Fête accomplit

Following today’s midday downpour, which coincided with the start of the Eaglesfield park Fête, there wasn’t much water left in the sky, and the rest of the afternoon was mostly warm and sunny, hence the rather painful pun of a title for this post. The organisers of today’s event could be pretty pleased with how they avoided the worst of the elements today, and the crowd was a happy one.

The main bit of news today was that the Friends of Eaglesfield Park announced that their bid to restore the Lilypond has been a successful one, and they have secured the money required to complete the works, which will be going ahead this summer. As well as relining the pond, other park improvements will include better access at the Eaglesfield road entrance (i.e. a ramp), and better (less crumbly) paths. Improved signs may also be installed, which may help to encourage new visitors to the park.

The Lilypond itself is something of an historical gem according to local archaeologist Andy Brockman, who is investigating the hypothesis that it was part of an ornamental pleasure gardens attached to the old site of the Bull Inn. The Bull used to be a much larger enterprise, which would also have had much larger grounds in which guests could promenade and take in the country air and views of the surrounding counties. Thus, the Lilypond may have been enjoyed as an attractive water feature as long ago as the late 1700’s (due to Andy’s discovery of 18th century ceramics in the pond), and its reinstatement gives the local area something to be really proud of, continuity with its rich historical tradition.

In other park news…the proposed installation of gym equipment in the park remains an open question a year after the first round of consultations took place, with apparently little enthusiasm locally. Having seen the “legacy gym” in Oxleas Woods, a gaudy day-glo affair that mainly seems to get used by children, it’s apparent that such a thing wouldn’t blend so well into the surroundings. Having said that, the current swing park (built in 1994) is made of similarly unsustainable materials, and is the central feature of the whole park; so would a bit more metal and concrete really make such a difference to the overall feel of the park? And would encouraging exercise enthusiasts into the park be a price worth paying – provided they do actually come. This is aside from the fact that there’s apparently no contingency money to maintain these Olympic legacy gyms in the long-term, so this being the case, these gyms could end up being something of a blight on the public space if no-one steps in the care for them.

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