If you’d like to join the FOGG Working Party every Thursday morning at Glen Goyle, there are things each week that need doing – from weeding and clearing and cutting back, to planting and planning.

Photo: John McGregor of FOGG


Here are the regular weekly bulletins detailing jobs for volunteers:

Thursday 16th June:

Continue on from last week’s tasks:  First working party has met along the Glen – Friends of Glen Goyle

Carry on clearing ivy and brambles along the path from Manor Road

Thursday 23rd June:

Jobs as per 16th June; working party should be joined by EDDC Horticultural Engineer Paul Fealey

Thursday 30th June:

From Paul Fealey: “We will concentrate on restoring the bamboos in the way I showed volunteers; we will continue tackling brambles and ivies, and will work from the Sid Road pavement to cut back the growth coming through and over the railings, which should let in more light.”

Thursday 7th July:

Last week saw some discoveries: Palms in Glen Goyle – Friends of Glen Goyle

For this session, there should be more clearing to ‘let in more light’.

Thursday 14th July:

The clearing has continued – with a view to replacement understorey planting: 7th July 2022 – Friends of Glen Goyle

With plenty more clearing needing to be done for this next session!

Thursday 21st July:

EDDC horticultural officer Paul Fealey will be down at the Goyle giving advice and guidance on next steps. See: Mentoring for FOGG volunteers – thanks to the District Council – Friends of Glen Goyle

Thursday 28th July:

More clearing of undergrowth and filling lots more ‘dumpy bags’ for collection.

Thursday 4th August:

A note from EDDC horticultural officer Paul Fealey: “I won’t be able to make it to Glen Goyle this week because I am heavily involved with activities and events during Love Parks week. Also, I doubt that there will be a collection of the green waste this week due to the team being taken off their normal duties because of the folk festival.

“I drove past the entrance on Manor Road today and it looked like there was just the 1 filled bag, which means the working party will have others to use this Thursday. I will organise a collection for early next week, when normality returns.”

Thursday 11th August: 

Paul Fealey lets us know: “This Thursday’s session will be my last session until Thursday September 1st, but the bags will be emptied after each interim session and then placed by the bridge before 10am by my new protégé. I will soon create a list of jobs for the next few weeks that the FOGGies can cherry pick from.”

Thursday 18th August:

The Glen has had some much-needed rain, but it should be relatively dry (and cool!) when getting on with the usual jobs of clearing undergrowth.

Thursday 25th August:

More clearing of ivy and brambles and the like – to give things a bit of breathing space: “Managing for nature” along the Glen – Friends of Glen Goyle

Thursday 1st September:

Unfortunately, Paul Fealey won’t be able to make it – but, fortunately, the expected rain shouldn’t hit the Glen until the afternoon! Meanwhile, the clearing is going very well.

Thursday 8th September:

Continue working in the ‘lawn area’ – with lots of bramble and scrub to clear. EDDC horticulturalist Paul should  be with the working party next week – but still plenty to do!

Thursday 15th September:

We will be expecting a visit from the chair of the Town Council’s environment committee: so, plenty of photo opps whilst digging away at the bramble roots! And today we will also be expecting the return of Paul, EDDC’s horticulturalist, after some weeks away: he’ll continue to provide expert guidance.

Thursday 22nd September:

It’s very much a matter of continuing to clear away the debris. See the most recent newsletter:  Late, late summer 2022 newsletter  – Friends of Glen Goyle

Thursday 29th September:

Paul will be on site again to mentor the volunteers.

Thursday 6th October:

Despite the rain last week and despite the forecast for this week, there’s plenty of cutting back to do under the shelter of the large canopy.

Thursday 13th October:

Following on from last week’s work digging over beds which have been cleared, there should be more happening in these areas.

Thursday 20th October:

EDDC Horticultural Officer Paul Fealey is now attending the working party sessions every week, to guide the volunteers through the next stages of cutting back overhanging branches blocking out light and beginning to dig in bedding plants where areas have been cleared of masses of ivy.

Thursday 27th October:

Paul Fealey says: “Can you also remind volunteers that Thursday 27th will be a mass planting exercise, and if they can come earlier/stay later, then it would help a lot. And if they can bring a spade/trowel, then that would help, too.”

Thursday 3rd November:

A message from EDDC officer Paul Fealey:

“I told the gang last week that I would drop off dumpy (formerly ‘tonne’) bags for them today so they have them [for Thursday]. Well, this is a case of best laid plans. I got so wet and miserable that I drove straight home without stopping and picking up the bags at the Sidmouth depot and secreting them in Glen Goyle. The result is there won’t be bags again tomorrow. Sorry!

“Hopefully, there will be a lot of digging beds over in preparation for next week that they won’t need bags.”

Thursday 10th November:

Following last week’s clearing in the dapples 3rd November 2022 – Friends of Glen Goyle

… this week will involve more putting in of bedding plants along the path.

Thursday 17th November:

Carrying on the good work of planting – and of clearing beds of suffocating ivy and bramble!

