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  • hilly 3:45 pm on November 20, 2013
    Tags: , shrewsbury park   

    Shrewsbury Park Celebration 

    Autumn Leaves in Shrewsbury Park

    Autumn Leaves in Shrewsbury Park

    On the 29th November the Friends of Shrewsbury Park will be celebrating completion of their park improvement project, which included resurfacing the flood-prone part of the Dothill path, and we’re all invited to go along and see the official opening by the  Mayor of the Royal Borough of Greenwich.

    Kathy from the Friends wrote with details:

    Please come and help us celebrate the new and improved Dothill/Garland Road entrance to Shrewsbury Park at 10am on Friday, 29 November 2013.
    The Mayor of the Royal Borough of Greenwich will formally inaugurate the new entrance, cutting the ribbon at 10am. We will then walk along the improved path, explaining what has been achieved. There will be a celebratory cake and a hot drink at the end of the short walk.
    Whilst involved in this project, we have worked to improve the safety of the park by getting a grant to erect a kissing gate at the Garland Road entrance to Dothill. This will prevent motorcycles from accessing the park. The project has also improved drainage along the Dothill path – in past years it has sometimes been impossible to navigate Dothill because of the huge puddle across it. We have planted donated plants to improve the look of the entrance. We also have a fine new inscribed oak noticeboard, where we can display information on flora and fauna.
    So please come and join us at the event. It will also be an opportunity to buy your Friends of Shrewsbury Park calendar (£5 – all proceeds to the drinking water fountain fund).
    We look forward to seeing you on the 29 November.

    The Friends calendar, shown below, has proven very popular and has had to be reprinted because the first print-run sold out. The pictures in the calendar were contributed by seven different local photographers or artists and all proceeds will go to the Park drinking fountain fund. If you can’t make it on the 29th you can also get a calendar by e-mailing the Friends at fspdog@hotmail.com.

    Shrewsbury Park 2014 Calendar

    Friends of Shrewsbury Park 2014 Calendar

    Autumn colours in Shrewsbury Park

    Autumn colours in Shrewsbury Park

     
  • hilly 4:03 pm on October 8, 2013
    Tags: , , shrewsbury park   

    Friends of Shrewsbury Park AGM on Saturday 

    New path on Dot Hill, Shrewsbury Park

    New path on Dot Hill

    The Friends of Shrewsbury Park are holding their Annual General Meeting this Saturday, 12th October starting at 11.00am. Kathy from the Friends wrote with details:

    We will be holding our Annual General Meeting on Saturday 12 October 2013, at 11am.  We will meet at the bottom of the path that leads down from the car park, and joins Dothill.  If you are unsure where this is, please get in touch.

    We will start with the business side (reports, elections), and then go on to finish the path through the old Nature Reserve – we hope you will be able to help us with this. If you are able/willing to do so,  then please bring along secateurs, loppers and stout gloves.  There will be a hot drink and biscuits for volunteers.

    We welcome members joining the Management Committee, so if you have some spare time and would like to join the small, friendly team, then please get in touch with me and I will give you more information.

    This will also be an opportunity to admire some of the Friends’ achievements over recent months, such as the new drainage system and re-surfaced path on Dot Hill pictured above. This part of the Dothill path was susceptible to flooding, as can be seen in the picture with an earlier post about the improvements, so the changes will make a big difference. Further down the path the Friends have erected a new set of wheel-chair friendly gates and a hand-carved notice board at the Garland Road entrance to the park.

    New notice board at Garland Road entrance to Shrewsbury Park

    New notice board at Garland Road entrance to Shrewsbury Park

    If you are skilled in web site maintenance you may be able to help the Friends with their excellent website. They are looking for a volunteer to take over the technical aspects of updating their site as the web designer who has looked after it for the last five years has had to step down due to work commitments. Potential web masters can contact Kathy by e-mail on fspdog@hotmail.com or come along and see her at the AGM.

    The Friends are currently raising funds for a water fountain for the park, and have produced a 2014 Calendar which will be sold to help raise money. It includes art work by local children and photographs showing the park at different times of the year. The wintry January photograph is included below. The calendar costs £5.00 and will be available at the AGM or via the Friends.

