Showing posts with label parks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label parks. Show all posts

Greenspaces: Sayes Court Park

Much better maintained than it once was, Sayes Court Park in Deptford (Grove Street) is a tiny remainder from Sayes Court Garden, the 17th century garden created by the diarist John Evelyn that once stretched over 100 acres.

Small and dotted with trees which cast pools of shadow over most of the park on sunny days, it's best enjoyed as a nice green detour or a place to sit and read.

Added to the Greenspaces Map.

Greenspaces: Friendly Gardens

Perhaps the most mistreated of the Brockley parks, Friendly Gardens is a pleasant slope of grass running parallel with Friendly Street and Lucas Street. A little too small and vertiginous for many people to spend much time in and often blighted by litter, it is a pretty spot which nonetheless sometimes has a touch of Kes about it.

Added to the Greenspaces Map.

The Brookmill Park User Group

Toby writes:

Some local residents are keen to meet up and start a community group for Brookmill Park and would love you to join us!

The first meeting will be at 6pm on Wednesday 27th August 2014 with a representative from Glendale Grounds Management who maintain the park. We're meeting at the Park Keeper’s hut next to the bird pond on Brookmill Road.

Similar groups have been highly successful in other local parks and have helped forge together fantastic local links. Among other things, we want to discuss:

How could the park be better used?
How should the park be best maintained?
Could we have an annual park festival/fair or any other events?

It would be fantastic to see as many people there as possible so we can get the show started!

If you have any questions, or if you cannot make the meeting but wish to be involved, do email Toby Swan (local resident) at or Chris Thompson from Glendale at

Mountsfield Park goes edible in major makeover

Lewisham Council writes:

Mountsfield Park in Catford is the latest park in Lewisham to be awarded funding from the Mayor of London’s ‘Pocket Parks’ initiative and will shortly undergo a major programme to transform the upper area of the park.

Lewisham Council, working alongside the Friends of Mountsfield Park, has been awarded £35,000 from the Greater London Assembly to help create a new community garden on the site of the former bowls green.

The community garden will include the creation of a number of distinct individual gardens, raised beds made with new oak railway sleepers where people and groups can plant, tend and harvest their own produce, fruit tree cordons with edible hedgerows and potentially an outside kitchen with large seating area - which will be used as an outdoor classroom or performance space.

The 13.4 hectare park, which was first opened in 1905, is also set to benefit from £450,000 funding from the Rushey Green Renewal Fund and will provide a new café with indoor seating, an outdoor gym, new fitness equipment, an improved children’s play area and better landscaping. The Council has also earmarked £35,000 of this funding to match fund the ‘Pockets Park’ funding for the community garden.

Council officers are currently working with landscape architects from Building Design Partnership (BDP) to draw up designs for the upper park and it is hoped works to the community garden will start in the New Year with works to the wider project beginning later in 2014.

Cabinet Member for Customer Services, Councillor Susan Wise, said: “Mountsfield Park is one of Lewisham’s flagship parks and attracts nearly half a million visitors every year. We are delighted to be a recipient of ‘Pocket Park’ funding which will help us create a much-wanted community garden."

Greenspaces: Dulwich Park

Dulwich Park is as immaculate and serene as neighbouring Dulwich Village.

The park's flat fields and circular layout make it perfect for football, running and cycling (banana bikes, trikes and bicycles are available for hire, although fairly pricey), while the lake, cafe and very large playground attract families in droves.

A recent addition to the park is the outdoor gym. Whereas the Hilly Fields version stands rusting on the brow of the park's most prominent slope like the Angel of the North, Dulwich's 13 new machines are dotted around its outer loop like bits of garden furniture.

Visit the Greenspaces map for a guide to parks in the area.

Lewisham's green spaces in top 10 nation-wide

Lewisham has won 14 Green Flag Awards from Keep Britain Tidy, giving it the joint-seventh-highest score for local authorities nationally. Green Flags are awarded based on criteria including cleanliness, management and safety.

