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IoW GG links

To look at the Isle of Wight Green Gym web page (contains details of sessions etc) please use the following link :- www.iwgreengym.org.uk.

The link to Twitter is https://twitter.com/iwgreengym

If you would like to leave us any comments then please use this link iwgreengym@gmail.com

Friday, December 28, 2007

Happy New Year and Xmas Party Update




Just wanted to wish all you blog readers a HAPPY NEW YEAR...!
Did you all see the article about the Green Gym in the County Press? Great photographs of the group and a good write-up as well - Buddy is delighted with his picture. If you missed it in hard copy then you can look up the CP online (only one picture on the e-copy). http://www.iwcp.co.uk/News/GREEN_GYM_WORKS_OUT_A_CELEBRATION.aspx
Good luck in 2008 and may all the Wednesday mornings be dry ones......

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Wed 19th Dec 2007 - Shide Quarry






Our Green Gym this week was at one of our favourite venues - the old chalk quarry at Shide. Not only is it a great place to work but it was also the setting for the GG 2007 Christmas party - which has been held here for as long as the GG has been up and running. It didn't take long for the rangers to get a roaring fire going and it was a good insentive to keep cutting the brush wood to keep the cold out (it was a very frosty morning!) Carrie's "before and after" pictures above shows exactly what progress can be made on clearing this wonderful area in just a few short hours. Once that a considerable amount of clearance had been achieved, it was time to down tools and enjoy the wonderful food that had been prepared for us - everything from jacket potatoes (with all the trimmings), sausages, fried onions through to mince pies and wonderful cream cakes all washed down with hot festive punch. A big THANK YOU to all those who made such a wonderful feast possible.

The funny hat contest was on a "Green Theme" this year and there were many creative designs - some of which would not been out of place on Ladies Day at Ascot.!!! Prizes were given for the best 3 hats and Secret Santa presents exchanged. There was a lady from the County Press taking photographs, so it might be worth keeping an eye open for the odd GG publicity shot in the near future. If anyone has any pictures of the mad hatters or group shots of the party, please can you send them on to me (via Mark if you don't have my e-mail address) so that they can be published.

So......another successful Green Gym year comes to a close. Buddy and your Blog Master would like to wish you all a Very Merry Christmas and look forward to seeing you at the GG in the New Year.

PS. Carrie said I had to include the picture of "Rudolph" Buddy in this week's edition...! Many thanks to her for all the excellent work she has done with pictures and the odd editorial during this last year.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Wed 12th Dec 2007 - Afton Marsh.



Our GG task this week was cutting back the much overgrown willow that has taken over large areas of Afton Marsh. The morning started cold and frosty - which initially helped us to keep our wellies on. As the morning warmed up and our many tracks to and from the bonfire took their toll, we soon found out just how boggy that whole area can be....! Several people took a tumble and ended up with a mud beauty (?) treatment and the odd wellie boot stuck in the mud as the owner's foot moved on. All in all good progress was made and a considerable area was cleared in readiness for the rangers to pull the willow tree roots out. Some additional work was carried out on the water channel and drain that was running from a spring - this should reduce the flooding on the footpath that cuts through this area.

Reminder..! Next week is the final one for 2007 and will be held at our traditional Christmas breakup site - Shide Quarry. Please remember to bring along your presents for the Xmas lucky dip (presents should be around £1 in value) and don't forget your Green hats. I am sure if you have a few mince pies etc going spare then the Green Gym Gannets will be able to make them disappear in a very short time..!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Wed 5th Dec 2007 - Osborne House.




For some unknown reason, Google will not let me import pictures for the blog this week. Computers - don't you just love them....! I will try later on so please watch this space.........

Well, as you can see from the above, it did let me download one picture. I guess my laptop is waterlogged.
Some 4 hours later - and it lets me download a second one. That is progress for you.

This was our second visit to Osborne House to do more work in the area where we did the hedgelaying in February. The hedge areas laid before look very good, as the light can now get in from the removal of some of the beech trees. Our work today was along similar lines, with the two areas of hedgelaying on the left which had a big gap between being joined together and fresh stakes and heathers made for next time. We also removed some more beech trees to improve the light, although the giant yew tree is to remain, which is a relief.


Many thanks to Mark for the picture this week and to Carrie for the text.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Wed 28th Nov 2007 - Brading Allotments.



