Slow worms

As it warms up we can expect the slow worms to start emerging from the nature reserve. You may find them in your compost heap, under any black plastic mulch, or basking anywhere warm. Remember, they are NOT snakes, nor dangerous. They are completely harmless to us, but do eat slugs.

They are beautiful and unusual, and also protected by law – please treasure them and encourage your allotment neighbours to do the same.

slow worm held in hand

More on ticks, Lyme disease and deer

Hi all,

Some extra info re last weeks post on Lyme disease:

  1. The plotholder concerned is up and about and doing ok with the help of antibiotics – our best wishes to her.
  2. To transmit Lyme disease, ticks have to be on you for several hours. So a quick check on returning home and removal of any found is a good preventative. A newly attached tick looks like a little black pinhead – if they’ve been they for a while, more like a grey blister.
  3. Ticks hang out in long grass – if you keep yours short and avoid walking through any on the way in, your risk is reduced.
  4. We have been asked whether we can just get rid of the deer to remove the problem. Unfortunately there is no “just” about it and we don’t anticipate being able to do this. We have consulted with the City Council and been advised that permission for shooting would, not surprisingly, not be granted in a built up area, and that surrounding the entire site with deer proof fencing would be both extremely expensive and not necessarily successful. Members at one other city site did say that they had previously had a deer problem but none had been seen for a couple of years, so there is hope.

So, we hope for a full and fast recovery for the current victim, and advise everyone else to take care and keep an eye out for the little blighters (ticks, not deer).

Lyme Disease – please be aware

A plotholder has recently been diagnosed with Lyme disease, a potentially serious illness, which they are believed to have picked up from a tick bite, on the allotment site. Lyme is transmitted by ticks, small blood-sucking creatures which also feed on deer, which as you probably know are present on our site.

If you notice a bite developing a bullseye colouration as shown, please consult your doctor straight away and ask about Lyme disease. With prompt antibiotic treatment, the more serious symptoms of the disease can be avoided. This colouration does not always occur, if you develop unexplained flu-like symptoms please also consult your doctor and again, do mention the possibility of Lyme disease

A classic bull's-eye Lyme disease rash on an arm

More information can be found on the government website here or the NHS site here.

Fruit sale

Many thanks to Andy Howard for a highly informative and practical talk on summer pruning on Saturday. If you are winter pruning for growth, you should be summer pruning to manage it for fruiting!

If you missed the event but would still like to buy from Andy, his website is here .


Dear All, you may have noticed the pile of rubbish by the shop. Some of this was dumped, presumably by plotholders, in the Children’s Allotment’s large white skip. As the pay by the kilo for waste disposal, they are understandably unwilling to to have us use their skip, and have removed the rubbish. In addition, people have added more rubbish to the pile by the shop.

As a site we have no regular waste collection from the collection and no prospect of affording one. It is up to all plotholders to dispose of their own rubbish, other than when we hire a skip in the autumn for this purpose. We do this only once a year due to the high cost (which must be funded through rent monies). Dumping rubbish anywhere else on site means that the committee, who are all volunteers, have to deal with it on behalf of everyone. This is not what we signed up for! Furthermore, flytipping is both against our rules and illegal, and anyone found to be dumping rubbish on site will be dealt with accordingly. Please deal with your own rubbish by taking it home for waste collection or to the dump!

Oxford Urban Wildlife Group

Many of you will have noticed the enormous amount of work that has been done over the winter in Boundary Brook Nature Reserve. The EWAA management committee have been delighted to see things finally happening, and would like to express our appreciation of the hard work put in by the new OUWG team, as well as the City Council and BBOWT staff. Works will be ongoing, but a fantastic start has been made. We would encourage any interested plotholders to join the OUWG for only £5 (or £8 per family) to keep in touch with what’s happening on site and future events.

Events – fruit sale, summer party

Andy Howard of the Heritage Fruit Company will be with us on the morning of 30th March selling his fantastic fruit trees and bushes, and talking on fruit management. Watch this space for further details and a stock list for ordering in advance.

Date for your diaries: 8th June, the EWAA summer event! Mike Yeadon is organising, please contact him if you can help out:

CONTACT: MIKE 07876030756.

We need: helpers to join the team, gazebos, food donations, raffle gifts and anything you think would add to having a great day.


The big white skip in the Children’s Allotment area behind our shop was paid for by that group and is for their use only. Please don’t dump rubbish in it. If you are responsible for the items already left in it and now in front of the shop please arrange to remove them from the site. Thanks.

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