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Friends' Work Days

The Friends of Alexandra Park occasionally invite members to help with maintenance work in the park grounds.  Dates are announced in our newsletter to members, and on our Home page.

This page shows reports of some of our past work days. 

See TCV for work days organised by The Conservation Volunteers.

April Conservation Work Party

More sunshine for the volunteers in April. Bramble is regrowing strongly at this time of year, but we are making progress pushing it back.

During the work we saw some of the Yellow Meadow Ants which produce the anthills in the Butterfly Meadow - sorry no good picture.

Also there were some Oak Apples (a type of gall produced by a wasp) found on a Oak Tree in the area - impressive (pictured).



March Conservation Work Party

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A dozen enthusiastic volunteers gathered in the Butterfly Meadow to continue our project to rid the area of brambles and allow grass and wild flowers to dominate this South facing slope.

Brambles were snipped and then dug out with mattocks. Had quite a bit of sunshine for first half of our work....

At our break for juice and home made cake (thanks Jane), a nursery web spider (pictured) decided to try out our picnic blanket.





Spring Litter Clear-Up in Alexandra Park

Thanks to an enthusiastic group of volunteers more litter was evicted from the Park after our first session last month.

The weather was sunny to aid our work.

This was all part of the National "Great British Spring Clean".







Litter Clean Up - February


“Winter is a good time to get out into the park and search out the litter which has blown into the undergrowth. A gallant band of members of the Friends did just this on February 4th, unearthing not only the usual haul of cans, bottles, plastic bags and crisp packets, but also a vacuum cleaner, children’s toys and a set of outdoor children’s furniture. However the prize for the most surprising find went to a life size inflatable doll (not inflated).

This was the first of two litter clean-ups we have planned for the park. The next coincides with “The Great British Spring Clean” weekend. We will meet at the Bedford Road entrance to the park at 10.30am on March 4th. Do join us.”



January 2017 Conservation Work Party

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We continued to beat back the brambles to restore the habitat of the Butterfly Meadow. Winter is a good time to see and remove the brambles and it’s rewarding to see the difference we are making in this corner of the Park.

(Bramble picture from the Autumn.)







Friends November Work in the Butterfly Meadow 

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Superb, scintillating sunshine for our November work in the Butterfly Meadow. We were nine enthusiastic volunteers gathered to further improve the area by cutting back another stretch of the area and removing the bramble and tree saplings.

The area is a warm, South facing slope which helped to make the Friends work more enjoyable. The great thing with working this time of year is that the brambles won't grow quickly back and we can further appreciate the restoration of the habitat.

All that is very well, but we were also very appreciative of our break the hot apple juice and excellent biscuits provided by Jane.

Bird life? A couple of robins were eager watchers on ready to benefit from our digging of the ground. Higher up in the trees, Trevor pointed out the sound of goldcrests in the area.


Conservation Work Party, September 2016

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Perfect weather for pulling up brambles... Quite warm once we started working. There was further clearance of bramble around the edges of the area and some good removal of smaller brambles trying to encroach again on areas already cleared.

A nice pause in the middle to have a sip of juice with biscuits.

Pictured is one of the dozen volunteers who turned up on the day with a haul of the invaders.




Conservation Work Party, August 2016

Not quite as hot as the day before... ...it only got up to about 27 deg C for the determined ten volunteers (count carefully in the photo and add one for skiving photographer). We tackled some of tree saplings trying re-establish and coppice stumps throwing up growth.

It was also interesting and heartening to see plenty of ragwort out to provide nectar for the insects (visitors and passers by). Butterflies seen included Small and Large White, Common Blue, Gatekeeper and Meadow Brown.



Conservation Work Party, July 2016


Despite the threat of rain, a large and determined group tackled one of the remaining areas of bramble in the Butterfly Meadow. It is gratifying to see the wildflowers and waving grasses in the areas previously cleared – evidence that our efforts are worthwhile.

Beating back the brambles in the Butterfly meadow is thirsty work, so a break for (non-alcoholic) refreshment is essential. (pic)





Conservation Work Party, June 2016


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As ordered in advance, sunshine for another work party morning in the Butterfly Meadow.....

The Summer Sun (yes there there has been a little) and the Summer Rains have conspired to invigorate the growth in the Butterfly Meadow. Unfortunately this has not just been the wild flowers.... ....bramble as well is fighting back against our eradication policy.

A good number of volunteers met up and cleared back some of the encroaching vegetation. During the lulls in work and the drink and 
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biscuit break we saw plenty of wild flowers and insects.

Gordon found a Light Arches Moth. A Ground Beetle was seen by Trevor, but escaped the camera. Also seen was a female Common Damselfly, a Dock Bug, and as for butterflies; Ringlet, Large Skipper and Small Skipper (pictured).

