Eaglesfield Pond Tidy on Sunday

Eaglesfield Pond Tidy Poster

The Friends of Eaglesfield Park are holding their final pond tidy session of the year on Sunday, 29th September, at 11.00am and would welcome any help. They are also concerned about the safety and health risks to children bathing in the pond, particularly the risk of Weil’s Disease, which can cause a range of nasty sysmptoms and even death. Madeleine from the Friends wrote:

A quick note to keep you up to date! Our Tidy Up Session on the 18th August was very successful. As most people will know, the meadow was very dense with the various grasses. This is probably due to the fact that top soil was used when the pond/meadow was reconstructed (wildflowers tend to prefer impoverished soil). However grasses are good for wildlife habitats, but we will need to control them and encourage the wildflowers.

During the tidy up we found dozens of “froglets” and many newts, water boatmen, pond skaters and spotted several large dragonflies. We were of course sad that our two “resident ducks” had been attacked by a fox and we are looking at the possibility of providing a “duck house”. However we need to research the negative effects this might have on the water quality of the pond.

We intend to plant more wildflower seeds (hopefully at the end of October) and also plug plants in October and March (weather permitting). The wildflowers plugs will include Feverfew, Globe Thistle, Tansy, Red Campion, Yellow Loosestrife, Yellow Rattle, Grim the Collier and Hedge Woundwort.

We are very concerned that some visitors to the pond area have been encouraging their dogs to use the pond, but more disturbingly adults have been seen actually lifting children over the fence so that they may swim in the pond. This may seem a good way to cool down, but it should be noted that ponds and rivers may contain Leptospirosis (Weil’s disease). Weil’s is a bacterial infection spread by animal urine. Many think Weil’s is spread only by rat’s urine but it can also come from fox, rabbit, cat and even hedgehog urine. It tends to be found in still, recreational water such as lakes and ponds, where water is not flowing freely.

Whilst relatively few cases of Weil’s infection have been reported, Friends of Eaglesfield Park are very mindful of the risk of infection during pond dipping activities. We offer advice on health and safety issues and provide disposable latex gloves and antibacterial hand wash for anyone taking part in pond dipping or pond/meadow maintenance.

I would also like to add my own comments – even if there were no risk of bacterial infection, swimming in the pond is not only irresponsible and dangerous, but it will also damage the wildlife environment of the pond and meadow we are endeavouring to create.

Please support the Friends on Sunday.

I notice the the Green Flag awarded to the park by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy has now been erected. That’s excellent news, but I’m not sure about where it has been placed – it seems a bit obtrusive to me. What do you think?

Eaglesfield Park's Green Flag
Eaglesfield Park’s Green Flag

Eaglesfield Pond Tidy on Sunday

Pond Tidy Poster

The Friends of Eaglesfield Park will be hard at work next Sunday, 18th August, tidying and weeding at the Lilly Pond starting at 11.00am. The pond will also be open for some pond dipping. They would welcome any assistance with the tidying, as Madeleine from the Friends writes:

We really would welcome your help and support to ensure that the pond and wildlife meadow continue to flourish.  If you can spare some time to help with weeding or litter picking it would be very much appreciated.  We know from comments received from visitors to the park that the pond area provides a wonderful focal point and is much valued by the local community.  It is also attracting a wide range of wildlife.    I like to think of it as “the little oasis on the hill” and believe there is so much potential for further development.  It would be really terrible if everything became overgrown and neglected.

We are meeting Sunday 18th August between 11 am and 1pm to carry out pond and meadow tidying up.  Could you join us, whatever time you can spare will  be helpful?

Pond Dipping will also be available, we have the equipment – so bring the family !

The Friends work in the park was recently recognised with the award of a Green Flag by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy.

