Previous Tasks‎ > ‎

January to December 2012

January 2012

Sunday 8th

Forty Hall

Today ECV returned to the Crater Pond at the top of the hill near Forty Hall Farm. After the dry winter, the water level was lower than it had been on any previous visit, but mud wasn’t missing in the middle of the mere, so the centre of the pond was no more accessible than usual. It was suggested that the logs in the water might be habitats for great crested newts, so, with some reservations (allowing a build up of debris might lead to a complete loss of the pool) the volunteers restricted themselves to cutting back surrounding vegetation.

Five ECV volunteers, plus one Friend of Forty Hall and one dog, slipped and slid their way through this task.
Steve Mathieson

Sunday 22nd

Oakwood Park

Today's task had last been visited in 1991 when existing members of the group had fashioned habitats at each corner of the boating lake and created a brick enclosure in the centre.  The task today involved pruning and clearing the 4 habitats, making sure to leave some grasses with seeds for birds to feed from, removing litter from the lake and pruning back the dense undergrowth on the island to encourage nesting of waterfowl again.

Boating lakes attract rubbish and we managed to remove several sacks of debris including a tyre, a computer monitor and an assortment of clothing (none of it fit to salvage due to the fact it stank!).

New waders were elegantly but manfully fashioned by Simon and new elbow length gloves by Steve our latest ECV male models for the most up to date outdoor waterproof gear. No leaks were reported.

A young swan kept us company.

In the afternoon we cleared small sprouts of saplings and rubbish from an area of acid grass on the other side of the park which would otherwise be endangered if the saplings and bramble were allowed to grow. We also chatted a lot and had a laugh. We trust the council will run a mower over the grass this year to encourage further growth.

ECV 22 January 2012


Mark Judge

February

Sunday 5th

Trent Country Park

Cancelled due to snow!

Sunday 19th

Whitewebbs Park, Mile and a Quarter Footpath

The south-facing bank of the old course of the New River is ideal for sun-loving ground flora, provided it can be kept clear of scrub and shade. The two main obstacles to this are the hawthorn and rose springing up on the bank, and the trees, particularly ash, growing tall along the fence line. ECV and its sister group, Groundforce, have made it a project to gradually open up sections of the bank. On each stretch a patch of ground is sacrificed to a bonfire, re-used on subsequent visits, and almost as much effort goes into feeding the flames as cutting back the vegetation.
 
Today six volunteers and a dog hacked and sawed their way through trees and bushes to make a bit more room for primroses and cowslips.
Steve Mathieson

March

Sunday 4th

Trent Park: Water Gardens

In increasingly heavy downpours 3 volunteers planted 40 dwarf evergreen azaleas along both sides of the ‘azalea walk’ path.  Luckily holes had been prepared in advance (the weather providing the plants with water at the roots) and the job was done by early afternoon.

One volunteer drove the Landrover to and from the site……the shape of things to come???

Council staff reorganisation has just occurred at the Civic and we now have a new Partnership and Projects Manager, James Downing, who replaces Shirley Scott.  We expect to invite him to a future task.
Jill Kidger 

Sunday 18th

Trent Park: Nature Trail

Four volunteers turned up to continue the seemingly never-ending sycamore removal. Whilst two of the group concentrated on cutting back regrowth in the more bramble infested areas, the others went about the hard work of removing some more of the stumps left from our previous felling exploits. This was not easy due to the dry compact earth which firmly held onto the deep tap roots and the old stumps being rotten and breaking up. Although around half a dozen were removed there remain an awful lot more to do.
Judy Mayo

April

Sunday 1st

Conway Recreation Ground

Karen Chang had introduced the idea of ECV assisting the Friends of Conway Rec and arranged for precut compost bin slats and additional support posts to be delivered. SM fetched and returned the tools in the Land Rover from Trent.  In glorious summer weather six volunteers helped Ilona and her team of Friends to assemble and positiion two compost bins.  Work was also carried out on a patch of bramble-infested ground between the road and a tennis court in preparation for planting of native shrubs to encourage wildlife...notably willow, guelder rose, blackthorn. A return visit was agreed for the next phase of tasks.

ECV 1 April 2012

 
Jill Kidger

Sunday 15th

Hillyfields

See Sunday 13th May below.
Judy Mayo

Sunday 29th

Trent Country Park, Water Gardens

Cancelled, for safety reasons. (Severe storms and flooding: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17884961.) We tried again (successfully!) on June 10th, see below.

