Concern about the future of Aston’s Eyot led to well-attended meetings in March and April 2010 with a view to securing the Eyot’s future and avoiding both unsympathetic management and deterioration of the environment due to lack of any mamangement at all. A wildlife- and community-friendly outline management plan was proposed and generally endorsed by the April meeting.
A further meeting in July set up the Friends with a provisional committee and a mandate to devise formal aims, a constitution and a structure to take forward management ideas. This was followed by a formal meeting in September which endorsed a constitution, agreed a subscription, elected a new committee and thus got the ball rolling in a formal way.
The aims of the Friends, adopted in the constitution are:
1: To protect, care for, and manage or assist in the management of Aston’s Eyot for wildlife, and as a wild area.
2: To promote continuing open access to the public for quiet enjoyment of the area.
3: To maintain and where necessary restore the variety of wildlife habitats including woodland, scrub, grassland, orchards, river banks and aquatic habitats.
4: To survey and record species of fauna and flora present, reporting on the results of surveys where appropriate.
5: To involve the wider public in activities such as working parties, wildlife events and other appropriate events.
The aims of the Friends below apply primarily to Aston’s Eyot itself, but also to adjacent areas and the local river corridor where relevant. The Friends will work closely with any body (such as the existing Iffley Fields Community Nature Plan group) working for nature conservation in the East Oxford River Corridor and the preservation of local open and green spaces.
The intent is to manage the area, retaining its characteristic rough scrubby nature, with the agreement of Christ Church College, and gradually enhance the area, by tackling some of the huge areas of nettle and thistles, eliminating invasive knotweed, encouraging wild flower habitats for butterflies and other insects, removing accumulated rubbish & litter (mostly left by rough sleepers), keeping the smaller paths open and generally encouraging quiet community use.
The Friends need funds for Public Liability Insurance (so Christ Church has no liability for any accidents involving the Friends), and for tools and equipment to carry out management tasks. Hence to help in our work we ask supporters of our aims to join us and pay an annual subscription of £5 (£3 concessions) – see on the tab below to download a membership form.
We look forward to seeing many of you down on Aston’s Eyot.