    Sledging in Shrewsbury Park

    The January Picture in the Friends of Shrewsbury Park 2014 Calendar

     
  • hilly 9:12 am on June 5, 2013
    Tags: , shrewsbury park   

    Shrewsbury Park Summer Festival 2013 

    Shrewsbury Park Summer Festival 2013 Flyer

    The Friends of Shrewsbury Park are holding their Summer Festival this Saturday, 8th June, starting at One O’Clock. Previous festivals have been great fun, especially the very popular amd well-attended Dog Show Extravaganza. Dogs, and their owners, compete to find the dogs with the best of  characteristics such as obedience, beauty and speed.

    There are some great pictures of the last Summer Festival on the Friends’ Gallery pages.

    P.S. I’ve put some of my photos of the festival on Flickr here, and I’d recommend Stu Mayhew’s set too.

    Shrewsbury Park

    Shrewsbury Park

    Shrewsbury Park

    Shrewsbury Park

     
  • hilly 1:55 pm on May 12, 2013
    Tags: , , shrewsbury park   

    Shrewsbury Park Bat Walk 

    Shrewsbury Park Bat walk poster 2013

    Bats are just amazing creatures; flying mammals that are superbly adapted to their nocturnal lifestyle. And much maligned – they are not vampiric blood-suckers, swooping down to latch onto a jugular vein. Admittedly a few Central and South American bats do feed on the blood of livestock such as pigs and cattle, but they lap up the blood coming from the cut they make in their prey’s vein rather than sucking it out. Even this has a good side: a drug has been developed from the enzyme in the bats’ saliva that prevents the blood clotting, which may, one day soon, be used to treat people who have had a stroke. A scientist with a sense of humour has called the drug Draculin.

    The Friends of Shrewsbury Park are bat lovers. Their bat walk has become an annual event, and the next one is on Friday 17th May, meeting at 8.00pm at the car park off Plum Lane. Last year’s walk took place on one of the few dry spring days, and attendees were rewarded with detection and sightings of a number of hunting pipistrelles. Hopefully the long, cold winter hasn’t had too much effect on the bats and this year’s walk will be similarly successful. The walk will pass by the bat boxes the Friends constructed and, with council assistance, attached to trees in the park last year. Sometimes it is a year or two before boxes are inhabited, and bats move between different roost sites at different times of the year, so it will be interesting to see on Friday if the park boxes have any occupants.

    Putting up bat boxes in Shrewsbury Park

    Putting up bat boxes in Shrewsbury Park

    Bats are a priority species in the Royal Borough of Greenwich Biodiversity Action Plan, which says in the species action plan for bats:

    Many bat species roost in loft spaces in houses and this sometimes causes people concern, as there are many misconceptions about bats:
    • Bats are not rodents, and do not gnaw at wood, wires or insulation.
    • All British bats consume insects and therefore their droppings are dry and crumbly, they do not putrefy like mouse droppings.
    • Bats do not nest and therefore do not bring bedding material or insect prey into roost spaces.
    • Bats are clean, and spend many hours grooming.
    • No species of British bat feed on blood.

    Aims for Greenwich:
    • To protect and enhance the present population through increasing the provision of roost sites in Greenwich.
    • To protect and enhance linear landscape features and wildlife corridors for bats to commute between roost and feeding sites.
    • To increase the abundance of insect prey available for bats.

    Pair of Pipistrelles under a thumb

    Pair of Pipistrelles under a thumb

    A good way to find our more about bats is to go along to the Bat Fest organised by the Bat Conservation trust and the Natural History Museum, which this year runs over the weekend of 1st and 2nd June at the museum in South Kensington. Volunteers from the London Bat Group will be on some of the stands. Last year it included various batty activities for children,  some more detailed technical stuff about echolocation and a series of Nature Live talks. Also there was the marvellous Jenny Clark, a bat carer who has converted part of her home in Forest Row, Sussex into a bat hospital. She brought along some of the rescue bats that couldn’t be released back into the wild because, maybe, they were unable to fly or had been hand-reared from babies. It was a rare chance to get close to live bats, and to learn how cute and fragile they are, and that they purr when stroked.

    If you share my fascination with batty matters, take a look at these Youtube videos of bats in action. First, on  BBC’s Top Bat, a sequence showing Daubenton’s Bats hunting at Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire.

    I just love this video of the Long Eared Bat silently stalking moths using its hypersensitive hearing.

     
  • hilly 3:41 pm on May 10, 2013
    Tags: , , , shrewsbury park,   

    Protected Prospects 

    Snippet from Draft Core Strategy showing local views

    Snippet from Draft Core Strategy showing local views

    The Greenwich Draft Core Strategy policy protecting local views has been inherited almost unchanged from its predecessor, the Unitary Development Plan. As well as the two “strategic views” of St. Paul’s Cathedral from Greenwich Park and Blackheath Point it provides protection for 11 specified local views, listed below, which are deemed essential to the character of the borough, especially where they include the River Thames and its banks.