May

Sunday 13th

Hillyfields

The volunteers made 2 visits to the site of the yellow meadow ants which is in the north east corner of Hilly Fields. In April, 5 volunteers trimmed the fresh growth of silver birch around the large ant mounds and where possible pulled up the encroaching bramble which threatens to overrun the meadow grassland the ants need to survive. On that day the group agreed that the large trees surrounding the meadow were casting large shadows over the area which would reduce the sunshine reaching the mounds which the ants need to survive, so it was decided to make a return visit.
On 13th May which turned out to be a beautiful sunny day following weeks of downpours, 5 volunteers removed some large overhanging branches from the larger oaks which are nearest to the ant hills. Unfortunately the main problem is the height of the trees which ECV are not in a position to remedy but if we can open up the area, even a little, the ants might still continue to reside there and make this a unique little spot.

ECV 13 May 2012

Judy Mayo

Sunday 27th

Forty Hall / Warren Path

Repairs to the post and rail fence that divides farmland from the Warren Path footpath that runs from the back of the walled garden at Forty Hall.

Michael, Simon, Judy, Mark and Steve turned up with kit and Land Rover to continue the repairs of the path. This area is regularly visited and will be again visited in one months time.  9 fence posts were replaced and numerous cross beams cut and polished into shape. We were attended by several cows and a displaced baby crow that watched us from the safety of the other side of the fence. We hoped it would get the hang of flying before nightfall.

ECV 27 May 2012

Mark Judge

June

Sunday 10th

Trent Country Park

On the path from the cafeteria to the lakes, near the bottom of the Nature Trail, a ditch crosses the track before draining away alongside the farmer's field. The pipework which culveted the path had long been blocked, and over time the pathway was becoming more and more flooded after rainfall. Five railway sleepers lay nearby, half-hidden in the grass, a relic of a previous plan to span the ditch, and ECV undertook to use these for a bridge. A previous date on 29th April was rained off, and finally the job began today.

One of the sleepers was sawn in half for bearers, while the ditch was deepened and widened to give a good flow under the bridge. The bearers were dug into place, and the other four sleepers laid across them and nailed down. The construction was staked in place, and stock fencing stapled to the top to give grip when conditions become slimy. Finally, earth ramps were made to reduce the step to the bridge.

Six volunteers admired their handiwork in unseasonably fine weather, but that night the heavens opened to put it to the test. An inspection a few days later confirmed the bridge could handle most things the weather would throw at it.

ECV 10 June 2012

Steve Mathieson

Sunday 24th

Forty Hall / Warren Path

A return visit to the Warren Path to complete the repairs to the fence following the previous visit on 27th May. Seven volunteers, including 3 newcomers, slipped and skidded along the very muddy path to its junction with the Gough Park footpath, this being the furthest point from Forty Hall. More fun ensued as Forty Hall Farm, who had been “minding” the posts and rails for us had decided to “hide” (protect) them in a barn. So the construction work didn’t really start until nearly lunchtime. As is usual, more replacement posts were needed to replace those which had rotted at ground level and where possible rails were recycled. Finally the stock proof wire was reattached to prevent animals getting into or out of the farm’s fields.
Judy Mayo

July

Sunday 8th

North Enfield Recreation Ground/Tucker's Field

A swave cut through the long grass at the northern end of Tuckers Field becomes very boggy in places when wet. The Council Parks department decided to use woodchips made following tree work in the borough to form a path, and asked ECV to lay it for them. It was touch and go in the week leading up to the Sunday of the task whether the wood chippings could actually be delivered to the site due to heavy rain. Four volunteers barrowed and spread the material, paying particular attention to the puddle areas. Unfortunately there was only enough chippings to complete three quarters of the pathway. It was agreed that park staff would complete the remaining quarter once more material was available. [It was subsequently delivered but placement leaves a lot to be desired!]

ECV 08 July 2012

Judy Mayo

Sunday 22nd

Trent Country Park

Today five volunteers worked in a section of the Nature Trail which had not been visited for some time. The area immediately opposite the wildlife rescue centre cafe had all its sycamores felled fifteen to twenty years ago, but now (how quickly they grow!) they were back again, rearing multi-stemmed from the stumps. This part oof the Nature Trail puts on a good display in the spring, with daffodils and bluebells under stands of wild cherry, so reducing shade and crowding by sycamores would have a visual as well as an environmental impact.
 
Some smaller trees were grubbed out by the roots, but mostly larger trees were cut down and sawn up. More work is needed in this area, particularly as many sycamores lean outwards over the fence into the road and footpath, making felling difficult and potentially dangerous. Perhaps a future visit with larger numbers will allow use of ropes for felling and more extensive stump removal.
Steve Mathieson 

August

Sunday 5th

Trent Country Park (Shaw's Wood)

The planned task had been to continue with the removal of rhododendron around Shaws Wood. However, the 2012 summer weather was to defeat the 4 volunteers that day. All the tools had been barrowed to the working area when the heavens opened accompanied by thunder percussion. There was no choice other than to take shelter, and after an hour, with the torrential rain showing no sign of easing, the wet and dispirited volunteers surrendered and went home.
Judy Mayo