Lilies on Eaglesfield Pond
Lilies on Eaglesfield Pond

Green Flag for Eaglesfield Park

Eaglesfield Park
Eaglesfield Park

Congratulations to the Friends of Eaglesfield Park! It was announced yesterday that environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy had awarded the park a Green Flag, a national award which recognises and rewards the best green spaces in the country. Eaglesfield is one of  1266 parks and greens spaces in the UK that have received the award in 2013. This included 11 parks in the Royal Borough of Greenwich: Avery Hill Park, Charlton Park, Eaglesfield Park, East Greenwich Pleasaunce, Eltham Park South, Fairy Hill Park, Horn Park, Maryon Park, Sutcliffe Park, The Tarn and Well Hall Pleasaunce.

In addition Plumstead Common Nature Reserve and The Slade Ponds, both looked after by the Plumstead Common Environment Group, were amongst the country’s 182 sites which received a Green Flag Community Award. The Community Award recognises high quality green spaces managed by voluntary and community groups.

The awards have been running since 1996 and are seen as the “benchmark against which our parks and green spaces are measured”. They are decided by expert judges who assess the parks against a set of eight criteria following a site visit. The criteria include the park being a welcoming place and being healthy, safe and secure and also that it has a Marketing Strategy and a Management Plan. The Community Award is assessed against similar criteria, but excluding marketing.

The Green Flag award is well-deserved recognition of all the hard work that the Friends of  Eaglesfield Park have put in over the last few years.

The Lilly Pond March 2012
Friends of Eaglesfield Park working at the Lilly Pond

The Hill is Alive

Parks Fest Poster

The Friends of Eaglesfield Park are holding a ParksFest2013 event on Saturday (13th July), with an afternoon of music by the pond. Madeleine from the Friends wrote:

The Friends of Eaglesfield Park would like to invite you to join us at  the Eaglesfield Wildlife Pond and Meadow for an afternoon of fun and music on Saturday 13th July between 2 pm and 5 pm.   An exciting Afro-Brazilian band and the Greenwich Gospel Choir will be providing the music.  Why not bring a picnic.   Enjoy an afternoon In Eaglesfield Park and check out the Restored Wildlife Pond and Meadow – it’s amazing how quickly everything has grown and the amount of wildlife it is attracting.    Take a closer look at the pond life – come and try POND DIPPING (we will supply the equipment).

Madeleine also mentioned the Friends’ participation at the EPNWS Community Fête on the 15th June, which was memorable, in part, because of the strong winds and heavy rain that that struck bang on the stroke of 1.00pm when the Fête was due to open. But they managed to “Carry on Pond Dipping Regardless” and the weather didn’t spoil their photo display detailing the various stages of the restoration of the pond and meadow.

1.00pm on 15th June in Eaglesfield Park
1.00pm on 15th June in Eaglesfield Park

Madeleine gave an update on the Friends’ plans for the pond:

 Our aim is to provide a habitat that will encourage a wide range of wildlife – wildflowers/grasses, insects, bees, butterflies, pond life, birds, etc and a healthy well balanced pond environment.   Creating the appropriate habitat is not just a question of “let everything grow, let Nature do its own thing”.  Some plants are “thugs” and will take over very quickly, which smother some of the important nectar rich wildflowers.  So it does mean we need to carry out maintenance and tidying.

This aspect of work is very much a learning curve for FOEP.  We are compiling reference guides for identification of wildflowers, pond creatures, butterflies, birds, dragonflies/damsel flies, bees etc.   If anyone has an interest in this type of research or monitoring we would love to hear from you.   FOEP is not just pond dipping, digging and gardening!   Although I enjoy hands-on gardening, I must admit since I have become more involved with identification and research, I am more aware of how much there is to see, once you start looking!

FOEP will arrange another Pond Dipping and Tidying Session as soon as possible.  Please keep an eye on our notice board at the Foxcroft Road entrance to Eaglesfield Park.

Finally,  please keep in touch with us.  We would like to hear your comments and suggestions about any aspect of Eaglesfield Park – don’t forget the area on the other side of Eaglesfield Road is also part of the park.

We are only a “small band”  – so anything you could do to help would be very much appreciated.

There will be another ParksFest2013 event, Plumstead Live,  on Winns Common on Sunday 21st July, with a line up of four Jazz, Soul, Funk and Blues acts.

