POND UPDATE Thanks to Quaggy Environmentalists for coming to explore the pond this morning and give us some advice on how to proceed. Sunday 1st November will now be our first clearance session. If you would like to help do let us know. Waterproofs, waders, boots, thick gloves and tools would all be useful if you are coming and we will work in small groups to comply with social distancing so do let us know how many will be in your bubble. Meeting at 10am at the Lily pond. It was beautiful up there this morning and we spotted loads of fungi. If you work with a youth group, corporate volunteers scheme or other network who would like to know about Sunday or future dates do please send us a message here. We would love to have your help and can talk through a safe way to get involved.
It’s a lot of fun, and it will be very satisfying to make some space for next year’s family of ducklings.
The Friends of Eaglesfield Park‘s rescheduled pond clearance will now take place this Sunday, 19th January 2020, between 9.00am and 2.00pm, and they would welcome volunteers to help. Bridget sent me details:
Friends of Eaglesfield Park Need You! Annual Pond Clearing Can you spare any time between 9am – 2pm on Sunday 19th January 2020 to take part in our Annual Pond Clearing? (Re-arranged from November) Residents and park users will be joining forces with Greenwich Council Parks Department staff to help clear the overgrowth of plants in and around the pond so that it can continue to thrive when Spring comes, and new life begins! Giving even an hour of your time would be so helpful. Bring gardening gloves, garden rakes and forks if you have them. Just turn up on the day or for more information call: 07734810402
There are more details on the Friends’ website, together with information about their plans for the refurbishment of the park playground. The Friends are also on Facebook and Twitter.
Sat 30th November, is the Woodland Trust Tree Charter Day, and the Friends of Oxleas Woodlands will have a stall near the Oxleas Wood Café, between 10.30 – 2pm (approx.) where we will be offering some guided walks (as well as self-guided walks), talking to people about the Woodland Charter and Oxleas Woodlands, and organising some family activities like Bark and Leaf Rubbing, woody identification, colouring in activities, and also encouraging youngsters to plant an acorn in a pot and take it home to grow – with a view to bringing it back and planting it in the woods next year.
Tree Charter day is celebrated on the last Saturday of November each year. The Woodland Trust describes it as: “a day for the whole of UK society to unite in celebrating the value and importance of trees and woods to people. “
While the Parks team has secured resources they don’t have the all important waders!
Look out for a new date in January.
The Friends of Eaglesfield Park will be clearing the park lily pond and the garden around it tomorrow, 24th November, between 9.00am and 2.00pm, and would welcome volunteers to help. They wrote:
Can you spare any time between 9am to 2pm this Sunday 24 November to take part in the ‘Autumn Pond Clearing’ and help keep Eaglesfield pond a haven for wildlife and a place we can all enjoy? Residents and park users will be joining forces with Greenwich Council Parks Department staff to help clear the overgrowth of plants in and around the pond so that it can continue to thrive when spring comes. Giving even an hour of your time would be so helpful. Just turn up on the day or for more information please call: 07734 810402 and see the attached PDF. Please bring gardening gloves, garden rakes and forks if you have them. Thank you and please share this message with friends, family and neighbours!
Do pop along and help the Friends get the pond ready for winter.
The Friends of Shrewsbury Park AGM on 14th November will consider the topic of biodiversity and what it means for the park. The Friends have also arranged a quiz night and a bulb planting session in November.
Annual General Meeting Thursday 14 November 7-8.30 pm Shrewsbury House (bar open next door) We hope you can come to our AGM? In addition to the business meeting and election of management committee members there will be time to raise your park ideas and issues. ‘Why should I care about biodiversity’ kicks off a discussion specific to Shrewsbury Park’s natural habitats and what part we humans play. There will be input from a panel of guest speakers: Claire Lambert and Jack Partridge (trees) from RBG Parks and Open Spaces along with members Les Clark (a bat and hedgehog enthusiast) and John Denton (butterflies and hedgerows). Then it is time for everyone to add to and evaluate actions we can put forward. 2020 calendars will be on sale (£5) and new park greetings cards (£2) See you there! FSP Committee
Our statistics demonstrate that the abundance and distribution of the UK’s species has, on average, declined since 1970 and many metrics suggest this decline has continued in the most recent decade. There has been no let-up in the net loss of nature in the UK.