Thursday 24th November:

A general note: If Paul the EDDC horticultural officer is not around to guide, the volunteers themselves will know what needs doing: not only will several have been there the previous week and will know what to do next, but the working party is becoming so familiar with the Glen that they can find their way around the tasks that need doing.

So, just turn up between the showers and join in!

Thursday 1st December:

Last week half a dozen volunteers showed up, despite the changeable weather: 24th November 2022 – Friends of Glen Goyle

And everyone knew what they were doing – so it’s absolutely no problem to show up as there’ll always be jobs to do and working party members to show what’s to be done!

Thursday 8th December:

The weather should be merry and bright!

Thursday 15th December:

A message from volunteer Phil Lee from last week:

“The general consensus is that we continue the Thursday morning sessions throughout the winter. There is no obligation to turn up, or stay, and the weather will certainly be a big driver of attendance numbers, but there is always something to do. “

Thursday 19th January:

Work has been carrying on with cutting back the massive overhang of brambles on the lawn area – which can carry on next time!

Thursday 26th January:

As with last week, cutting away at overhanging branches of bushes on the lawn area means that that area can be really opened up and light get to the grass.

Thursday 2nd February:

“Clearing more of the dense vegetation that has swamped so much of the Goyle.”

“Opening up the ground to some daylight, which will help improve biodiversity.”

Thursday 9th February:

“The next stage in this area, following a bit more clearance, will be to decide which further trees (a few of them are dead, swamped by ivy) should be removed (expert help required for the removal). And to come up with a ground cover planting scheme.” 2nd February 2023 – Friends of Glen Goyle

Thursday 16th February:

“There is possibly one more session needed to finish initial clearance in this area. We are mindful that we will soon have to start ‘back at the beginning’ and commence the maintenance regime. We also feel that the time has come to seek further guidance and help with the removal of larger plants (mainly dead and ill-placed self seeded trees), and to commence further planting.” 9th February 2023 – Friends of Glen Goyle

Thursday 23rd February:

“With spring just around the corner, maybe we should spend some time in the southern section, ensuring that the brambles and ivy that we cleared in the autumn and winter, do not return again, and to weed around the new planting. And maybe some (supervised) pruning of existing plants.”  16th February 2023 – Friends of Glen Goyle

The intention is also to have a ‘site-visit’ or walk-around, following on from the questionnaire looking at planning for the year: Friends of Glen Goyle – January 2023 Questionnaire – Friends of Glen Goyle

Thursday 2nd March:

Following on from last week’s site visit…

The jobs we can now get on with on the riverside section: including more pruning, and lots of weeding. 

Thursday 9th March:

Continue bagging up material from the lawn spoil heap ready for removal and sorting larger branches for either chipping or cutting up into short lengths to form bug friendly stacks.

Thursday 16th March:

More dealing with the pile of cuttings.

Going ‘back to the top’ of the Glen to start weeding between the new under-storey plants and to start cutting down spindly trees/bushes to prepare for more under-storey planting.

Thursday 23rd March:

“Next week we will do a bit more to clear the pile on the lawn, and carry on weeding. Plus anything else that takes our fancy”: 16th March 2023 – Friends of Glen Goyle

Thursday 30th March:

“Some progress with the rubbish pile to report: the six full bags have been removed and so far, two empty ones returned. There is plenty of work to carry on with if any of the working party do return this week.”

Thursday 6th April:

Carry on cutting back and adding to the pile! Plenty of weeding to do!

Thursday 13th April:

Clearing and weeding – all going very well! 6th April 2023 – Friends of Glen Goyle

EDDC Horticulturalist Paul should be back from leave next week.

Thursday 20th April:

More filling of those big dumpy bags – and clearing of bamboo.

Thursday 27th April:

Working around different areas of the Glen – looking at planning for preparing for planting over spring and summer

Plus the usual clearing…

Thursday 4th May:

Trying to get to the last bags full of debris on the lawn. Clearing other areas of too many strangling weeds.

Thursday 11th May:

“Now that the volunteers do not have to spend most of the time clearing the large pile of debris, can they please go back to the main entrance on Manor Road and work their way through the beds to remove a lot of the weeds that have re-emerged, especially the colt’s foot around the new bin and opposite the badger sett?” – request from EDDC Horticultural Officer Paul Fealey

Thursday 18th May:

At the northern section: Continue with the weeding!

And start firming up planting plans, making use of maps and photos.

Thursday 25th May:

Continue thinning and weeding.

Also: Planning for FOGG’s first anniversary next month!

Thursday 1st June:

Weeding and clearing beds on the southern section in anticipation of more late spring planting

Thursday 8th June:

“Obviously this is the holiday season and a quiet time for the FOGG helpers ” Japanese maples along the Glen – Friends of Glen Goyle

Otherwise, as above!

Thursday 15th June:

More clearing to allow understorey to breathe – and more keeping the weeds at bay to allow the new plants some space.

Thursday 22nd June:

Walking through the Glen to take plans further forward: finalising the southern section’s planting (to be done late summer); working on the northern section’s planting (including clearing more areas in preparation); determining which infrastructure is needed (benches and boards)