The Conservation Volunteers (formerly British Trust for Conservation Volunteers)
The Conservation Volunteers work in the grounds of Alexandra Park, usually on the second Sunday of every month.
They carry out various conservation tasks such as pond clearance, building foot bridges, planting trees, and opening glades to increase bio-diversity.
If you would like to volunteer to work with TCV in the grounds of Alexandra Park, please phone
East London TCV on 079 1726 7573 More details here.
Some of the work carried out since 2010:
The team attacked the brambles with mattocks and forks in the Butterfly Meadow helping to stop them from re-establishing.
Some Oak Apples were spotted nearby (picture on Oak Trees) also butterflies came through including Speckled Wood, Orange Tip and Holly Blues.
Another day of felling mostly Hawthorns and letting the light back in to the area. Unfortunately the weather was not so kind to us with a gentle application of Scotch Mist for most of the day.
A good little group of us from at least four different countries worked on sawing, snipping and tidying away the wood into hedges in the Conservation Area. Overall a job well done.
We continued the work of removing shrubs and small trees beside the Racecourse. Mostly taking out Blackthorn, but also Ash, Dogwood and Hawthorn.
Good progress made, but the terrain is muddy....
We also spotted the first Hazel in flower.
Great to see two new faces for the TCV conservation work on Sunday. We cleared trees and saplings along the side of the racecourse. Mostly ash to start with then some dogwood, hawthorn, prunus and elm.
One bit of Himalayan Balsam opposite the pond removed.
Most of Sunday's work involved pollarding willows (going, going, going, gone) near the reservoir. This willow is Crack Willow which not the best for weaving, but will used elsewhere in fencing.
More importantly, lots of free chocolate biscuits were available.
Not such summery weather for this month's conservation work, in fact to begin with there was persistent drizzle. Undeterred the volunteers made their way to the Nature Pond.
They cleared part of the vegetation in front of the pond using slashers (a bit like scythes) in order to give passers by a better view (, but kept the yellow irises).
Time to wander by and inspect it yourselves....
Luckily by half eleven the rain had eased in time for tea and biscuits.
The next little project was to stop some of the vegetation encroachment in the nearby Nature area. (picture)
Lunch was taken then the final little project for the day was undertaken.
much less frequently seen especially North of the river. Hoping that this will encourage more of them to patronise the Park and enhance the biodiversity of the area. (picture)
It good to meet the new Project Leader Tom Nandi and hope that future conservation days will be just as successful.
ditch was cleared (before, work, after) further upstream opposite the Nature pond with a good deal of dredging involved.
The other job was to repair the Bug Hotel partially damaged in a recent fire. New bits and pieces. This now stands proud waiting for new residents to take up residence. More bugs will attract more birds and improve the ecology of this Local Nature Reserve.
This month a small band of volunteers (The fewer men, the greater share of honour.God's will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.) cleared over half the ditch opposite the Nature Pond.
We removed vegetation in front of the ditch and a metre behind as well as clearing debris out of the ditch.
The weather was very kind to us and large swathes of vegetation disappeared very quickly. These pictures show part of what we cleared in classic before and after shots.
Joking apart the good weather maybe scared away some of our regulars - come help out next month, please!
If you prefer, here is a slide show of some of the progress during the day.
A few large Poplar Trees had been felled in the Butterfly Meadow area and bramble chopped back prior to TCV arriving on the scene.
The first job was to clear away some of the saplings felled and the brambles cut to be able to see what needed to be done.
Next we got down to the hard work of removing bramble roots from this cleared area. Mattocks are the ideal tool and TCV came well-equipped.
This hard, physical work was quite welcome bearing in mind the low temperatures for the day (although we did see quite a bit of sun).
A break for tea/coffee biscuits as usual although cut short we started to cool down....
At the end of day the uprooted bramble was moved down to the bottom by the Lower Road.
A satisfying bit of work....
The technique for bramble removal is to mostly use mattocks a type of pick axe with a blade which is very good at getting under the plants to get the roots out.
A lot of the world's problems were put to rights.
Some of the other vehicles seen:
The new sections were sawn to length and a joined together. Behind the wall, the ground was excavated before the new structure was put in place.
The earth was slowly replaced being tamped down as it went. The new section is now in place ready to be filled with suitable habitat materials.
er blessed our efforts.
During the morning the Friends of Alexandra Park passed by on a Members Walk to admire our progress.
Later, a Fungi Expert, Andy Overall who leads our Fungi Walks came by to photograph (pic) and log a nearby rare red fungus, Pluteus aurantiorugosus.
This habitat was first created in September 2011 see report lower down this page.
Part of the Butterfly Meadow was in shade which was welcome on a hot day as we moved to some quite physical work. Mattocks were employed to remove more bramble and ivy and to help encourage more Butterflies into the area.
The area does seen to attract a great range of insects....
The day's volunteers were a good mix of previous enthusiasts and new-comers (who we hope will come again).
We concentrated our work on digging up brambles on the southern edge of the site. Forks, spades and above all mattocks were the chosen tools.
The weather was kind to us after initial drizzle.
Although the area worked was not that large, it should put a big brake on bramble encroachment and help the grass to re-establish.
A mixed-up day weather-wise with sun at first then cloud and even the odd hint of rain. The volunteers dismantled the Viewing Platform whose view had been obscured by the high fence with a view to a new construction possibly at slightly different location.
The main work, however, consisted of clearing vegetation away from the drainage channel near the Nature Pond. The main culprits were brambles and willow herb. Over half has now been cut back to last year's position. Lots of work was done and the tea and biscuits provided were most welcome.....
