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  • hilly 5:31 pm on March 22, 2015
    Tags: Oxlea Wood Cafe, ,   

    Learn beekeeping at Oxleas Wood Apiary 

    Oxleas Wood Apiary Bee Courses poster
    Good news for bee keepers, and honey lovers. A new apiary, the Oxleas Wood Apiary, has been established in the Royal Greenwich Parks & Open Spaces Depot, Crown Woods Lane, and they are running an Introduction to Beekeeping course and apiary days through 2015. The 8-week course starts on 29th April, and  the evening classroom sessions will be held in the nearby Oxleas Cafe.
    John Large, who set up the apiary wrote to let me know about his new venture and the course:
    Details of the course are available on the Oxleas Wood Apiary website under the tab 2015 Beekeeping Season and registration is available via the online enrolment form.  The 2015 Introduction to Beekeeping course commences on 29 April and the Apiary Days are bookable throughout the beekeeping season (May through to September).
    For enquiries about the wonderful world of the honey bee I can contacted direct at oxleaswoodapiary@oxleaswoodapiary.com and/or johnlarge@oxleaswoodapiary.com.
    John praised the generosity of the Greenwich Parks and Open Spaces Department who “virtually jumped at the opportunity to provide the present Crown Lane Depot site for the Apiary.” The apiary’s aims are to be self-sufficient, and also to promote knowledge of bees (and other pollinators) and beekeeping in the Borough.

    The apiary at Woodllands Farm will also continue with, I understand, support from Sidcup Beekeepers. So that’s twice as much honey coming from the wild flowers of  Shooters Hill.

    The hives of Oxleas Apiary

    The hives of Oxleas Apiary

    The beehives at Woodlands Farm

    The beehives at Woodlands Farm

     
  • hilly 10:28 am on March 19, 2015
    Tags: cantwell road, , ,   

    Community Spring Cleaning 

    Shrewsbury Park

    Shrewsbury Park

    Local community groups from Shrewsbury Park, Mayplace Lane and Cantwell Road will each be getting together over this weekend to spruce up their areas, then the following weekend the Friends of Eaglesfield Park will be starting their regular maintenance sessions at the lilly pond (about which more in a later post ). Plus the Friends of the Pet Cemetery Charlton are holding gardening sessions on the second Sunday of each month at the cemetery. All of these groups would welcome volunteers to help.

    The Friends of Shrewsbury Park are meeting on Saturday. Kathy from the Friends wrote with details:

    We will be holding a clearing session on Saturday 21st March, from 11am – 12 noon. We will be taking ivy off trees and picking up litter.
    If you can spare an hour, please meet at the Garland Road entrance to Dothill at 11am. You will need to wear stout gloves and sensible shoes. Please bring your own secateurs/loppers.
    We look forward to seeing you there.

    On Sunday morning between 10:30-12:00 the Mayplace Lane group will be planting some fruit hedging bought with money donated by local residents and also building bug houses and litter picking. Any materials suitable for bug houses would be appreciated, for example: bricks, air bricks, clay pots, tiles and wood. Nicola has arranged for Greenwich Council to provide litter pickers and rubbish bags, and to pick up the rubbish on Monday morning.

    Then on Sunday afternoon the Cantwell Road residents will be meeting for a community spring clean. Geoff wrote:

    Now that Spring is here Ivanhoe Norona from Maple Court has suggested that anyone interested  in a “Community Spring Clean” of various areas including the Cantwell Triangle and the wooded area between Eglinton Hill and Cantwell meet at 2pm on Sunday 22nd March at the Cantwell Triangle (opposite junction of Brent and Cantwell). He says, “We might even be able to invite our local councillors and see if the council would like to be involved.”

    So this weekend sees three good opportunities to meet neighbours and help improve the places we live in.

    Mayplace Lane

    Mayplace Lane

     
  • hilly 7:04 pm on March 5, 2015
    Tags: , , ,   

    Green light for Gallions Reach Bridge, Red for the Woolwich Free Ferry 

    View towards Gallions Reach from Plum Lane

    View towards Gallions Reach from Plum Lane

    Transport for London are continuing with their plans to build a new bridge at Gallions Reach, but it’s the beginning of the end for the Woolwich Free Ferry following the results of the consultation into new river crossings east of the Blackwall Tunnel. TfL’s e-mail about the results said:

    The majority of feedback supported the introduction of new fixed link crossings, rather than enhancement of existing or introduction of new ferry crossings. Having considered all of the issues raised in the consultation, we will now continue to develop the concepts of new bridges at Gallions Reach and Belvedere, and we will also consider whether tunnels would be more suitable by releasing greater land for development than would be possible with a bridge.

    and:

    We will put our consideration of proposals for a new ferry at Woolwich and a ferry at Gallions Reach on hold, pending the outcome of this work.