They report that 13% of species in England are threatened with extinction from Great Britain, and that 36 plant species have become extinct.
Shrewsbury Park is listed in the Royal Borough of Greenwich Core Strategy (pdf) as a “Site of Importance for Nature Conservation – Site of Borough Importance, Grade I”, with the contiguous areas of Shooters Hill Golf Club and Woodlands Farm. Together they form “An extensive mosaic of habitats, ranging from ancient woodland, secondary woodland through scrub to rough grassland and wetland.” The area is home to a wide variety of plants and wildlife including at least two animals mentioned in the Greenwich Biodiversity Action Plan (pdf) as priority species: bats and hedgehogs. The Mammal Society assess the Hedgehog as Vulnerable, and estimate that populations have declined by as much as 73% since their 1995 review to just 522,000. Some estimates put their decline at 97% since the 1950s. The are often seen on bat walks in the area: what can we do to help them? This will be one of the items discussed at the meeting.
The Quiz Night will be on Friday 22nd November:
Here are the details of our latest quiz – these are always great fun, and a fantastic way to enjoy a Friday night! Do join us! Friday 22 November 6.45pm for 7.30pm start Tables of 6 – £5.50 per person Shrewsbury House, SE18 3EG Tickets can be purchased using the link above or here Bar is open from 6.30pm Fantastic raffle prizes! Our thanks to our amazing quiz masters, Dee and Geoff.
Then on Sunday 17th November the Friends will be planting spring bulbs and bramble bashing:
Come and join us planting our Spring bulbs! Sunday 17 November – 1.30pm Bulb planting/Bramble bashing event! Sunday 17 November at 1.30 (an hour or two). Meet at the crossroads in the Park, bring a trowel, strong gloves and secateurs if possible. Kids especially welcome! You will get dirty.
Perhaps we’ll be able to clear some of the footpaths through the old allotment site on Dot Hill.
The first of the three is next Friday, 23rd August in Shrewsbury Park. Kris, Chair of the Friends of Shrewsbury Park, sent me details:
Bat walk Friday 23 August – 8.15pm After a short intro next to the notice board by the Plum Lane car park, Les Clark will lead us through the woods and glades where the bats hang out. Bat detectors supplied. Booking essential – eventbrite.co.uk/e/bat-walk-shrewsbury-park-se18-tickets-55871554323 *Wear sturdy shoes and weather-appropriate clothing *Children must be accompanied by an adult *Walk lasts about 1 ½ hours and small torches are useful *Dogs must be kept on a lead If you have mobility issues or enquiries please contact us on email@example.com and we will help you participate. The trail is a mix of paved path, gravel and grass. If it’s raining neither bats nor us will come out!
The Woodlands Farm bat walk is the following week, on Thursday 29th at 7.30pm, but I see from their web site that it is already fully booked.
Bat Detecting Friday 30th 8pm Meeting at dusk we will use bat detectors to track down these nocturnal residents in their natural woodland habitat. The Friends of Oxleas Woodlands is a community organisation run by volunteers. Walks are free for members & under 16s, otherwise £3 and need to be booked at firstname.lastname@example.org
Lots of opportunities for night-time walks in our local green spaces hunting for bats.
The Friends of Oxleas Woodlands have had an amazing first year, and continue with a full programme of events for 2019, including a Family Walk this Sunday, a Bat Walk on May 10th and activities in May to mark the Tree Council’s Walk in the Woods month. They have made great progress in the restoration of the rose gardens in Castle Wood and Jackwood, have set up additional Conservation Working Party sessions and litter picks and continued to campaign for the preservation of the woodlands. And that’s not to mention the Houses in the Woods walks, their Gardeners Question Time at Shrewsbury House and rose pruning workshops.
