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Working sessions
We are again planning to carry out some regular maintenance in and around East and West Hanney this year. We plan to work from 09:00 until noon, and as usual, the location will depend upon what needs to be done. Please add these dates to your diaries. It would be great if everyone could do at least one session during the year as it then spreads the load out.
*** Venue and work details will be advised each month by email to subscribers of our E-newsletter ***



We are looking for volunteers to organise each weekend, so please contact us via the contact form.

> Saturday 21st of December
Well the Good and the Just of the villages were out in force this morning – 26 volunteers turned out after the wettest week I can remember to enjoy the sunshine and get stuck into a problem that has been evident for some time. That is to clear a ditch obstructed by dead andliving trees, ivy, brambles and a whole lot more vegetation. Needless to say, the main task was accomplished with spectacular volumes of water released from the ditch alongside the footpath, the fields beyond and all the way to the Community Wood. Many thanksto Paul and James for leading two groups clearing areas around the churchyard and woodland, Dene for the use of his garden, his wife for the very welcome pots of tea, the lady with the biscuits, Paul in Hanney Spice for the car parking, Phil with the mincepies, David for pulling the trailer and especially Nick in the Plough for his warm and generous welcome of the thirsty workforce. Plenty of issues with the storm water road drains were identified to discuss with OCC Highways very shortly.
Thank you to the volunteers – David S, David C, David B, David Br, Richard, Adrian, Keith, Phil, Meryl, Steph, Lamorna, Carleen, Myfanwy, Jane, Jim, Graham, Mark, Paul, Ian, Dickon, Bas, Dene, Trevor, James, Clive and new recruit Malcolm McG. It is not often we draw a crowd but plenty of interested onlookers today.
Thank you for all your efforts today and throughout the year. Plenty of ditches, culverts and drains to keep an eye on over Christmas and the New Year. Keep your wellies handy.

> Saturday 16th of November
Great turnout this morning of 17 volunteers to remove from Letcombe Brook broken branches, a fallen tree covered in ivy, which probably caused its demise, and two dense areas of brambles opened up for future maintenance access. Thank you to David S for pulling the trailer, purchased with a grant from East Hanney PC, Steph, James, Gill, Robin, Phil, Keith, Meryl, Mark, Guy, Jim, Jane, Ian, Dickon, David C, Clive F and Clive M. Hope that we see new recruit Robin at other working parties.
We need to maintain vigilance around the village for areas which are not being maintained adequately by the respective riparian owners whose responsibility it is to keep all waterways adjacent, on or under their properties free of obstructions to the flow of water. Much of Oxfordshire along all the water courses has flooding – we do not want it here.

> Saturday 19th of October
A great turnout in brilliant sunshine, even if a little cool at the start. Twelve volunteers soon warmed up making short work of removing the branches of another willow tree that had split and fallen across the Brook and removing some other branches of what was left of the tree to prevent one of them becoming the next problem. A significant amount of vegetation had built up around these branches during the past week of heavy rain. Vegetation was not the only unwanted material in the Brook, 4 bags of litter were removed between Lower Mill and the Iron Bridge. Why do people throw their rubbish, litter, bits of bicycles, car tyres, gin bottles, plastic bags, etc into this beautiful stretch of water?
Thank you to this month's volunteers Barry, Paul, Gill, Stella, Jane, Myfanwy, Ian, Dickon, Stewart, Oliver, Phil, Clive and especially Ari for the very welcome delicious cakes.

> Saturday 21st of September
Great turnout this morning to christen the Hanney Hut for a working party in bright and warm autumn sunshine.
Fourteen volunteers set to on the stretch below the Iron Bridge to reduce the amount of watercress and reeds in the Brook. Taking guidance from the Letcombe Brook Project officer approximately a quarter to a third of the growth was carefully removed to the banks leaving the stream less obstructed but still fast flowing. Some overhanging willow branches were trimmed back and an old log, wedged on a sandbank behind Brookside was also removed.
As always we need to thank the volunteers for giving up their time - Bob, Keith, Meryl, Mark, Steph, David S, Guy, Paul, James, Ian, Dickon, Stella, Phil and Clive M. Thank you also to those that sent their apologies well in advance, it really does help with planning.

> Saturday 17th of August
A good mornings work in the sunshine along both banks of the brook just above Dandridges Mill and Weir Farm. The boat had a good airing with Keith and Mark tackling all the debris and lower branches overhanging the brook whilst the remainder tackled a number of willow trees that had fallen or are threatening to fall into the brook. A big thank you to Stewart, David B, David S, Meryl, Paul, Adrian, Ian, Dickon, Jane and Jim who all got stuck into what was some heavy work.
A big thank you also to David Kirk and family who also got stuck in and provided a most welcome cup of tea and biscuit half way through the morning.

