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  • hilly 5:44 pm on January 1, 2015
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    Castlewood footpath open again 

    Castlewood footpath looking towards Eltham Common

    Castlewood footpath looking towards Eltham Common

    The footpath next to the former Cottage Hospital on Shooters Hill has re-opened, nearly two years after it was closed “permanently” by the MoD. Clive Barbour, who has been campaigning for the footpath to be reopened e-mailed:

    On 21 September 2013 you kindly posted some pictures and details of my attempts to get the Royal Borough of Greenwich to reopen the footpath between Shooters Hill Road and Academy Place.
    Since then I have been emailing the relevant official on a bi-monthly basis.
    The official told me in September this year that he would be getting legal advice on my contention that the path should be reopened in the basis that it had been used for 30 years by myself and others.
    Although I have yet to hear back from him I am delighted to see that the path has been reopened and cleared of growing vegetation and perhaps more significantly, the two “this is not a right of way” signs that had gone up in Academy Place have been taken down.
    I am still pressing the council to have the footpath and the adjoining lane from Academy Place to Bagshot Court adopted under the Highways Act to prevent their future closure.
    But the reopening of the footpath means that it is possible to walk again from Shooters Hill to Red Lion Lane via Bagshot Court and Prince Imperial Way as  marked in red below.

    Map showing route from Shooters Hill to Red Lion Lane

    Route from Shooters Hill to Red Lion Lane

    I hope this means the path is now open permanently. It had been open for a while last year, but was then re-closed. I suspect that was because the barriers had been broken down by vandals. The route from Shooters Hill down to the bottom of Red Lion Lane is a pleasant path through open fields, passing by what may have once been a sports field – the 1914 OS map shows a pavilion at the South end of the field. The old map also shows a miniature rifle range and formal rows of trees, both features are still evident though the only reminder of the rifle range is an embankment.

    Meanwhile, on the other side of the Hill, the problem of the route of the Green Chain Walk near Woodlands Farm still hasn’t reached a conclusion. While the Woodland Farm Trust, Ramblers and Green Chain officers have all agreed that Woodland’s proposal for re-routing the path to go along the edge of the farm is acceptable, the owners of the land between the farm and the corner of Keats and Dryden Roads are now blocking progress. At the last Woodlands Farm AGM it was mentioned that this route is a permissive path and that the owners Bellway have refused permission for the Green Chain Walk to cross their land. In the meantime the Walk is still diverted along residential roads round to Oxleas Wood.

    Update 23rd January 2015. Steve e-mailed to let me know that new signs have been erected on the Castlewood footpath, presumably by the MoD. There’s a picture of one of them below.

    One of the new signs on the Castlewood footpath

    One of the new signs on the Castlewood footpath

    • steve wilson 10:55 am on January 4, 2015

      Well done everyone and Clive Barbour who didn’t give up on this and challenged the arrogance of the MOD

  • hilly 9:51 pm on December 23, 2014

    Happy Christmas 

    Snowman in Eaglesfield Park

    Snowman in Eaglesfield Park

    This year’s Christmas card photo is of a snowman in a snowy Eaglesfield Park from a few years ago. As in previous years I’d like to combine my season’s greetings and best wishes for next year with those of the Friends of Eaglesfield Park – their card is included below.

    As well as wishing everyone a happy Christmas, Madeleine from the Friends wrote to thank all who volunteered at the park for their hard work over the last year, and also with an update on recent work at the Lilly Pond and changes in the park such as the new sign posts and information boards. She has written about all this on the Friends of Eaglesfield Park blog, which has some great photos of local wild life, including a sparrow hawk that got trapped between a wire fence and a wooden fence panel. The blog is well worth a visit.

    Have a great Christmas!

    Friends of Eaglesfield Park Christmas

  • hilly 5:13 pm on December 19, 2014
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    Solstice Stroll on Sunday 

    Woodlands Monthly Walks Poster

    If you’d like to escape from the pre-Christmas hectivity and get some fresh air and exercise, then head for Woodlands Farm at 10.00am on Sunday for a walk around the parts of the 89 acre farm that visitors don’t usually get to see. This is one of a series of monthly guided walks at Woodlands: Hannah, the Farm’s Education Officer e-mailed details:

    Monthly walks at Woodlands Farm
    Most people who visit Woodlands Farm don’t get much further than our farmyard, however there are a further 85 acres of wonderful London countryside, wood, hedges and meadows, to explore.
    So join us for our monthly guided walks around the farm in all seasons and all weathers. Our walks will highlight seasonal farm activities such as hedging, lambing, the history of the farm and how it works.
    Meet at the Green Education building at 10 am. The walk will take about two hours. Please wear stout footwear and appropriate clothing for a winter walk. As we will be going through the fields we regret that the walk is not suitable for buggies or those with restricted mobility.  In the event of bad weather the walks will be cancelled.  The walks are free, but we appreciate any donations.  Although you do not need to book if you would like to let us know you will be attending or have any questions please call 020 8319 8900.
    Sunday’s, 16 November – Autumn Walk
    Sunday 21 December – Winter Solstice Walk,   On our solstice walk there will be a seasonal hot drink at the end.
    Sunday 18 January – Winter Walk,
    Sunday 15 February – Valentine’s Walk;
    Sunday 22 March – Spring Equinox and spot the first lambs;
    Sunday 19 April – Young Shoots
    So get those boots out, dust them off and come to join us.
    Woodlands Farm is located on the borders of the London boroughs of Bexley and Greenwich.  At 89 acres, it is the largest city farm in the UK.  Our priorities are education and conservation, and we are part of the Natural England Higher Level Stewardship Scheme.  Our education programme attracts visitors from pre-school to third-age groups.  The Trust aims to involve local community groups, schools, volunteers and businesses in farming and conservation, helping to bridge the current town-country divide.
    We are open 9.30am-4.30pm, Tuesday-Sunday (except Christmas Day).  There is no entry charge except for special events, though donations are always welcome.