Eaglesfield Park Neighbourhood Watch Scheme (EPNWS) Community Fête
EPNWS Community Fete at Eaglesfield Park

Eaglesfield Park Community Fête 2013

Fete Poster - Artwork by Kalea Moore, Christ Church Primary School, year 5
Artwork by Kalea Moore, Christ Church Primary School, year 5

The Eaglesfield Park Neighbourhood Watch Scheme (EPNWS) Community Fête looks like it will be even better than ever this year. It takes place this Saturday, 15th June from 1.00pm and, as well as over 30 stalls, the attractions include the Kings Troop Royal Horse Artillery. As the EPNWS Summer Newsletter says:

This is the sixth year that the fete has been held to help promote the benefits of Neighbourhood Watch and foster community spirit. The fete will be opened at 1pm by Borough Commander Detective Chief Superintendent Richard Wood, poster competition winners from Christ Church Primary School and resident John Pead in memory of his wife and fellow EPNWS co-ordinator Annie Pead who died suddenly in February.
There are over 30 activities and stalls this year. New attractions include a puppet show, model trains and the Kings Troop Royal Horse Artillery. Other activities include mini tennis and golf, children’s story telling, face painting, pond dipping, hurdles and frisbees. Greenwich Met Police teams will be on hand as well as the Eltham Fire Brigade. Pets at Home Charlton will be providing pet care advice and Woodlands Farm will be bringing some of the farm animals, and there’s much more.

Celebrating the opening of The Lilly Pond 15 June 2012
Celebrating the opening of The Lilly Pond 15 June 2012

Saturday will also be the first anniversary of the grand opening of the restored Eaglesfield Park Lilly Pond, and the Friends of Eaglesfield Park will be host a display of photos about the changes to the pond and an opportunity to try pond dipping. Madeleine from the Friends wrote:

We will be holding a Pond Dipping Session at the Neighbourhood Watch Community Fete on 15th June, between 1 pm – 4 pm.   So do please come and see us.   We will supply the equipment.
We will have a photo display which will show the pond and meadow through the stages of restoration, grand opening and various events.  The pond life is beginning to establish and photos show what we have found already and those yet to be discovered.  It will also provide details of the meadow preparation and the flowers and plants we hope to attract (and those we don’t want).   The butterflies and insects are important and they are also detailed in the display.  We haven’t forgotten the birds.  As we gather information, we will add to our on-going “Life at Eaglesfield Pond”.

A not-to-be-missed event.

Pond Dipping Poster

New Friends of Eaglesfield Park Blog

Autumnal Eaglesfield Park
Autumnal Eaglesfield Park

The Friends of Eaglesfield Park have launched a new blog to keep us up to date with what’s happening in the park, such as the recent pond dipping and tidying event. They mention that the next opportunity for pond dipping will be at the Eaglesfield Park Neighbourhood Watch Scheme 2013 Community Fête on Saturday 15 June between 1 and 4 pm, and that they are planning to hold a Parkfest Event on Saturday 13th July.

I’ve added the new blog to the local links list on the right.

Dipping and Tidying at Eaglesfield Pond

Eaglesfield Pond Ad Page 1

Madeleine from the Friends of Eaglesfield Park wrote with the latest news about the pond, and about a Pond Dipping event this Sunday, from 10am to 12.00 Noon. This will be combined with the first weeding and tidying session of 2013 for the wild flower garden around the pond.

Madeleine wrote:

Finally Spring (and the sunshine)  have arrived and we can continue the development and tidy up of the pond and meadow.   The pond life seems to be flourishing, including newts, frogs, water boatman, water skaters, dragonfly with plenty of other interesting creatures we have yet to identify!  The meadow has “greened up” well, but we need to reduce the  invasive “weeds” and grass so that the wildflower seeds planted last year have a better chance of survival.  We also have more seeds to sow and will be adding further plants.  By now it is “old” news that there are up to a dozen ducks that regularly visit the pond. I also understand that bats have  been seen hunting around the pond.    We would like to thank everyone for their support and hard work in transforming this  once forgotten part of Eaglesfield Park into a beautiful focal point for wildlife and the local community.