The work on the rose garden restoration has been particularly impressive, with many volunteer hours put in to clearing and mulching the beds, in association with the Royal Borough of Greenwich Parks Department. They have plans to re-plant the beds with 265 roses and create interpretation boards, which will include information about the varieties of rose planted, the history of the woods, the Friends of Oxleas Woodlands and the names of donors. They are crowdfunding to pay for the roses and boards: to donate go to: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/freindsofoxleaswoodlands-fow
Each £15 donation will sponsor a rose in either your name or the name of a loved one, which can be displayed on the new interpretation board.
The Friends’ next public event is the Family Walk on Sunday. Their events flyer gave the details:
Guided Walk : Seasonal Family Walk – Sunday 28 April at 10.30am. FEEL a tree, SEE spring plants, LISTEN to birds and other forest animals. This guided walk is designed for accompanied children aged 5 years and upwards. Please note that all places on Guided walks must be booked in advance and you are advised to let us know if you are coming to any of the activities as there may be changes to where and when we meet. You can contact us at email@example.com for activities or firstname.lastname@example.org for general enquires or visit our website www.oxleaswoodlands.uk
The Friend’s programme for May is included below, though I suspect there will be additional events to mark Walk in the Woods month:
Celebrate Oxleas Woodlands by joining us on Monday 6th May at Oxleas Woods Café from 11am. This Bank Holiday Special is part of the Tree Council’s Walk in the Woods month. We will have free activities for all the family, including guided walks, maps, tree dressing, bark rubbing and more. Guided Walk: Dawn Chorus on Saturday 4th at 5am. An early morning walk identifying the birds as they fill our ears with their morning songs, followed by an optional breakfast at the café. Booking your place on this walk is essential. Rose Garden Restoration: Saturday 4th at 10am. As well as weeding the beds we hope to be choosing the mix of rose varieties for the eleven beds that we will be planting in Autumn Walk in the Woods Celebration of Oxleas Monday 6th from 11am onwards. A range of Free activities for all the family. Including guided walks, maps, tree dressing, bark rubbing and lots more. Rose Garden Restoration: Friday 10th at 3pm. The weeds are really growing through now but together we can ensure the old roses take centre stage. Guided Walk: Bat Walk on Friday 10th, 8.30pm Join us as the sun sets to explore the darkening wood, listening for bats and identifying their calls. Booking your place on this walk is essential. Shooters Hill Working Party: Saturday 11th at 10am The Shooters Hill Working Party meets on the second Saturday of every month at Oxleas Café. Woodland Conservation: Friday 17th at 10am. We’ll get dirty hands and have fun doing woodland management activities to ensure a variety of flora and fauna flourish. Litter Pick: Saturday 25th at 10am There are always some incredibly strange finds on our litter pick days, and we have a surprising amount of fun working together in the thick of it.
Amongst the objectives of the Friends is to support the aims of the Woodland Trust’s Charter for Trees, Woods and People which includes ensuring that the woodlands continue to provide a rich ecosystem with habitat for a diverse range of animals, and to advocate and campaign for stronger legal protection for trees and woods, especially those which have SSSI status. Recent concerns, and action, have been about the type of rodenticide used to control rats near the old police station, and the felling by the council of mature oak trees at the back of Crookston Road at the behest of insurance companies dealing with subsidence claims. The oak trees have been in place much longer than the properties for which it is alleged they cause subsidence!
I’ll post again about the Friends’ Walk in the Woods month activities when I get more information, but now is a perfect time for a walk in the woods, with new leaves on the trees and the bluebells and many other wild flowers in bloom.