A new venue for the Green Gym this week - the allotments down by Brading station. There were two main tasks to complete, a huge pile of scrap that had to be transported via the footpath to a skip in the station yard and to clear an overgrown area to the east of the site. By the time we left, the rubbish was all in the (VERY full) skip and an sizable area had been cleared ready for new allotments to be set up. Not bad for a mornings work....!
Many thanks to the kind lady at the railway station heritage centre who, in spite of a broken tea urn, managed to supply us all with hot drinks during the tea break. A few of us had a great time trying to do a jigsaw puzzle - the picture of which was the railway station buildings in which we were standing. Considering this was the last meeting in November, the weather was still kind to us. Let's hope that it continues throughout the winter...!
Many thanks to Carrie for the pictures above.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Wed 21st Nov 2007 - Pan Meadow.



Pan Meadow was the venue for the Green Gym this week, our second visit in a couple of months. The job was further clearance of brambles and nettles at the far end of the site between the pathway and the tree line. It is hoped this will make the site more open, so that the local vandals stop burning the bridge! Many thanks to Carrie for the editorial and pics.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Wed 14th Nov 2007 - Nansen Hill Ventnor.



This week we were working with the Rangers at Nansen Hill, in a different spot from our usual haunt. This time we were right at the top of the hill, clearing an area of scrub including elder, buddleia and blackthorn, to help regenerate the chalk grassland. As you can see, it is amazing what thirty people can do in a morning! The Island has a nationally significant concentration of chalk grassland sites, covering approximately 10% of the South East total. These grasslands are one of the richest and most distinctive wildlife habitats in the country, with many species of plants and invertebrates restricted only to this habitat. Such species include the brown hare, skylark, Adonis blue, stripe-winged grasshopper and early gentian, and we even found some of the latter when returning to the van.
Many thanks to Carrie for the text and pics...... Bob the Blog was fitting a kitchen this Wednesday.... :-(

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Happy Birthday Green Gym Blog....!


I happened to look back through the archived blog pages and discovered that the 14th November 2007 will be the First Birthday of the Green Gym blog site. When you scroll back through the weeks, it is amazing just how much we have achieved to help the various groups that we work for. I think everyone concerned deserves a pat on the back for all their efforts.......Well done to all.....!
As a whole year has gone by since the first blog was published, perhaps it is a good time to reflect on what we actually get from the blog itself. I started it as an informal way to publish what the Green Gymers do and to allow people who don't get along every week to catch up with our progress. It was always imagined that it would evolve into whatever we wanted it to become but at the first anniversary it still is in the same format as it was when first started. If everyone is happy with that, then I will continue as before but....... if anyone has any ideas about what they would like to see included, then please let me know.
I would like to thank Carrie and Hilary for the wonderful pictures that are published every week and the Green Gym committee for all the hard work they do behind the scenes to make our Wednesday mornings so special.

Wed 7th Nov 2007 - Botanical Gardens at Ventnor



As the editor of this blog site, I am faced with the weekly task of trying to put a few words to the excellent pictures that have been taken by Carrie. After a few weeks it is difficult to come up with something original to describe the hard work that has been completed by the Green Gym Team. This week it can all be summed up by the pictures above - and just a few words.....
1. Take a row of VERY tall willow trees that were growing out of control.
2. Equip the GG Team with saws and loppers.
3. Stand back and watch in amazement as the trees are reduced to neat piles ready for going into the shredder.
Oh ....and just to fill in the time, we trimmed up the willow dome that was constructed earlier in the year. So, all in all, a good morning's work...!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Wed 31st Oct 2007 - Sandown CoE Primary School.




This week saw us at Sandown CoE Primary School, creating a sensory garden for the children and making a dragon....! The area planned for the garden needed a lot of preparation work for which the school had produced a plan. This involved us marking out a circular area (lawn) with an outer area being divided into four. The area designated for the vegetable plot was dug over - as was the area to be planted with bedding plants. A third area was cleared of debris, which included some heavy slabs, this will be covered with bark chippings. The forth area needed to be covered over with a membrane and will be filled with gravel when the purse allows it...!
A couple of earth filled sinks and two enormous tractor tyres (see pics above) were resited along with several pots that were filled with daffodil bulbs and two azalea plants. If all that wasn't enough...... we also put up a bird box and barrowed all the resultant debris into their compost heap. PHEW...!!!!!
Many thanks to Cub Reporter Carrie for both the editorial AND the pics this week. She will be asking for a pay rise soon - perhaps an extra biscuit or two at coffee time?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Wed 24th Oct 2007 - Mundsley Bog Godshill.