    65% of respondents to the consultation “strongly supported” the Gallions Reach bridge option and a further 15% “supported” it (80% total support), as you can see in TfL’s summary of the results below. In comparison the figures for improving the Woolwich Free Ferry were 19% and 18% respectively (37% total support). Opinion has hardened in favour of a Gallions Reach bridge and against the Free Ferry since the previous consultation in 2013: a Gallions bridge or tunnel  had the support of 71% and the Free Ferry 51% in that consultation.

    The Consultation Report gives all the results and presents a selection of the comments made by the public about each of the options. Strangely it manages to find no comments in favour of the Woolwich Ferry option and a page and a half against. You would almost think that TfL were trying to present a particular point of view rather than impartially report on the results.

    In the image at the top the new Gallions Reach bridge would cross the river roughly in the centre of the photo, this side of the Barking Creek tidal barrier – the high structure just to the right of centre,  on the river. The bridge would be higher than the Barking barrier.

    Summary of support for different options from TfL Consultation Report

    Summary of support for different options from TfL Consultation Report

    The proposal for a new tunnel at Silvertown was not included in this consultation, in fact it is assumed in all the supporting documents that the Silvertown Tunnel will have been built by the time any of the consultation options are constructed. Additional traffic capacity at Silvertown is the main plank of TfL’s defence against the charge that the road infrastructure south of the river is inadequate for the expected traffic going to the new crossing at Gallions Reach.

    As well as the Consultation Report, TfL have published a Response to the Issues Raised document which gives TfL’s opinion on specific objections raised about the different crossing options. It has sections on concerns about increased traffic and congestion, and about the threat to Oxleas Wood.

    They have two responses on traffic increase and congestion: Paraphrasing, firstly they say they warned us that there would be more traffic on some roads, but they don’t know which roads will be affected. Part of their work in the next stage will be to work out what  impact a Gallions Reach Bridge will have on traffic flow and what they can do about it. The second response is that they think most non-local traffic will use the tunnels at Blackwall and Silvertown and not the new bridge because the tunnels have better links on the other side of the river.

    Doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence that they’ve thought this through, and there is an implicit assumption that the crossing will go ahead and any problems will be “mitigated”: even if the future work shows that Plumstead will be gridlocked with traffic that will not stop the crossing’s construction. An almost identical response is given to concerns about the environmental impact: we’ll do some more work to understand the impact and how it can be “mitigated”.

    TfL’s response on concerns about the threat to Oxleas Wood points out the differences between the current proposals and earlier schemes such as the East London River Crossing. In particular they say:

    It is not the intent that the new crossings will provide a new strategic route for traffic with no local origin or destination, and it is not intended to carry traffic between the A2 and the North Circular, a journey which would remain more convenient via the Blackwall tunnel.

    What does “local” mean in this context? TfL don’t say.

    The response also mentions that the Gallions Reach Bridge would be one of three new crossings, with the Silvertown Tunnel and Belvedere Bridge, so the traffic load would be spread, and it asserts that tolling the crossings will allow TfL to manage how much traffic uses them.

    Some of the details given about the new bridge are interesting. It will have two lanes of traffic, but one will be reserved for public transport and HGVs. There will be provision for pedestrians and cyclists to use the bridge, and they are considering whether it should carry the DLR over the river to Thamesmead and Abbey Wood.

    As well as traffic and environmental impact assessments, TfL’s next steps include considering “whether we might need to take additional traffic management or other mitigation steps to ensure the new crossings operate successfully and sustainably” and “how we can make best advantage of the opportunities that new river crossings would give us to improve cross-river links for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport passengers”. They don’t say when the next stage will be complete.

    Whatever emerges from the next steps the future doesn’t look good for the Woolwich Free Ferry.

    Woolwich Free Ferry and tall ship

    Woolwich Free Ferry and tall ship

     
    • Deborah 9:51 pm on March 5, 2015

      And it doesn’t look good for Plumstead and Shooters Hill.

  • hilly 6:19 pm on February 10, 2015
    Tags: ,   

    February half term events at Woodlands Farm 

    February Half Term Events poster 2015

    Hannah, the Education Officer at Woodlands Farm, sent details of their February half term events for children:

    Wednesday 18th February
    A Stickman Adventure
    10am-12pm and 1pm-3pm
    Join stickman on an adventure round Woodlands Farm.  Inspired by Julia Donaldson’s book we will be heading out for an adventure as well as creating your own stickman to take home.  £3 per child.  Booking is essential, to book call 020 8319 8900.
    Thursday 19th February
    Welly Wander
    1pm-3pm
    Put on your wellies and head down to Woodlands Farm for an afternoon fun.  Explore the farm with our welly trail.  Can you find all the hidden wellies round the farm as well as a puddle or two to splash in? £1 per child
    No need to book, just drop in anytime between 1and 3pm.
    Friday 20th February
    Get Wild in the Woods
    11am – 1pm and 2pm-4pm
    Come and join us in the woods as we learn how to survive in the wild. Have a go at shelter building, wild cooking over a fire and learn what animals need to survive. £3 per child
    Age 7+  Booking essential, to book call 020 8319 8900
    For more information, see our website or contact Hannah Forshaw on education@thewoodlandsfarmtrust.org

    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.
    Nearest tube: North Greenwich
    Nearest BR: Welling
    Buses: 486 and 89
    We are a farm so sensible shoes and clothing are recommended!  We do allow dogs, but please note that these must be kept on a lead and not taken into any farm buildings.

