Monthly Working Party
If you like practical, hands-on work in the open air, then why not join our monthly "Working Party".
We normally meet on the first Wednesday of each month, convening at 2pm in the car park.
Feel free to turn up any month - look out for the distinctive yellow van! Or, if you would like to join the email list to have tasks and times confirmed in advance, then contact us using the form here.
The long (third of a mile!) hedgerow which we planted in February 2014 on the South Down has become well established and will undoubtedly benefit the bird and plant life on that part of the Down.
Other tasks have included controlling thistles, repairing seats, removing unwanted scrub and litter picking. See also the Recent Activities page.
Next Working Party
The next Volunteers' working party will be on Wednesday 3rd May, 2017.
As ever all are welcome who would like to spend a couple of hours in fresh air and good company, doing a bit of physical work to assist in the management of Magog Down. Meet at 2 pm in the car park and bring stout gloves.
During the January and February sessions, the volunteers completed raking the grass margin alongside Villedomer Wood; our photographer caught them in action:
Past Activites 2015
Wednesday 4th November
Cleared Blackthorn scrub adjacent to Elford Gate in Upper Memorial Wood.
Wednesday 7th October
Cleared scrub along Upper Memorial Wood grass margin.
Wednesday 2nd September
Began cutting back encroaching vegetation along the the fence line between the perimeter path and Memorial Wood. The reasons for this are to control vigorous regrowth, recreate a woodland edge, improve access to the fence line for maintenance and to ease visitor access along the path.
Wednesday 5th August
Completed weeding the length of the new hedge
Wednesday 3rd June
Weeded half the length of the new hedge (along the bottom edge of the paddocks).
Wednesday 6th May
Once again, continued to remove scrub plants from the North Down using mattocks.
Past Activities 2012 to 2014
"Do the volunteers still meet on the first Wednesday of the month?" somebody asked us recently. "YES!" is the answer. The Volunteer Group has been meeting most months to tackle a variety of practical tasks on the Down - here's a list of what they did. Unfortunately, while they are very good at the practical tasks, they are not so good at writing up reports of what has been done, hence the lack of more detailed 'past activities' information here since 2011.
As well as the various practical tasks, we would welcome volunteer help with desk-based tasks, not least providing articles and wording for this website. Please use the enquiry form on the main Volunteering page to let us know if this is something you would be interested in helping with.
Past Activities 2011
5th October 2011
In preparation for winter we started spreading wood chippings on the paths and carried out some fence repair work.
7th September 2011
Cleared strimmed vegetation from the Bowl Barrow. The plan is to cut the growth more regularly to encourage the development of a grassy sward. Inspection was made of parts of the perimeter fence that will need some repairs during the autumn.
3rd August 2011
Continuing last month’s work, we tackled the middle of the North Down. Since we were further from the edges, there was less encroachment byroses and blackthorn, but lots of ragwort still blooming away.
6th July 2011
Armed with stout gloves and foot wear, and loppers and secateurs, we spread out across the North Down tackling scrubby plants and ragwort. We cut down roses and blackthorn which cause problems for the mowers, and pulled surprising amounts of ragwort.
1st June 2011
Before rain stopped play we began the task of cutting and removing the scrub saplings on the North Down before forage harvesting between 15 July and end August.
4th May 2011
We spent this afternoon cutting back new growth around the entrance gates to widen the access points to the Down. When they get overgrown, it concentrates the foot traffic and then paths get muddy, so this relieves congestion and opens everything up a bit.
6th April 2011
Another beautiful day for volunteering. We trimmed back brambles and sycamore along the fences of Magog Wood and Memorial Wood, which is done on a rolling 3 year cycle to leave the wildlife plenty of shelter. The sun shone, but the wind blew so we could not burn the brambles and we left them piled up for another day. The cowslips were just peeping out so we took care not to cover them over.
2nd March 2011
A record 11 people gathered on a beautiful Wednesday afternoon to
tackle the blackthorn that has established itself in Youth Wood and
Magog Wood. The blossom is gorgeous and the berries make a very good
liqueur (sloe gin), but it is encroaching on the North Down and makes
mowing very difficult. We piled the branches up avoiding the vicious
thorns and had a glorious bonfire.
2nd and 9th February 2011
In order to combat the mud, volunteers spent two afternoons spreading
wood chips along some of the paths. The chips are delivered from Wandlebury and then spread out to make the paths safer and more
pleasant to walk on.