    Policy DH(g) Local Views
    Planning permission will be given for development which would not have a materially adverse effect on the overall perspective and essential quality of the Local Views as listed below and as identified on Map 1:
    1. Shooter’s Hill to Central London;
    2. Shrewsbury Park towards the Lower Thames;
    3. Castlewood towards S.E. London;
    4. Eaglesfield Recreation Ground towards Bexley and the Lower Thames;
    5. Eltham Park (North) to Central London;
    6. Winns Common to the Lower Thames;
    7. Thames side panorama from the Thames Barrier open space;
    8. St. Mary’s Churchyard towards Mast Pond Wharf and beyond;
    9. Docklands panorama from the Wolfe Monument;
    10. King John’s Walk to Central London;
    11. Millennium Dome from Central Park.
    12. Others as set out in the Conservation Area Appraisals

    Number 12 is the only addition to the list in the Unitary Development Plan.

    The first four views on the list are from various points on Shooters Hill. Number 1, Shooters Hill to Central London, is the breathtaking view,  now dominated by the distant Shard, towards the iconic skyline of London.  I think the panorama is best seen as  it is gradually revealed  from the upper deck of a number 89 bus, with the Shard and BT Tower first, followed by the emerging Walkie-Talkie and Cheese Grater as you go down the hill.

    A similar view, and one I find more impressive even though it isn’t listed in the Core Strategy, is that from the top of Occupation Lane towards Central London. Here the horizon stretches from the Strata SE1 building via the London Eye, Guys, the Shard, BT Tower, City of London buildings such as the Walkie-Talkie, Cheese Grater, and Gherkin round to Canary Wharf’s ever multiplying set of towers. I’m looking forward to the reopening of Severndroog Castle, the panoramic view from the top is just amazing.

    View from Shooters Hill to Central London

    View from Shooters Hill to Central London

    There are several views from Shrewsbury Park towards the Lower Thames (number 2 on the list). Up at the top of the hill, looking north-west-ish there is a long view over towards Abbey Wood, Dagenham and the rolling hills of Essex beyond. Further round, on the Rowton Road side just up the hill from the allotments there’s the prospect of Woolwich shown below. Over to the left the new, strangely decorated, Tesco-fronted monolith of Woolwich Central has started to spoil the view. To the mid-right the towers over the Crossrail station box are growing, and someday approximately in the centre of the view will be the 21-storey towers of the Berkeley Homes’ Royal Arsenal development.

    Will this have a “materially adverse effect on the overall perspective and essential quality” of the view? Clearly the Council Planning Committee don’t think so.

    View from Shrewsbury Park towards Woolwich and the Thames

    View from Shrewsbury Park towards Woolwich and the Thames

    From the map I think Local View number 3, Castlewood towards S.E. London, is the superb wide-open misty vista, pictured below,  from the Oxleas Cafe over a wide area of south-east London and Kent, towards Sidcup and Orpington. Then there’s the fourth protected view, Eaglesfield Recreation Ground towards Bexley and the Lower Thames, eastwards in the direction of the Dartford Crossing.

    View from Oxleas Cafe towards South-east London and Kent

    View from Oxleas Cafe towards South-east London and Kent

    View from Eaglesfield Park towards Bexley and the Lower Thames

    View from Eaglesfield Park towards Bexley and the Lower Thames

    Should more local views be protected? Does the policy condition that a development should not have a  “materially adverse effect on the overall perspective and essential quality” of a view make it clear what’s acceptable?  We have until midnight on the 14th May to comment on the Greenwich Draft Core Strategy, which will guide all planning decisions until 2027. This can be done through the council’s consultation portal, or by e-mail to planning-policy@royalgreenwich.gov.uk (ensure you add “in response to Royal Greenwich Core Strategy and Development Management Policies”  in the subject section), or by using the council’s representation form.

    My favourite views from Shooters Hill are the those I can see from my bedroom window, especially the dramatically colourful sunsets over the city such as the one shown below, and the different but equally dramatic colours when the sunrise catches canary wharf’s towers. I don’t think the Planning Inspectorate will allow that in the Core Strategy.

    Sunset from Shooters Hill

    Sunset from Shooters Hill

     
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