The Friends‘ e-mail gave the details of the upcoming walks:
Tree Identification Walk – Sunday 28 April 2019 at 2pm Led by John Denton, an expert in local flora and fauna, you’ll learn more than you ever dreamt of about the trees in the park, how they’ve survived and thrived, how old they are and much more! Meet at Plum Lane (Car Park area) by the information board
BAT WALK – Friday 3 May, start time 8pm – 1 ½ hours approx Our knowledgeable bat guide, Les Clark, will be leading this spring walk around the park, starting at the notice board next to the car park. He’ll give a quick briefing on bat facts and how to tune in the bat detectors. Wear sturdy shoes and bring a small torch as eyes adjust to the dark. The walk includes a mix of terrain so please bear that in mind when booking. Dogs are welcome if kept on a lead. Any questions please contact email@example.com Pre book on EventBrite (link to follow) as we have a 50 person limit. The event is free, but donations are welcome as they go towards a second bat detector for members’ use. Another bat walk is scheduled for 23 August in case you miss this one. If it rains neither bats nor humans will turn up!
Foraging Walk – Sunday 12 May at 2.30pm The amazing Kevin Godby will be leading a walk around the park, demonstrating what you can and can’t eat. He’ll also talk about how our ancestors would have selected particular leaves and berries to supplement their diet. Meeting point will be the Dothill (Garland Road park entrance) | No dogs please | spaces limited to 30
The Friends have announced the date for this year’s Summer Festival: Sunday 21st July from 12 to 4pm. If you’re interested in having a stall at the Festival, which is part of the Royal Borough of Greenwich’s well-publicised “ParkFest” then you’ll need to send in an application form, available on the Friends’ website, by the end of April.
The Summer Festival includes the Friend’s Calendar photograph competition. They e-mailed details:
Annual Calendar competition If you have been with us for more than a year, you’ll be aware that we run an annual photography competition for our members to contribute the great photos which appear in our calendar. Winners receive a copy of the calendar – and the glory of having their picture and name in print! We’re sure you have some super shots that you’ve captured in the park – so why not enter them? You can enter a maximum of 3 photographs. they must be at least 2mb in size You need to be a member, but membership is free and you can sign up via our website. Send us your entries today Deadline for Entries Entries will be judged at our Festival on Sunday 21 July – entries should be emailed to us along with your name! Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org by our deadline of midnight on 28 June 2019. All photos entered need to be of good resolution – typically at least 2mb (megabytes) in size. We’re printing it in square format so do make sure it will resize successfully. Don’t forget a catchy caption to go with it!
There’s a lot going on at Woodlands Farm at the moment: their annual Lambing Day fair is this Sunday, 14th April from 11:00am to 4:00pm, then there are Easter event for children over the holiday, crafts courses for adults and a guided bird walk on 28th April.
Maureen from the farm sent me details about Lambing Day:
All are welcome at the Woodlands Farm Trust Lambing Day. Come and see our new-born lambs, and enjoy the chance to buy quality local produce at reasonable prices, including home-made preserves, cakes and honey. Relax in our café, enjoy a tractor/trailer ride (weather permitting) or get involved in various activities and games.
All proceeds from donations and our stalls go towards keeping Woodlands Farm here as a conservation project and valuable resource for the community.
Entry: Adult £2, Children under 16 £1; Family £5 (2 adults and up to 3 children)
A great family day out! No parking on site, please use public transport. Buses 89 and 486 stop outside the farm. Sorry, no dogs allowed.
Hannah, the Farm’s Education Officer, sent details of their other April events:
Tuesday 16th April The Stick Man Day 11am – 3pm
Inspired by the Julia Donaldson story of Stick Man come down to the farm to try our Stick Man trail. There will be story readings, wild art and minibeast hunts throughout the day. £3.50 per child which includes activities and a Stick Man Activity Pack. No need to book, just drop in.
Wednesday 17th April Silly about sheep 10am – 12noon
Come along to our sheep activity day. Have a go at our fun sheep facts trail and make a sheep craft to take home. There will also be the opportunity to see our new born lambs. £3 per child. Just drop in.