    And as an extra bonus on Sunday the walk will finish with a glass of mulled wine.

    Wild flower meadow at Woodlands Farm, looking towards the golf course and water tower

    Wild flower meadow at Woodlands Farm

    Wild flower meadow at Woodlands Farm

    Wild flower meadow at Woodlands Farm

  • hilly 3:17 pm on December 7, 2014
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    A Christmas Carol at Severndroog Castle 

    A Christmas Carol at Severndroog Castle poster

    The Lady James Room at Severndroog Castle is the venue on Sunday 14th December for a performance of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” using the reading script that Dickens himself adapted from his book and followed for his own public readings. Dickens gave the first public reading in December 1853 and read it 127 times up to the time of his death in 1870 with  audiences of up to 3,700 people.

    Dr. Barry Gray from the Severndroog Castle Building Preservation Trust wrote with details:

    The Severndroog Castle Building Preservation Trust have arranged to have a fundraising reading of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” for one night only, at Severndroog Castle, on the evening of Sunday 14th December 2014. Seats are strictly limited by the constraints of the castle size, and early booking is advisable. The reading is by Roger Gartland, formerly of the National Theatre company, who has performed this traditional Christmas work for a number of years, to sell-out houses in a variety of venues.
    The tickets are £12 each and include a mulled wine/soft drink and mince pies during the interval. Tickets can be brought for cash at the castle during opening times on Thursday, Friday and Sunday, or online from http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/a-christmas-carol-a-ghost-story-by-charles-dickens-tickets-14748817109 There is a small booking charge when booking online. Show lasts approx. two hours, including 15 min interval. Probably not suitable for children under 10 years.

    Roger Gartland trained in repertory and was a National Theatre player for seven years. He was a co-founder of, and toured with,  the touring theatre company “Not The National Theatre”. He has appeared at the Globe Theatre and in the West End, and his work also  includes film, radio, voice-overs and TV.

    What a very Christmassy thing to do – a performance of A Christmas Carol in a gothic folly in the woods accompanied by mulled wine and mince pies.

    The Lady James room at Severndroog Castle

    The Lady James room at Severndroog Castle

  • hilly 4:10 pm on November 21, 2014
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    Community Clean-up Weekend 

    Friends of Eaglesfield Park poster

    Two local community groups will be having a tidy up session this weekend: The Friends of Eaglesfield Park on Saturday and the Mayplace Lane group on Sunday. Both would welcome help.

    The Friends of Eaglesfield Park had hoped to have their final pond maintenance session of the year a couple of weeks ago, but the council hadn’t cut the meadow beforehand so it wasn’t possible to sow the wild flower seeds. Volunteers at that session mainly worked on clearing excess vegetation from the pond, which meant donning waders and getting into the pond to pull up unwanted plants and increase the pond water’s surface area. More work is needed on reducing the pond plants, and, as the meadow has now been cut, the wild flower seeds can be sown.  Madeleine from the Friends wrote with the details:

    A short note to let you know that SATURDAY 22nd November (10.30am – 1.00pm) will be our last maintenance session before Spring 2015.   To provide a rich habitat for wildlife and a beautiful focal point for visitors to the park, there are 2 very important tasks that require attention:
    – reducing the pond vegetation.  It is urgent we complete as much as possible now to ensure pond creatures are not disturbed in Spring.  We can provide full length waders!!
    – rough-raking the ground and sow wildflower seeds  (meadow has now been cut).
    I think we could achieve our tasks in the allotted time, but we really do need your help.   Whatever time you could spare will be much appreciated and will make an enormous difference to the quality of habitat for all local wildlife and greatly enhance visitor enjoyment of this special corner of Eaglesfield Park.
    I hope you will be able to join us.   I’m afraid we do not have any gardening equipment – would it be possible for you to provide your own (e.g. garden rake, spade/fork, secateurs, builders plastic buckets, gardening gloves)?   Don’t forget to wear wellies.
    Of course, weather permitting !

    The next Mayplace Lane community clean-up will take place on Sunday, 23rd November between 11.00am and 1.00pm. Local residents will be clearing rubbish and removing weeds from the lane and possibly planting plants and bulbs. Greenwich Council will again provide equipment such as litter pickers and bags for rubbish, and will collect any rubbish at the end of the session. If you’re planning to come along then it’s worth bringing some strong gardening gloves.  If you have anything stored in the lane you may wish to move it to ensure it is not thrown away.

    Mayplace Lane

    Mayplace Lane

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