This week can be best summed up by the statement " Back to the Bog"...... Mundsley Bog at Godshill to be exact...! We were here a couple of weeks ago (see the blog dated 9th Oct) and returned to continue clearing the overgrown areas. Good progress was made at clearing the areas to the north and south of the raised footpath that runs through here, hopefully the water plants will now start to establish themselves once again. The area to the north of the carpark was also cleared making the "kurb appeal" of the place look much nicer.
Green Gym members we spoiled with having an internal venue for our coffee break (the Scout Hut) and Jeff did us proud by bringing along loads of home made cake....... It was great..many thanks Jeff (and to your good lady wife who made it)
Although it was half term (so no St George's this week) the meeting was well attended and we even had visitors from the mainland. The weather was kind to us - in fact it was excellent considering that we are getting towards the end of October. Fingers crossed for the rest of the winter.
Carrie supplied the pics....so a big thank you to her.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Wed 17th Oct 2007 - St George's Newport.



St George's at Newport was the Green Gym workplace this week - helping with the wonderful work that they are doing there to improve the school grounds. Our tasks were to cut a new woodland pathway and to construct a grass turfed seat - the same as the ones we have done already at Merstone and Sunny Crest nursery. The jobs were both completed in the time although we will have to return at a later date to remove the seat support boards and to turf the whole thing. The soil needs time to consilidate before the wooden panels are removed. Hopefully we will have a completed picture at a later date.

Thanks to Carrie for the pics - even if she does take a less than flattering shot of your blog master (I am the one showing his rear end!) - nice one Carrie... :-)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Wed 9th Oct 2007 - Mundsley Bog Godshill



The Green Gymers assembled at Mundsley Bog Godshill this Wednesday for the Battle of the Bog....! Since our last visit, the whole site had become very overgrown with bracken, brambles and some very well established willow trees. All of the above stop the marshland plants that they are trying to encourage in this area so, the only option is to clear the site. As can been seen from the above "before and after" shots, good progress was made and the area looks a whole lot better after it's haircut. It will need at least another two or three visits to cut back the whole area but it was amazing what progress was made in 3 hours...... well done to all those who attended.
Thanks again to our cub reporter Carrie for the excellent photographs.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Wed 3rd Oct 2007 - Kitbridge Farm.



The Green Gymers were back at Kitbridge Farm this week....... and as per usual, Mark had PLENTY of work for us! The major task was to try and rediscover the footpath to the south of the farm which has become very overgrown due to many years of neglect. After hacking our way into the brambles and weeds we started to discover fallen trees and needed to use Faithful Fergy to drag them out into the open (see picture above). Now we have removed the trees and larger items, it is hoped to bring in a mechanical flail to cut the remainder back.
The second major task was down at the bridge where we worked during our last visit. The kind local youths had taken the brickwork that we had recovered previously - and thrown it back into the stream....... Many thanks guys...! We cleared the stream....again.....and used the (now damaged) brickwork to make the footpath usable once again.
The new ponds that have been dug recently are already attracting wildlife and one even had a child's scooter in the bottom - so kind of the local kids to put in an artifical reef for us. Needless to say the scooter has been recovered - any offers for a very usable scooter?
Thanks to Carrie for the pics - nice to have you back with us again....!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Wed 26th Sept 2007 - Pan Meadow.

Our Wednesday morning this week was given over to "weed wacking" at the area known as Pan Meadow. This is the area between the main road outside Newport football stadium and the river - well worth a walk along there if you are in the area. We had, on previous visits, tackled the seriously overgrown areas of brambles, trees, weeds etc and this time it just needed a short back and sides - to cut down this year's weed growth. The session was well attended and good progress was made at cutting back and stacking the cut undergrowth. The weather is now starting to drop off temperature wise but at least we had another dry day.......always a bonus...!

No pictures this week - If any do turn up I will attach them to the blog later. See you all on next Wednesday.......better bring the wellies....!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Wed 19th Sept 2007 - Kitbridge Farm.



This week the Green Gym was back at Kitbridge Farm and needless to say, the task involved weeds and water.....! The stream to the south of the farm has, over years of neglect, become VERY overgrown - not wildlife friendly at all. This week we continued to clear an area of the stream, chopping back the weeds, brambles and overhanging trees to allow sunlight to reach the water and give better access for kingfishers etc. The rubbish was cleared from the stream bed and the banks exposed - this should encourage water voles and the like to take up residence. The bridge on this part had been seriously damaged by floodwater, so part of the tasking was to dig out and position a large chunk of masonary that had been dislodged. We hope to rebuild this into the bridge wall at a later visit - watch this space...!
Many thanks to Carrie for the before and after pics - I note that she didn't send the ones of her in the waders for me to publish.........shame....!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Wed 9th Sept 2007 - Butterfly Walk @ Brading.



