Wednesday 14th July saw a workforce of 13 Friends of Bicester North Station and 13 employees of Story Contracting filling the raised beds which Story had built, weeding and spreading fresh wood bark on the main flower bed on Platform 2. It all looks fantastic but now our babies need daily watering in this dry spell. Chiltern Railways staff and passengers alike have shown their appreciation for the improvements made. Watch this space for more to come!
AS OF TUESDAY 25th APRIL 2021
Following Government guidance, we are resuming work parties, observing appropriate precautions. Volunteers are asked to bring their own drink and gloves. Tools are provided.
We can work in split groups of 6 or so, or in larger groups up to 16, where the project allows for plenty of space between workers. Bring a mask just in case but most times they aren’t needed.
See the Programme page for the latest work party and RSVP to attend, please.
Friends of Bicester North Station (a.k.a. Bicester Green Gym, for now) took a day off from gardening and courtesy of Chiltern Railways, enjoyed train travel to our comrades in Solihull, Dorridge and Leaminton Spa, hoping to gain insight and ideas in the running of a Friends Group. We were joined by Paul Webster of ACORP who help link up groups, give training, advice and funding. The pictures say it all. We were well impressed by what we saw, the hospitality and the fun.
First stop, Friends of Solihull Station. Lovely planted beds and unusual tiles in the underpass.
Finally, Leamington Spa, one of the longest established Friends groups (and average age of volunteers to match) was an exemplary display of award winning planting, imagination, restoration. Not enough space to put on all the pictures to do it justice, but suffice to say it is well worth another visit.
Note we almost always start work even if the weather is forecast bad. We have only been rained off 3 or 4 times in all our years! For tasks out of Bicester we meet at the Bure Park Co-Op for car sharing at 9:15am, unless it is further afield, when it may be earlier still.
As seen on Facebook, got this message for our work clearing up in the woodland walk: “Sincere thanks to all members of Green Gym, who did such an outstanding job of clearing so much rubbish (& destruction of trees/shrubs), from areas of Bure Park on 3/7/18. Sadly some park visitors don’t appreciate its beauty, nor the danger of certain ‘litter’ to our dogs. So appreciate your tireless hard work; especially in these high temperatures. With gratitude“. Makes it all worthwhile!
See you soon to burn off some calories!
2018 has got off to an exciting start:
On 6th February we celebrated a new birth – Friends of Bicester North – as 15 people from Bicester Green Gym, 2 from Wyevale Garden Centre and 3 from Burley, converged on the London-bound platform to start transforming the 90-metre long flower bed which had lain forgotten since its construction 2011. Admittedly many of the plants had continued to survive but were failing to thrive. The whole area was in need of some TLC so we started weeding! It will need further visits before the renewal begins. Wyevale will kindly donate their time and skills to landscape and re-plant the area. Bicester Green Gym will add extra labour and we hope that new people will want to come along and join us. The idea is that a new group will form, which will work to their own timetable, to keep the station looking good all year round. They will have their own tools and shed, water butt and composting bays provided by Wyevale, by permission of Chiltern Railways. We are hoping local arts or gardening groups may want to add decorative touches, perhaps in the form of sculpture, functional planters or bird feeders. We are inviting schools to design a logo for the new group which will be displayed on hi-vis jackets and new noticeboard. Chiltern Railways will offer the winning child’s family tickets for a day out on the train. The next weeding work party will be on Tuesday 6th March if anyone wants to be involved at this early stage.
A couple of days later we were celebrating the 20th birthday of Sonning Common Green Gym, the first one to be established by Dr. William Bird and colleagues. The group marked this by inviting all the Oxfordshire Green Gyms, Reading GG and Newbury and Thatcham GG to join them in a great scrub bash on Watlington Hill on the morning of Thursday 8th February. This is a National Trust nature reserve with fantastic views over the Oxfordshire plain, and we were provided with plenty of work by Reserve warden Jerry Page, who was marking his own celebration in retiring from the job. There were bonfires with jacket potatoes baking in the ashes for lunch at the end of the session. Dr. William Bird, who started up the Green Gym idea, was at the session as well as the current leader of The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) who manage the setting up of new Green Gym groups. In fact the title “Green Gym” is now protected and shouldn’t be used for the outdoor exercise equipment often found in parks. All gave inspirational words of encouragement. Dr. Bird quoted “I used to have axes and loppers in my surgery alongside my medical equipment – all very disconcerting for any patients coming in for minor surgery”! At the end of the day we cut and burned a huge amount of scrub (for which the wild flowers will be grateful in the course of time), new friendships formed and no tools were lost! As usual with Green Gym the tea break and lunch were high points (literally), overlooking the views with the red kite birds flying overhead. In all, there were 49 people and 6 Green Gyms on the site. As someone said on the day, “Why lift weights you don’t need to lift at a conventional gym, when you can do something constructive and tangible using hand tools on a meaningful project with Green Gym?”
The 12 Days of Christmas – Green Gym Version!
On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
a bow saw in a pear tree.
On the second day of Christmas ……………….,
2 pairs of gloves and a ………………………….…,
On the 3rd day of Christmas ……………………,
3 welly boots , ….., ……..
On the 4th day of Christmas ……………………,
4 calling Bea !!, …., etc,
On the 5th day of Christmas……………………,
5 sharp spades, ….., etc,
On the 6th day of Christmas……………………,
6 friends a forking, ……, etc,
On the 7th day of Christmas…………………….,
7 people planting, ……, etc,
On the 8th day of Christmas…………..………..,
8 piles of chippin’s,…..,etc,
On the 9th day of Christmas……………………,
9 pickers picking, …., etc,
On the 10th day of Christmas………………….,
10 dudes a digging,……, etc,
On the 11th day of Christmas…………….……,
11 rascals raking,….., etc,
On the 12th day of Christmas………..………..,
12 people pruning,……., etc.
Sandra Pollington, Dec 2016