The first of the Rosebay Willowherb is coming out and Ragwort is also starting to flower joining the Knapweed in providing sustenance for the insect population.








Conservation Work Party, May 2016


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Yet again Helios blessed our efforts.... With the recent warmer weather, the brambles have started to emerge again and we were there to meet the threat.

There is, however, a lot more grass and wild flowers coming up inspiring us to continue the work. During the session, we identified some Common Mouse-Ear, Lesser Stitchwort and Red Clover among other wild flowers. Holly Blue and White butterflies flew past and a Peacock (pictured) stopped to bathe in the sun.

We enjoyed our morning session and especially our drink and snacks break in the middle! Come join us on another occasion.


Conservation Work Party, April 2016

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Again sunshine for our morning on the Butterfly Meadow. We are still removing brambles and the results can now be seen with more wild flowers and grass returning to this important ecological area.

Sorrel and Field Woodrush with its interesting flowers was one of the flowers spotted in the area.

Mattocks are the tool for the job with mini ones and full sized diggers (pictured).


Litter Pick, April 2016

Great progress made again by our litter pickers this month. They finished working around the edge of the cricket pitch and amassed a lot more rubbish.

It was especially gratifying to hear from Green Flag judges visiting the park soon after that they were astonished at how little litter there was around our Park. Thanks to all that took part.

Friends Working in the Butterfly Meadow, March 2016

Back to the good weather! A beautiful sunny day for the volunteers for our April work party. One problem to bring hot or cold refreshments? Solution - both were available.

There was a lot bramble that had been cut by the Park Contractors, John O'Conner and one the main jobs was to rake it uptransport it for removal from the site.

Bramble roots were then set upon.

A few overhanging branches were also removed.

One great spot during the session was a Brimstone Butterfly that flew backwards and forwards in the meadow before settling briefly. (pic)


Jays were spotted and a blackbird and robin observed our work, but the bird highlight was probably the pair of kestrels circling overhead.

Our next date is Wednesday, 27th April.



Spring Litter Clean-Up, March 2016


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After several years of deep cleaning in brambles on the South Slope, we moved our focus to near the Alexandra Park Club. 
We were not disappointed - there was plenty to occupy us. Luckily we had a turnout that at times reached 18 people. 

The bramble and ditch around the pitches was well filled with and cans and wrappers and by the time that we had finished about 2 dozen bags were full.

Great enthusiasm from our volunteers and we were happy see that we had made a great impression.

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Most litter lying around in the Park is cleared up quickly by Park Contractors, John O'Conner, we just concentrate on what is left.








February 2016, Work Party


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After a nice sunny day last time, drizzle greeted the volunteers for our February work session. Undeterred we moved some of the logs from the felled trees down to the edge of the field before resuming the removal of the bramble.

More progress was visible with cleared area growing and the opportunities for more wild flowers to populate the area ever greater.

Hot juice and chocolate biscuits were very welcome with Park Manager, Mark Evison coming along to see the work.

The rain had by then stopped and all was right with the world.... Join us next time on March 22nd.


January 2016, Work Party

Another great turn out on another lovely sunny day to make further progress beating back the brambles. Park Manager, Mark Evison came along to inspect the work and offer encouragement. Dan Hackett (with a four-legged friend) also made an appearance. He will be giving our March Talk on Insects and he gave us some tips on what to look out for. 
No cider for refreshments bearing in mind the sharp tools we were using, but hot apple juice was very welcome this time of year. We saw early the Spring coming on with a hawthorn already in leaf. The picture shows some of us at work as well showing some of the area already cleared.  

December 2015, Work Party

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A great turnout on a lovely sunny day for our last work party of the year. We continued our work beating back the brambles and restoring the habitat of the Butterfly Meadow.

After a good first bash, we relaxed with hot apple and biscuits to reinvigorate the work force.

Returning to the job, we were pleased to see real progress and transformation happening to this pocket of the park.


October 2015, Work Party





Pushing back the brambles further in the Butterfly Meadow with a good number of helpers. Two stages firstly the brambles are cut back and then the roots are grubbed out. All this will help preserve this habitat of South facing grassland. It is a great area for insects and on this occasion a large Ichneumon (Ophion obscuratus) was seen (pic).







September 2015, Work Party

Once again a large trailer was filled with brambles and self-seeded saplings by the hard-working group of Friends clearing the Butterfly Meadow. Despite thorns, ravenous midges and a torrential downpour, the group made good progress. The west end of the meadow is now clear of an enormous bramble patch and more grassy areas are being exposed along the northern edge.


August 2015, Work Party



The Friends’ organised another conservation work party  in August.

We were happy to have a great turnout - thanks to all that came. Brambles were reduced from previous grassy areas. Also some unwanted saplings were culled. Progress is very obvious if you would like to take a look and hopefully more grass will colonise the cleared area.