Sunday 19th

Conway Recreation Ground

The Friends of Conway Rec invited us back again to provide, in their words, “some muscle” to help clear an area of thick tussock grass, bramble and nettles which they wish to turn into a small coppice. They had made a start

and had planted some small trees but a dense patch of nettles which had grown to nearly 4 feet tall stopped them and ECV in its tracks. Five ECV volunteers attacked the grass and brambles in the morning to widen the already cleared area and sat down in the sunshine to enjoy their well earned lunch. Then the rain filled cloud which seemed to be following us on our tasks, emptied its contents once again, sending all 5 to take shelter in the council land rover. After the deluge, some intrusive sycamores which were growing though the railings were cut down allowing more light to reach the newly planted trees.
Judy Mayo

September

Sunday 2nd

Trent Country Park (Water Gardens)

3 volunteers
  • replanted black bamboo we found soaking in the pond.
  • removed suckers from the bases of some trees.
  • cut back invasive Tree of Heaven suckers from ground along boundary fence (giant hogweed and arable field side).
  • trimmed back over hanging very thorny berberis from pedestrian pathways.
  • removed dead minor branches and twigs  from ornamental trees to decrease further dieback.
  • carried half of secondary woodpile near bridge to the main corner pile.
  • trimmed fire-singed tree near bonfire site.
  • noted that the watercourses are getting choked with vegetation which needs reducing before spring when frogs will need more room to spawn.
  • counted over 30 empty planting holes where new evergreen dwarf rhododendrons were carefully watered in earlier this year. They cannot all have died??? We regretted the waste of money.
 Jill Kidger

Sunday 16th

Hillyfields

Five volunteers made another visit to the meadow ant colony to try to enlarge the area and let more light in. Unfortunately for ECV, who do not use power tools, many of the trees surrounding the boundary of the ant hills are too large to be felled using bow saws. We did however, cut overhanging branches and raised the crowns of many allowing more light in, as the ants need the sun’s rays on their “hill homes” to survive. Bramble was also cut back to ensure a clearer area for expansion should the ants wish to build more social housing!
Judy Mayo

Sunday 30th September

Forty Hall

This was the “Big Volunteer” day at Forty Hall where young people from the Challenge Project were taking part in work within the park and the farm. Four ECV volunteers were joined midway through the day by some of them to help us with thinning out the holly at the northwest corner of the park. The holly had been allowed to run rampant, freely layering itself, growing over the pathways and forcing young trees to grow sideways to find light. Much of this extraneous growth was removed, opening up the pathways leading to the woods and uncovering many small trees, including a tiny yew, which we hope will have a fighting chance now of growing up tall and straight. I would point out that only male holly was removed so no birds will go hungry as a result of ECV‘s work!
Judy Mayo

October

Sunday 14th

Hillyfields

A ditch which separates the London Loop footpath in Hilly Fields from the NECC had become badly overgrown and full of debris which was causing the cricket field to become water logged. Four ECV members started the task to open up the ditch again by cutting back overhanging branches and removing self seeded trees, dead wood, silt and ivy from the ditch and bank. Whilst ECV were working in the shade (and mud), members of the cricket club were holding a working party at the cricket ground in bright sunshine. They did however, provide us with excellent refreshments and hospitality throughout the day for which we were very grateful. As we were so few in number, we only managed to clear about one third of the ditch, so have promised to return early next year to complete the work. Join us (or if cricket is more your line check out www.northenfieldcc.co.uk).

ECV 14 October 2012

Judy Mayo

Sunday 28th

Trent Country Park

6 willing volunteers turned up to clear foliage around the pond which is currently full of water.  We removed a great many logs, a piece of a motorbike and several lumps of concrete which probably hale from the prisoner of war camp days in WW2.

Steve and Simon dragged the pond to widen it and the rest of us cleared overhanging branches and removed brambles and holly and sycamore saplings.  The weather was cold but fine and we cheered on the runners, running for the poppy appeal.

ECV 28 October 2012

Mark Judge

November

Sunday 11th

Trent Country Park: Nature Trail

The days task started off cold but was accompanied with the welcome sight of a warming sun, crisp blue sky and rich autumn colours. Five keen volunteers armed with bow saws, loppers and enthusiasm headed towards the nature trail in Trent Park to continue the ongoing battle of dominant sycamores and brambles. The first challenge of lighting a fire proved a challenge amongst the dampness, but after much determination and fierce blowing the fire roared into life. Then a steady stream of sycamore and brambles fuel the flames. The growth of new sycamore shoots since our last visit is noticeable and evidence of their determination to dominate the woodland. Their removal along with the brambles will create more light on the woodland floor and increase the variety of woodland plants and other wildlife species. The days task comes to an end with an all round feeling of satisfaction accompanied by tired limbs and the smell of bonfires.
Simon Pegg

Sunday 25th

Whitewebbs Park

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December

Sunday 9th

ECV Christmas Walk

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