Park. Each time we extend it to cover a muddy patch, the ground at either end becomes muddy. However, we're getting quite good at it now, so between 8 ECVers and 5 Friends of Grovelands (who had obtained the funding for the materials and just needed our help to construct it) and ably led by Karen, we completed two lengths of boardwalk - 7 meters in all. This involved digging out shallow channels for stringers (no bearers) to go in, cutting up long planks into 90cm lengths and nailing them to the stringers. We considered putting wire mesh (chicken wire) over the surface, but the risk of slipping on wet steel or worse tripping on loose or pulled loops presents a greater risk than simply slipping on wet/muddy wood. We only completed half of what we would have liked to be completed (and had material to do so), so no doubt the Friends would like us to return soon.
Robin Herbert

OCTOBER

Sunday 3rd

Trent Country Park

Another day in the Nature Trail, and while, as usual, we were concentrating on the battle against sycamore, today a new enemy reared its head, of which more anon. The day was notable for a turnout of twelve volunteers, five of whom were making their debuts with ECV. Nine people set about the sycamore, a few large trees being felled and sneddded, and many stumps being shorn of their regrowth. The other three turned their attention to the new invader: Japanese Knotweed! This rapidly spreading species, feared and detested in town and countryside alike, will not invade mature woodland, but since the clearance of sycamore scrub there has not been time for a native canopy to establish itself, and two patches of knotweed have appeared in clearings. In this country Japanese knotweed does not reproduce by seed, but can regenerate from the tiniest fragment of root or stem, and it had somehow snook into two sites in the middle of the woods. Normally Japanese Knotweed is attacked by repeated blasting with a translocated weedkiller, such as glyphosate, but ECV want to try to manage the nature trail without chemicals, so manual clearance was instigated.. The stems were cut to ground level and then burnt with other spoil on top of the roots. This will undoubtedly have to be repeated often and monitored carefully – but then, we weren’t nearly finished in the nature trail, anyway.
Steve Mathieson

Sunday 17th

Pymmes Park

On a lovely sunny day seven volunteers and two Friends of Pymmes Park opened up the large copse near the football pitches. The copse had been planted quite a few years ago and is made up of native shrubs and trees. However, the outer circle of blackthorn had formed an impenetrable barrier, This prevented the removal of accumulated litter which had blown into the copse. The cutting back of “doorways” and corridors through the blackthorn to allow access soon opened up the interior of the area, allowing light to reach the centre which can only be of benefit to the plants there too. The litter was removed and the blackthorn spoil was trimmed and formed into habitat piles within the copse.
Judy Mayo

Sunday 31st

Alma Road Allotments

ECV kept their promise and made a return visit to the allotments at Alma Road. Back in February in pouring rain, two stretches of native tree whips had been planted and were in need of some TLC. Again the weather was wet and 5 volunteers and 2 allotment holders met to do just that. Whilst some people cleared a lot of fly tipped material from the site, the remainder set about removing the grass around the whips which competed for the (abundant) water. The general consensus was that the majority of trees had taken and were thriving. Those that had died were replaced with small container grown trees, mainly grown by Andrew from the allotments. After lunch (well supplemented by tasty treats again supplied by Andrew) a path was cut through the bramble and briars in the central copse to form a circular walk around the nature reserve.
Judy Mayo

NOVEMBER

Sunday 14th

Trent Country Park

Today the volunteers returned to Shaw’s Wood to continue to remove the rhododendron which was threatening to smother the woods. Although attractive, rhododendron is an introduced species with little value for wildlife, and is so aggressive in its colonisation that it can effectively destroy ecosystems which it invades. After several visits to these woods, the volunteers are no longer faced with a daunting wall of evergreen foliage, and can concentrate on areas that still have a vigorous rhododendron population. Today the group picked a spot where many of the shrubs had been cleared previously but the dead stems and roots had been left stacked up. Another feature of rhododendron (at least in British conditions) is that the leaves and wood take an age to rot down, so a few of the volunteers started a bonfire. The damp conditions made it hard to get the fire established, but, once ablaze, the oily rhododendron roared away ferociously. With nine volunteers, including one first-timer, there were plenty to feed the flames, even while cutting down and grubbing up the living bushes. When the day’s work was finished, another section of the wood was ready to begin its slow recovery to a natural flora.

ECV 14 November 2010


Steve Mathieson

Sunday 28th

Tile Kiln Lane Open Space

A community “Big Tidy Up“ project saw six volunteers join locals including a councillor and the police in opening up this small green space bordering the Great Cambridge Road in Edmonton. Some old elm trees had been partially cut down previously and ECV members reduced them to ground level and then removed others to make the pathway through the area less intimidating. The arrival of the press in the form of a photographer from the Independent was the only thing which interrupted ECV from their objective. The group would like to thank the local community for the “luxury” of padded seats and the supply of hot drinks which were provided. They were appreciated and we hope our work was too.
Judy Mayo

DECEMBER

Sunday 5th

Enfield Hedgelaying Competition

A selection of Friends of Bush Hill Park came along to see this ancient country skill in action, as they were really pleased to be hosts of the annual hedgelaying competition. The hedge in the wildlife area in Bush Hill Park was perfect for laying, although the distribution of species left a little to be desired – blocks of blackthorn, guelder rose, hawthorn, field maple and hazel. 4 teams participated (with 3 pairs and a single), three of whom were visitors from outside the borough. Bob Phillips of ECV and former champion judged and Alan Brett from Ongar was declared the winner, but it was very close with only a few points between all the teams. Homemade soup was provided with tea, coffee and biscuits. Being an urban park, we weren’t able to have a fire, so the 4 kind helpers from ECV dragged the material to the outskirts, laying it neatly for the chipper to be employed later in the week, which it was, so you wouldn’t know we’d been there, apart from a neatly laid hedge. As there was still one section to complete, ECV will be back in the New Year to finish it off.

ECV 05 December 2010


Christina Lee

Sunday 12th

CHRISTMAS SOCIAL

10 braved the chill for a festive Lee Valley Ranger led walk at Gunpowder Park and pub lunch at the Plough on Sewardstone Road. Most enjoyable and educational.

ECV 12 December 2010