This is the second in our series of blog posts. If you have visited the University Parks in the last few days, you may have noticed that some big tasks have been finished and you may be interested to know why we decided some of these were necessary.
On 22 February, we stopped all work on other University sites for the day, and all 38 members of the Parks team devoted the day to carrying out some big projects.
Opening up the back of the Hayrick Border
About 12 people worked to clear the back of the Hayrick Border, the herbaceous border that runs from South Lodge northwards. There is a wide belt of trees and shrubs between the border and the fence around the Science Area which was completely dark and overgrown. It was sometimes used for anti-social behaviour. The trees were crown-lifted (by removing their lower branches) and the shrubs either taken out or coppiced. It is now light and clean underneath the trees, and a pathway has been opened up for visitors. We would encourage you to take a walk along the back of the border, as you will get a completely different view of that area of the park.
Filling in potholes
Another team spent the day filling in potholes. In order to match the existing self-binding gravel, we dug out some of the existing material, filled the hole with new grit, and then dressed it over with the original gravel. This makes the patches fit in much better and the paths do not look like a series of repair jobs.
Rejuvenating overgrown shrubs
Some of the team got stuck into the unkempt borders near the Cherwell, making a huge difference. These became overgrown during the covid lockdowns, but now the shrubs will be able to rejuvenate with less competition from each other, and the cornus stems should emerge with fresh colours next year. When you walk around the pond, it is now possible to see the river through the shrubs at that end of the park.
Making tree circles
Some of the smaller veteran trees, especially the unusual hawthorns in Thorn Walk, are struggling with competition from grass and ivy around their roots. If this is controlled, then the trees stand a much better chance of surviving for longer. It is hard work clearing grass and ivy by hand, but you will see that we have made a start. We will get back to this task as we get time in between other important work at this time of year.