This week the Green Gymers were tasked to do a tidy up job at the Butterfly Walk on Brading Down. We were assured that under the undergrowth was a butterfly sculpture made out of woven willow - hard to believe when you look at the picture above....! A couple of hours of hard cutting back of the weeds and bramble revealed what appeared to be a broken down sheep hurdle. A little "re-shaping" was undertaken and eventually we managed to come up with something that resembled the original structure (please give us some artistic licence here....!). The other photograph shows some of the team that attended this week - well done to all. Several other jobs were completed to make this wonderful site even more inviting to the public - so no excuses for not taking a walk there now...!!!!!!!!!
Welcome back to the team from St George's who have now started a new year - thank's for your help.
The weather was glorious as we really are having a later summer this year - fingers crossed that it stays that way for a long time yet.
Many thanks to Carrie and Angela for the photographs.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Wed 5th Sept 2007 - Sunnycrest Nursery



This week the Green Gymers were back at the Sunnycrest Nursery - on the outskirts of Newchurch. This is a wonderful site to work at with a great staff and helpers plus the stunning views...!
The work package was to continue with the work we have been doing on the new garden area (see previous blogs for info) - this time we cleared a large area of scrub, trees and brambles. An area for a future willow dome was prepared with the site leveled and dug to a 12' diameter. Several large plants were dug out ready for resiting and all the available bird boxes / bee houses were treated with wood stain. So - all in all a busy time....! The weather was very kind, overcast to start with but bright sunshine as the day wore on.
Once again....many thanks to Carrie for the happy snappies.....:)

Note from the blog editor - The turf seat that we built earlier in the year is looking good. Thanks for keeping it watered and giving it the odd haircut....!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Wed 29th Aug 2007 - Skinner's Meadow.




This week saw us helping Wight Nature Fund again, baling hay at Skinner's Meadow. They have still not been able to get into the marsh proper due to the peat still holding the moisture. A section of the field had been cut and turned, so all we had to do was rake the rows, feed the bailer and then stack the bales at the bottom of the the field. Although there was only 10 of us (including John - the warden) we still managed to bale three quaters of the field. They cut at this time of the year so that the wild flower seeding is easier and once this is completed then the cattle are brought in to graze the grass to around Christmas time. In the spring the meadow is full of wild flowers with the peak time for them being May and June. A fairly new plant to the meadow (although it is found in Newtown) is yellow rattle - this is a parasetic plant which keeps the grass down by attaching itself to the roots. Not so many butterflies as last time although we did see a common darter - this one was a female as it was brown - appartently the males are red.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Wed 22nd Aug 2007 - Ventnor Botanical Gardens.




A visit to Ventnor Botanic Gardens was the job this week - I think they must do their best to find really difficult jobs for us, but of course we always rise to the challenge...!!!!!!!!!! An area along the costal path - named the Coastal Meadow - needed a large area of bank cleared to reveal old terraces which had been started some years ago. They were now completely covered in thick bramble, blackthorn and nettles. Trish (from the Garden's staff) started us off with a hedge cutter as the path was fairly narrow and then we all got stuck in with saws, slashers and sheer hard work. It was amazing that once we had cleared the area about three common darter dragonflies appeared and we also saw several very large cabbage white butterflies and even a red admiral - certainly a real treat...!
The text and photographs were supplied by Carrie.......many thanks...!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Wed 15th Aug 2007 - Kitbridge Farm.






The tasks this week were at the Kitbridge Farm site - needless to say it involved ponds...! Our regular readers will be aware that we visit this site regularly during the year and the majority of work is clearing overgrown ponds to help the great crested newts re-establish themselves. This job was to the south of the farm along the land boundry with the new housing estate. As can be seen from the pictures above, the pond was extremely overgrown and took the full efforts of those attending to clear the area in the alloted time.....but we managed.....somehow...!
We had a group of primary school children to give us a hand and they seem to have enjoyed themselves and to have been very interested in the information that Mark (the farm owner) gave them during a walk around the area.
Many thanks to our cub reporter - Carrie - for the photographs above....... especially as she went through so much effort to get there...!!!! We hope you found the car again....