> Saturday 20th of July
What a great morning to be by the Letcombe Brook, our 8 volunteers carried out some essential clearance around Lower Mill. Ian, Dickon, Lamorna, Myfanwy and Oliver cleared the Lower Mill by-pass from the footpath gate to the Brook below the mill and checked back to the start of the by-pass where the pipes carry water running at high levels around the mill and back into the Brook. There were some areas that needed attention and a clear route has been re-established.
Stewart, David S and Clive M removed some overhanging branches and dead tree stumps just below the stone bridge and further downstream as well. The target for the day was to remove a very large tree trunk that has been lodged in the water for some time stuck in a narrow S-bend. It has now been cut into several pieces and is on the bank amongst the reeds.
Thank you to all the volunteers and especially to Ian and Dickon for towing the trailer to Lower Mill and back.

> Saturday 15th of June
We made further progress today in the quest to eliminate Himalayan Balsam from Letcombe Brook. Phil led a team of Steph, Mark and David B clearing a stretch from the water treatment works road towards the railway. Their efforts were rewarded by the passing of the Flying Scotsman!! They report there is still more to do here before the end of the month when flowering will be widespread if we don’t get to it first. Probably needs 2 more 2-hour sessions with at least two people. Many thanks to them.
Carleen, Ian, Dickon, Paul, David S, Keith, Meryl, Guy, Paul and Clive continued working the area between Poughley Farm and Philberds Manor’s fields as far as God’s Ditch. Building on the efforts last month one team worked further downstream and the others started at God’s Ditch and worked upstream. I was hoping both teams would meet but again there is still much to clear here before the end of the month too and more sessions need to be arranged if we are to complete our plan to have cleared HB from the railway line to the north end of the village. Areas we have cleared before are very evident and hopefully one or two more years will see all of our Brook clear of this invasive plant.

> Saturday 18th of May
A big thank you to Ian, Dickon, Charlotte, Bob, Myfanwy, Phil, Clive F, Meryl, Steph and Clive M for the significant amount of Himalayan Balsam pulled from the banks and edges of the Brook on Saturday morning. The efforts put in last year on this stretch below Lower Mill were evident but we still found plenty to work on as it takes several years to eliminate to manageable levels. There is plenty more that needs doing further downstream over the next couple of months before it starts to flower and then seed.
Keith, David S and David B finished off the external work needed on the Hanney Hut creating a step and a fine piece of flaunching! Great job.

> Saturday 20th of April
Great turnout this morning in Ebbs Lane with beautiful weather. Many thanks to Mark, Ian, Dickon, David B, Steph, Jim, Jane, Alistair, Adrian, Bob, Paul, Oliver, Stewart, Stella, Phil and Clive. Double thanks to Ian and Dickon for towing and returning the trailer.
We tackled three projects this morning. Firstly a large group of volunteers completed the maintenance work and clearance in God's Ditch which was started last month. The second group cleared some of the culverts, ditches and water channels along Ebbs Lane. Some issues were noted with blocked or partially blocked culverts that will require some intervention by the riparian owners, including a completely blocked second culvert beneath a driveway. A third group had the first go at clearing Himalayan Balsam from the Brook in that stretch between Poughley Farm and Philberds Manor's fields. There was a very large amount of HB showing already and this will need significant input and extra sessions this season to eradicate it from the village.

> Saturday 16th of March
Despite an overcast day the rain stayed away and the wind dropped somewhat from the nearly gale winds we have had recently. Mark, Bob, Ian and Dickon tackled Gods Ditch and cleared lots of small blockages caused by leaf litter and small twigs and branches. Ian stated that Gods Ditch would benefit from another visit later on to remove some heavier stuff which although not currently blocking the flow would benefit from being removed.
Dave S, Keith, Meryl, Alistair, Lamorna and Adrian tackled the Lower Mill over flow which again had backed up in places with leaf litter and what looked like numerous little Beaver dams. Needless to say that due to the hard work put in by both teams the ditch and overflow are now flowing freely. Carlene is thanked for the use of her drive and a big thanks to Ari and Annabelle for the box chocolates which were well received. All are thanked for their efforts and until the next time keep an eye out for the swans who are back in the brook and of course the water vole near the iron bridge.

> Saturday 16th of February
Cancelled as there is no work to do after last years achievements.

> Saturday 19th of January
A great turn out this morning despite the cold and drizzle – 16 volunteers displaying numerous skills and getting the job done efficiently. We are in good shape for the coming season. Numerous thank yous for making it happen: Ian and Dickon for collecting and returning the trailer, David and Ann for the workshop facilities, doughnuts, teas and coffees and Phil for the flapjacks.
For the record we thank Stella, Keith, Steph, Adrian, Ian, Dickon, David S, David B, Stewart, Graham, Guy, Myfanwy, Jane, Jim, Phil and Clive M.

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Himalayan balsam

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