    The pregnant ewes at the farm have now been brought in to the barns in preparation for having their lambs. There’ll be a chance to see the new lambs at the farm’s Lambing Day on Sunday 12th April.

    Sheep at Woodlands Farm

    Sheep at Woodlands Farm

    Sorrel at Woodlands Farm

    Sorrel at Woodlands Farm

     
  • hilly 11:26 am on February 1, 2015
    Tags: , ,   

    Military Rule 

    One of the new signs on the Castlewood footpath

    One of the new signs on the Castlewood footpath

    Clive Barbour, who has been campaigning, successfully, to have the Castlewood footpath reopened has also been checking up on the by-laws mentioned on the new signs put up by the MoD. I’ll let Clive describe what he discovered:

    Your readers will remember that the main reason that the MOD closed the path was because the students from the Sixth Form College in Red Lion Lane were causing a nuisance and leaving rubbish. Well, it turns out that the MOD, courtesy of the Woolwich Military Lands Byelaws, already had all the necessary powers to prevent nuisance and depositing rubbish so there was absolutely no need to deprive us of our footpath for 18 months.
    The Statutory Instrument is well worth a look though and can be accessed here:

    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/39285/20120727WoolwichByelaw.pdf

    First of all the SI presumes use of the lands by the public in paragraph 2 which provides that “any use of or entry upon the Military Lands by the public shall be subject always to the restrictions, prohibitions and other provisions of these Byelaws.” And most significantly of all it provides that “nothing in these bylaws shall interfere with the lawful exercise by any person of any public right of way”.  I shall be reminding the MOD and the Royal Borough of Greenwich of that in the coming months…
    But we should take notice though that there are some things that it is totally illegal to do upon the Military Lands. These include:
    – engaging in or carrying on any trade or business;
    – engaging in prostitution (surely not on Shooters Hill…!);
    – looking for casual employment, and very interestingly it specifies “whether by way of carrying soldiers’ kits or otherwise howsoever”;
    – loitering or committing a nuisance or behaving in an indecent or unseemly manner (students take note…);
    – engaging in gaming, betting or wagering.
    The curry houses and kebab shops will be very shocked to note that distributing any handbills leaflets and other literature or printed matter on the military lands is an offence. It is also forbidden to assemble any number of persons for the purpose of the public and private meeting of any kind or address such persons when assembled.  I suspect this probably precludes picnics but I am uncertain if two people walking dogs constitutes a meeting.  Readers may wish to take legal advice!
    Other prohibited activities include camping, grazing animals, growing crops, removing timber or wild flower roots, (but interestingly not wildflowers themselves) and fishing.
    We should also note carefully that any person who rides a horse or cycle or drives of horse-drawn on mechanically propelled vehicle must stop if a military policeman in uniform or a War Department Constable in uniform requests “by the holding up of his hand to do so and shall not proceed further until the policeman or constable gives him the signal to proceed”. And should we be rushing off to commit any of these offences then be warned that it is possible for a constable to take us into custody and bring us before the Magistrates’ Court where, if convicted, we would face a fine not exceeding £5 pounds.   Although a more modern footnote to the SI says this now has been updated  to £500 as the fine levels go up periodically.
    The SI also includes a map of the Military Lands which is very interesting to look at as it shows the extent of the land is owned by the Ministry of Defence after the Second World War. These include parts of Red Lion Lane that are now privately owned and what appears to be part of the new Tesco in Woolwich along with the newly built flats complex behind it. There are also lots of references to interesting places I am not sure if they continue to survive in a different guise including the Municipal Gardens, Cambridge Cottages, the Military Families’ hospital, the Shrapnel Barracks, the Nursing Sisters’ Quarters Sportsground Number Five and St John’s Passage.
    And if you wish to have a personal copy of the Byelaws, apparently they can be obtained at the price of one shilling for each copy from Government House, New Road, Woolwich.  I hope someone has told the residents of the Governor’s Place development…

    I’ve included a copy of the map of the Military Lands that Clive mentions below; it’s an interesting historical record of streets that have been erased by all the development in the intervening 56 years.

    Good Luck to Clive in his continuing efforts to protect the path for future walkers.

    Map of Areas of Military Land in "The Woolwich Military Lands Byelaws"

    Map of Areas of Military Land in “The Woolwich Military Lands Byelaws”

     
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