Thursday 18th April Eggs-cellent Easter Trail 10am – 2pm
It is time for our annual Easter Trail round the farmyard. Can you find all the Easter eggs hidden round the farm? If you can then you can get you chocolate egg prize! No need to book, just drop in. £2 per child.
Adult Crafts Courses Beginners Wet Felting Course
Sunday Mornings, 10am – 1pm starting from 28th April for 4 weeks
This 4 week course will provide the opportunity to experiment and learn different felting techniques to create beautiful creations including wet felted jewellery, a landscape pictures as well as the final project of a scarf or placemat. You will cover the topics of basic wet felting, 3D wet felting as well as the opportunity to experiment with Nuno techniques. This course is run in conjunction with South East Yarn Academy (SEYA) London. £100 includes all tuition and materials required on the course. For more information or to book go to our website: www.thewoodlandsfarmtrust.org
Beginners Crochet Course
Sunday afternoons, 2-4pm starting from 28th April for 4 weeks.
This 4 week beginner’s course will teach you all about crochet from starting and finishing your work, to different types of stitches as well as about different types of yarns. The course allows you to learn the basics of crochet and develop the skills culminating in making a final special project of a crochet dreamcatcher. This course is run in conjunction with South East Yarn Academy (SEYA) London. £100 includes all tuition and materials required on the course. For more information or to book visit www.thewoodlandsfarmtrust.org
Sunday 28th April Guided Bird Walk 10am – 11.30am
The first in our series of spring bird walks around the farm. This will be a great opportunity to find out about the spring arrivals to the farm as well as those birds which are here all year. Meet outside the mess room in farmyard at 10am. This walk will involve crossing muddy fields, so is not suitable for buggies. Please wear suitable footwear and bring your own binoculars if you have them. In the event of bad weather this walk will be cancelled. £2 adults, £1 children.
For more information, see our website or contact Hannah Ricketts on email@example.com
The Farm’s volunteers will be very busy again during April, after the long hours lambing in March.
It’s over 6 years since the restored lilly pond in Eaglesfield Park was opened on 15th June 2012, and it’s in need of some TLC. Bridget from the Friends of Eaglesfield Park wrote with a request for help with clearing the pond on Saturday:
Eaglesfield Park – Autumn Pond Clearing
Can you spare any time between 8am – 3pm on Saturday 20th October to take part in an Autumn Pond Clearing?
Could you help us keep Eaglesfield pond a haven for wildlife and a place we can all enjoy?
Residents and other park users will be joining forces with Greenwich Council Parks Department staff to help clear the overgrowth of plants in the pond and tidy up around the edges so that it can continue to thrive when Spring comes.
Giving even an hour of your time would be so helpful.
Eaglesfield Park, which for anyone that doesn’t know it lies right at the top of Shooters Hill bordered by Eaglesfield Road, Foxcroft Road and Cleanthus Road. The pond is tucked away at the far side of the park nearest to the water tower at the top of Shooters Hill. It was restored as a wildlife pond with Lottery funding secured after 4 years of campaigning and fundraising by the Friends of Eaglesfield Park in 2011. Carrying out a major clearing of the plant growth in and around the pond this autumn is vital for the sustainability of the pond. The Friends of Eaglesfield Park would greatly appreciate any help that can be offered.
You can just turn up at the pond at the pond anytime between 8am-3pm on the Saturday or if you’d like more information you can call Bridget Imeson on 07734810402.
Protective gloves will be available, and we have a few pairs of waders for the more intrepid!
There’s been a pond in the current location since the 1700s when it was part of a pleasure gardens attached to the old Bull Hotel, which was located near where the water tower is now. It was a huge achievement by the Friends of Eaglesfield Park to get the funding necessary to restore it as a wildlife pond, but a shame it has got a little bit overgrown. It would be great to get the over-grown water plants out of the way before winter, and there’s even time to do a little bit of work on the pond and still get to the People’s Vote March for the Future in London!
Here are some of my photographic sequence showing the restoration of the pond and how it changes through the seasons.