We are meeting on Sunday 19th May between 10.00 am and 12.00 noon to carry out litter picking, weeding and planting and would very much appreciate your help – whatever time you can spare would be a valuable contribution.  Sorry, but could you bring your own tools (spade, fork, trowel, builder’s bucket) and don’t forget to wear old clothes, wellies and gloves.  It won’t be all hard work though, we intend to have a bit of fun!    We will be POND DIPPING as well.
So, why not bring the family to try POND DIPPING and help identify the various pond creatures.   We will supply pond dipping nets and information for identification.

We do hope you will pop round to see us.

Whilst writing, some news in brief:
– We are still working with Royal Greenwich and the Lottery Fund and hope to have new signage in and around the Park in the very near future.
– IT access is currently being updated and we will keep you informed.  Meanwhile, if you have queries or comments,  I am happy to help.
– We are in the early stages of planning park events.

On a personal level, I have lived on Shooters Hill all my life and have been a member of Friends of Eaglesfield Park (FOEP) since it was set up in 2006.   I remember the pond as a beauty spot that everyone visited but which over the years became overgrown, a dumping area and eventually a dried up scrub.  In fact many people did not realise the pond had ever existed!   I do hope you agree with me that the restored wildlife pond and meadow is a wonderful opportunity to study nature in a tranquil setting.   If you would like to know how you can help the FOEP, please get in touch.  We really could do with some extra help!

The pond is looking good at the moment.  I notice that a new tree has been planted where the Mulberry that fell over during the pond work used to be. I hope it’s a replacement Mulberry!

My sequence of pond pictures continues to grow, showing the changing seasons and weather.

A new tree at Eaglesfield Pond
A new tree at Eaglesfield Pond
Pair of Mallards at Eaglesfield Park Lilly Pond
Pair of Mallards at Eaglesfield Park Lilly Pond

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

Happy Christmas

Robin at Woodlands Farm

My favourite Christmas cards are those featuring robins, so here’s a picture of  one taken at Woodlands Farm to accompany my season’s greetings.

Season’s greetings too from Madeleine at the the Friends of Eaglesfield Park, with thanks to all the volunteers who helped to create the wildlife pond and meadow at the park.

Eaglesfield Park Season's Greetings to members

Christmas Songs in Eaglesfield Park

Eaglesfield Park Neighbourhood Watch Scheme Songs in the Park Poster

Eaglesfield Park Neighbourhood Watch Scheme have organised a festive event in Eaglesfield Park next Thursday, 6th December at 6:30pm, with the choirs of Plumcroft and Christ Church Schools singing seasonal songs. Their e-mail about the event said:

I am delighted to confirm that the Eaglesfield Park Neighbourhood Watch Scheme is hosting our first ever Songs in the Park event on Thursday 6 December, from 6:30 to 7:30pm in the children’s play area in Eaglesfield Park (weather permitting).
If the heavens open, the entire event will be hosted in the Woolwich and Plumstead Bowls Club!
We would be delighted if you would join the EPNWS scheme co-ordinators, plus 60 children from Plumcroft and Christ Church Primary Schools to sing up to 12 festive songs and enjoy some mulled wine and mince pies.
The event showcases the terrific partnership work between Plumcroft and Christ Church Primary Schools and Neighbourhood Watch and helps to promote community spirit.
Please wear appropriate clothing and come armed with a torch and/or battery operated lights.

The current weather forecast for Thursday evening is light rain showers and 4°C,  so we’ll need to wear warm clothing and bring an umbrella.

Eaglesfield Park has been particularly beautiful recently – the epitome of autumnal mists and mellow fruitfulness  –  as you can see in the photographs below, and there are more in my ever-increasing sequence of Lilly Pond photographs on Flickr.

Autumnal Eaglesfield Park
Autumnal Eaglesfield Park
Autumnal Eaglesfield Park
Autumnal Eaglesfield Park