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Lye Valley News


Forthcoming Work Parties

Work parties can be fun social occasions as well as giving you good exercise. You don’t need to come all day – why not come along and join in for an hour or so? Please bring lunch if staying all day, All tools supplied. Outdoor clothing and sturdy boots needed, refreshments provided at most work party events

Sun 15 October 2017: Raking cut reeds that choke the rare plants.  With OCV in the SOUTH fen SSSI 103pm. Some scything & lopping also possible. This is the most important work (simulating grazing) in the whole year for the health of the fen vegetation with all its rare plants and insects. Need lots of people, it’s good exercise and even if you could manage only an hour or two in that time, we welcome you. Tea, coffee, biscuits and good company as always. If you don’t know how to get to the south fen, access is off Lye Valley Road, Ring 07968 395243 when you arrive to be taken down to it. Wellies essential, all tools and gloves provided.

Sun 22 October 2017: Raking cut reeds that choke the rare plants.  With OCV in the NORTH fen SSSI 103pm.  Some scything & lopping also possible. This is the most important work (simulating grazing) in the whole year for the health of the fen vegetation with all its rare plants and insects. Need lots of people, it’s good exercise and even if you could manage only an hour or two in that time, we welcome you. Tea, coffee, biscuits and good company as always. Find us working adjacent to the boardwalk. Wellies essential, all tools and gloves provided.

Sun 5 November 2017: Geoconservation on Rock Edge with Oxon Geology trust 1.30-3.30pm. Help our amazing 160 million year old Jurassic Coral Reef exposure, unique in the UK!  Need to remove vegetation from the rock face so exciting fossils can be seen (bring tools such as old kitchen knife or screwdriver, good for prizing off ivy) and improve safe access to view the rock face by lopping back scrub and pulling nettles. Drinks, biscuits and good company as always, tools and gloves provided.

Midweek work sessions

These midweek sessions for Members of Friends of Lye Valley are on Wednesdays 9–11am

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Oxford Civic Society Visit to Lye Valley

Led by Dr Judy Webb

Sunday 3 June 2018 at 2.30pm

A chance to see the more attractive landscape and improvements in biodiversity achieved over the last few years of fen restoration on a circular walk through the Lye Valley Fen, along the Boundary Brook and the Churchill field at a time when the early flowers, including the common Spotted Orchid, will be out.

Booking necessary with the society, places limited to 20, takes about 1.5hrs.

Meet: Site entrance off The Slade, just south of Girdlestone Road. There is only a small footpath sign pointing into the valley at a track between houses, assemble just down from this. There is no parking in the footpath entrance and restricted (residents) parking nearby, so come by any means other than car, but if car unavoidable, there may be parking at Peat Moors Recreation field car park at the end of Peat Moors road (unless of course there is a sports event on in the recreation field).

Stout shoes, uneven ground for parts of walk.

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Local Plan Preferred Options Document

The Friends of Lye Valley response can be seen here

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Lye Valley granted new protective status

The Lye Valley's extraordinary hydrological and geomorphological features – its “Living Geology” – has been recognised by its new protective designation as Local Geology Site by the Oxfordshire Geology Trust:

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Judy Webb awarded Certificate of Honour

Dr Judy Webb, FOLV Chair, has been awarded the prestigious Certificate of Honour in recognition of her immense voluntary contribution to wildlife, the environment and green spaces in Oxford.

Judy receiving certificate

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Local Geology site proposal for Lye Valley

Oxfordshire Geology Trust have proposed the Lye Valley be designated a Local Geology Site in recognition of its extraordinary qualities: see application

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Open Day held on 25 June 2017

Information and photographs on website of Judy Webb

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Vision for the Lye Valley

The FOLV's Vision is to conserve and/or restore the whole of the Lye Valley as a natural continuous green area of land with a mosaic of different wet and dry habitats

See separate page

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Developments in the Lye Valley

The application to build four houses at Town Furze directly above the Lye Valley South Fen has been refused.
Full details here

The development at Warren Meadow is to go ahead:
see separate page

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Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT)

Join the Wild Oxford Project in Lye Valley
Outdoor clothing and sturdy boots needed.
Please contact Andy Gunn on andygunn@bbowt.org.uk
or 01865 775476 Ext. 237 or 07834 975162 for details of location.

All sessions run from 10am–3pm but feel free to come and go as you like on the day. Tasks to suit everyone.

Hot drinks and cake/biscuits are provided at all sessions, but please bring lunch if you plan to stay all day.

  • Future sessions to be announced
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Older news from the Friends of Lye Valley
can be found here


Oxford Times 1 September 2016

Left: Article from Oxford Times of 1 September 2016 about green spaces in Headington and the Local Plan

 

 

The Grass of Parnassus

The fragile and rare Grass of Parnassus, first named by Matthias de L’Obel in 1570 when he found it growing in Hogley Bog (ie the Lye Valley), flowered again at the end of August 2014, hidden amid squelchy pools cloudy with tufa. 

Dr Judy Webb has captured the stages of the buds’ unfolding in a series of pictures, from the male stage with anthers folded over stigma and the false nectary staminodes clear, through anthers bending out and opening one at a time stage, to the female stage where the anthers are gone, the ovary turns pink, and the stigmas are now uncovered and receptive to pollen on top of the ovary. Then follows the new seed pod. Characteristically one heart-shaped leaf encircles the stem

It was first noted in this wetland in 1640, but has probably been here since the last Ice Age. The Lye Valley is the most southerly place that the grass is found in England.

Oxford Mail, 30 August 2014:
Ice Age flower is still quite at home in balmy Headington

Grass of Parnassus thumbnail

 

 

“Flowers ’n’ Bees” stroll round Rock Edge on 17 July 2016

Passing round insects 17 July 2016 Dr Judy Webb showed us some of the varieties of bee attracted by the wild flower meadow, and a parasitic wasp


Judy Webb's tour of the Lye Valley 6 July 2016: Oxford Mail report
Walk, July 2016


January 2016

Frost
Frost transforms the Lye Valley

Elder
Pithy elder stems will make homes
for red mason bees

Boardwalk
Oxford City Council repairs the boardwalk

Blackthorn
Volunteers bash old blackthorn to encourage
regrowth for rare hairstreak butterflies

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Did You Know?

Proportionately there are more rare plants in the Lye Valley than in any other city site – at 20 species this is a third of the 61 species on the County Rare Plants Register found within all the nature sites in and around Oxford that are managed by Oxford City Council.

See our Chair, Dr Judy Webb’s, detailed report on the state of the Lye Valley for the Wild Oxford Project.  It’s the ONLY fen (alkaline bog) to show such fast return to its former glory in Oxfordshire.  Formerly there were 10 really good alkaline fens.  Of these, 8 are being lost to natural succession to wet woodland through lack of management. Only Cothill fen and the Lye Valley fen are actually improving, due to having management. The Lye Valley fen – thanks to its volunteers, Oxford City Council, BBOWT, Oxford Conservation Volunteers – and not forgetting the Friends of Lye Valley – is getting better and better!  But it still needs our help and protection.

Read all about it!

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Oxford City Council consultation on Draft Corporate Biodiversity Strategy 2015–2020
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Annual General Meetings

The Annual General Meetings of the Friends of Lye Valley are held at St Francis Church Hall, Hollow Way in August. The agreed minutes of each AGM can be seen below.

2013 AGM   •    2014 AGM   •    2015 AGM   •    2016 AGM

Friends of Lye Valley, 2013–2017