It was a beautiful sunny day and almost warm for TCV work on Sunday. We concentrated on removing more bramble below the middle path, but this time the emphasis was on digging out the roots of the brambles in as large an area as possible. Obviously this meant that not such a large could be covered, but there is the expectation that this will severely dent the regrowth of bramble in this area.
The Friends of Alexandra Park had a Members Walk which included visiting TCV working in the Park. Jack explained some of the work of the volunteers and demonstrated cutting down a small sycamore tree also inviting some of the Friends to participate in future.
On a sunny, but cool Sunday volunteers continued work on the dead hedge enlarging it along the path just below the lower path near the Bedford Road entrance.
In the afternoon, TCV started to attack some of the brambles next to the middle path.
This month TCV cleared competing saplings and small trees around a large oak tree. This was just down from the lower road in the Nature Conservation area. Species cleared included elm, ash, sycamore and horse chestnut. The wood produced was then used to produce to make a short dead hedge.
Cloudy to start to the day then we were blessed with sunshine for the November workday.
The volunteers finished the opening up of the view of the Nature Pond. The section that we were working contained mostly hawthorn (treacherous thorns...) and guelder rose. This latter shrub has delighted us by giving us some great Autumn colour with its brightly coloured berries and reddening leaves.
Later we moved on to clearing some of the ditches nearby.
Again some of the stumps were removed to facilitate the work for next year.
This will grow next year, but hopefully with the additional work done it should be quicker work to repeat.
With a handful of enthusiastic volunteers, some of growth in front of the Nature Pond was cleared allowing the public to get a much better view. We were very pleasedto hear
a large number of positive comments from passers-by. Some late flowering purple loosestrife flowers now give a great display edging the pond to all that walk along the path. (Picture before clearance- come and see what it is like now!)
With the wood and greenery removed some sections of hedging were created (picture) to protect the wildflower area created earlier.
Work took place in the Blandford Hall area. Last year an area had been drastically thinned of smaller trees in order to encourage wildflowers. Volunteers cut back the re-sprouting trees and took out some holly to further promote the flowers. The dead hedge was also built up. The picture shows the profusion of garlic mustard flowers now blooming.
TCV continued with the coppicing of willows by reservoir also removing some of the young willows growing up and stacking the wood by the reservoir. Also a start was made on repairing one of the viewing platforms.
TCV volunteers cut down the vegetation next to the Nature Pond to allow the public to see the pond and to allow new regrowth.
On a very sunny day, the willing helpers (all welcome!) managed to clear large areas of brambles and nettles.
Also they cut back willows, blackthorn, poplars, dogwood etc.. Layers of clothes were gradually removed as the work warmed people up until one guy was working in a tee shirt.
The shrubs and undergrowth will all grow back again very slowly over the Winter then quicker and quicker over the Spring. This part of the job is now pretty much complete.
The volunteers worked especially hard over the two sessions. Much to everyone’s surprise virtually all of this invasive plant has now been chopped down to ground level, allowing significantly more light into the area, and giving native trees the chance to take over.
All plants were removed from the ditch as was all the rubbish and wood; some of the ditch was dug out to allow the water to flow freely. Also, vegetation either side of the ditch was cut back. Lots of cutting, slashing and some digging....
The highlight of the day was the vole spotted in the drainage ditch while we were working.
The main target was brambles which threaten to overgrow the water and cause more flooding.
Last year’s willowherb growth was also removed. Tools used were “slashers”, rakes and loppers. A substantial area of the stream was cleared on both banks and the channel is now running much more freely.
This should ensure that the pond remains visible from the path.
TCV did their last day of clearing a small part of the Blandford Hall site to let more light in to the ground and help encourage a more varied vegetation.
Paul Colcutt (TCV project leader, pictured here) demonstrated the correct technique for felling small trees in a controlled way.
Volunteers cleared ivy and then continued building the fence at the corner by the main path.
The April working party created two new stag beetle loggeries to encourage these beetles and other invertebrates in the park. They are under the big Robinia between the Rose Garden and Blandford Hall Area.
Working with TCV this Sunday we finished clearing the drainage ditch opposite the Nature Pond working back almost to the bottom road.
This should hopefully help prevent flooding later in the year.
We had a great turnout with 15 people working hard wielding all sorts of tools. The snow fled fast throughout the day.
This month, we cleared the vegetation around the conservation pond.
Building a couple more Insect Hotels and filling them with inviting habitats!
A beautiful sunny Autumn day.
We sunk some posts and concreted them in before cutting out wedges for the cross rails and then screwing them in.
The weather was warm and sunny.
Ten enthusiastic volunteers cleared scrub vegetation, and removed soil, to reveal the foundations for the old Lido along the footpath that runs alongside the reservoir.
They discovered that the remains are more substantial than had been thought, uncovering what looks like a concrete path along the wall.
Volunteers spent the day clearing saplings with loppers, and bow saws, from an area below the pitch and putt, to help maintain it as a wildflower meadow.
We had six volunteers for our first visit of the year. We worked in the strip of scrub land behind the cricket pavilion. Last year we cleared large amounts of heavy bramble growth from this area, and Sunday's task was to consolidate this work by clearing back patches of re-growth to maintain the open areas we had created, and clear around the small footpath to ease access.
Large areas of dense bramble were left to provide nesting and cover for birds and other fauna. We also removed a diseased Hawthorn tree to prevent the disease from spreading to neighbouring trees.
The TCV work in the grounds of Alexandra Park every second Sunday of the month. They particularly welcome local volunteers.If you would like to volunteer to work with TCV in the grounds of Alexandra Park, please phone 07740 899 680.
To find out what it's like to spend a day volunteering with TCV, and to see a list of frequently asked questions, visit the TCV website.
Some more pictures of TCV work in Alexandra Park here.