We would like to think that this effort may have contributed to a recent sighting of a rare bird, the wryneck, in this area.....



July 2015, Work Party


We continued work in the Butterfly Meadow keeping control of the brambles and the emerging sapling trees. The sun blessed us and found out why this area is called the Butterfly Meadow. We saw a total of 8 different Butterflies and one colourful moth (Six Spot Burnet Moth). This reassures us that our work is well worth doing. The butterflies were mainly on the knapweed and ragwort. Also a large Emperor Moth caterpillar was seen munching on a young oak.

List of Butterflies seen:

Large Skipper
Essex Skipper
Speckled Wood
Large White
Meadow Brow
Gatekeeper
Holly Blue (pictured)
Ringlet










June 2015, Work Party

Colourful Burnet moths, Large White, Ringlet, Meadow brown and Small Skipper butterflies all came flew round to inspect our work.

We further cleared bramble and other vegetation in two areas of the Butterfly meadow to keep those critters happy.

The break for a drink and biscuits was especially welcome in this hot weather.

Finishing off it was a delight to see the various wild flowers blooming all around us ... Rosebay Willowherb, Oxford Ragwort, Knapweed, Creeping Buttercup, Birds-foot Trefoil and White Clover.


May 2015, Work Party

Dodging the odd shower, the Friends continued work clearing brambles in patches of the Butterfly meadow. Picture shows typical bramble plant trying to take over. It was great to see the difference to the slope at the end of the session.





















April 2015, Work Party

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Peacocks, Brimstones, Speckled Woods and Orange Tips were all seen admiring the work of a small band of volunteers removing bramble from the Butterfly Meadow. The sun shone and warmed the task. A break with juice and biscuits completed a worthwhile and enjoyable morning.










March 2015, Work Party

Old hands and new faces got together to clear away some brambles and tree saplings from the Butterfly Meadow. This is an important grassland area facing South with ants helping the ecosystem.

The weather was gloomy, but the Friends were in good cheer especially at "Break Time" when hot drinks and biscuits were partaken.

Quite a lot of progress was made and we plan to come back next month to continue the work.


February 2015, Work Party


On a blue sky day the Friends of Alexandra Park helped by Mark Evison, the Park Man
ager and Michael Conway of John O'Conner planted shrubs by the Park Information Centre. The idea was to help create a more attractive environment for both humans and wildlife. 
So what did we plant? Hypericum, honeysuckle (2 differenct types), pyracantha, cornus (also 2 types), mahonia, berberis, contoneaster and hawthorn.

Some holes were easy to dig, but part of the ground seemed to be mostly brick and rubble. So after finishing the job by topping off with wood chipping, we were very happy to sit down outside in the sun and relax with a cup of tea and cake.



Annual Litter Clear-up



No r
ain and with the sun trying to break through, the litter-pickers gathered on a Sunday in mid February. We ventured into the deepest brambles and retrieved the cans and bottles carefully lodged there.

A dozen or so bags of rubbish were collected, but the good news was that this was less trash per bramble patch than last year. The park is getting cleaner.

Refreshments were gratefully received by volunteers at the end of the session. Thanks to all who came.


January 2015, Work Party

The Friends came back to the Butterfly Meadow to make a start on removing some ivy and brambles on the eastern edge and to remove some of the tree saplings that were sprouting up all over the area.

Half way through the session, the sun came out to encourage the workers! We then paused and were very thankful for some hot apple juice and biscuits provided by Jane and Robyn.

We returned to finish off the ivy clearance and branch out into more sapling reduction before calling it a day.




December 2014, Work Party

A good work session in December finishing clearing saplings from the path by North View Road and growth from the base of the fruit trees alongside the Redston Field. Two trailer loads were removed by John O'Conner's and the difference can really be seen.




October 2014, Work Party

On a damp Monday morning a small, enthusiastic group of volunteers met up near the Redston Field. The aim was to trim back root stock growth and clear some of the vegetation below the fruit trees (mostly Cockspur thorn and Crab Apple).

Time was made for drink and biscuits and a discussion of future sessions...

John O'Conner's (the Park Contractor) provided the means to removed the pruned material - two truck loads.

A lot of a progress had been made and a side benefit was to open up the path somewhat to make it feel a safer place.


May 2014, Work Party


A Working Party met to continue to clear some of the brambles and saplings that are threatening to take over this valuable habitat.

We counted 10 different species of trees all trying to overwhelm the area.

We removed a considerable amount and were very grateful to pause half way through our session for a cool drink.....


March 2012,  Working Party

A number of Friends of Alexandra Park got together to clear the Butterfly Meadow of saplings.

See Butterflies for an explanation of the relationship between ants and butterflies, and why this work is helpful to butterflies.