Lewisham borough picked up 13 Green Flags for its outstanding parks, including Hilly Fields, Ladywell Fields and Telegraph Hill Park while Horniman Gardens, which is managed by the Museum Trust, also collected an award.

Lewisham also retained several Green Flag Community Awards (formally the Green Pennant Award) and picked up a new one for Frendsbury Gardens, the West Brockley park that was transformed in 2008.

Councillor Susan Wise, Cabinet Member for Customer Services, said: “I’m especially pleased that Frendsbury Gardens has received an award. As one of our newer open spaces, it’s a great example of how a community, supported by the Big Lottery fund, has turned around a disused space into something which is now award-winning.”

Click here for the BC Greenspaces map.

Twinkle Park - Sounds in the Park today

Grateful to the Deptford Dame, who alerted us to this star in our firmament:

‘Sounds in the Park’ is presented by Twinkle Park Trust and Friends in partnership with Parksfest 2013, a series of free events organised by Friends of Greenwich Parks and supported by the Royal Borough of Greenwich.

This Summer Festival will take place in the beautiful surroundings of Twinkle Park, close to the River Thames. This charming ecological garden with a large pond is the serene habitat of wildlife, and is surrounded by colourful shrubs and tall trees. It is a magical place of relaxation and beauty.

It will be the eighth annual summer event organised by members of the Trust, and volunteers and is a free event open to the general public. This lovely setting will provide an open air stage for the Paul Zec Jazz Quintet; reggae by DJ Patrick Gardener; Heart of Soul Steel Pans; Arty Party - mask making; Pond Dipping (a children’s activity), Pimms O’Clock café and refreshments.

In addition the Festival will host displays by the Twinkle Park Trust and Build The Lenox project; Utrophia, Community Garden, the Solar Smoothie and Portrait Stall.

Sounds in the Park
Sunday 9 June, 1-6pm
Twinkle Park, Deptford
Bring a picnic and a rug!

Greenspaces: St Paul's Churchyard

Sitting just off Deptford High Street, St Paul's church is an 18th century, Baroque masterpiece. The churchyard itself is a walled garden and a retreat from the throng of market day, with low Portland Stone walls that offer a good place to sunbathe.

The gardens look like an isometric video game, with pristine benches, gravestones, lampposts, flowerbeds and square hedges dotted around as if they've been generated at random - an island of twee in Deptford's sea of grit.

This has been added to the Greenspaces map - our guide to local parks and open spaces.

Charlotte Turner Overhaul

The Deptford Dame reports that Charlotte Turner Gardens, on the Greenwich / Deptford border, is to receive a makeover. She says:

The improvements are quite exciting - I particularly like the idea of planting an orchard and some cherry trees. More of this kind of thing please - perhaps Lewisham Homes should consider planting fruit trees in its many small public green spaces around Evelyn and Pepys? 

 The main features [include]: A central grassed area with timber-retained mounds at each end – suitable for ball games and all kinds of play activities. A tidied and more attractive area between Carrick Mews and Brig Mews, with better views of the park and easier to maintain and a row of cherry trees, running the entire west edge of the garden, bringing colour in the spring and fruit later in the year. 

This is one of the sorriest parks on the greenspaces map, so the investment is very welcome news.

Two new Lewisham pocket parks created

A press release from the Mayor of London's office says:

From fruit and veg patches to water features, work is beginning on the first of the Mayor’s 100 ‘pocket parks’ – transforming underused urban spaces into mini oases across the capital in a £2m scheme.

‘Pocket Parks’, which are around the size of a tennis court, are set to reinvent some of London’s forgotten nooks and crannies and make the capital an even better place to live and work.

In Lewisham, thanks to £67,000 from the Mayor, new planting, trails, seating and lighting, will create two ‘pocket parks’. Blackheath Elliot Pits will feature sensory equipment, a Trim Trail adventure, and a play space to educate children about the pits’ ecological importance. Sydenham Literary Piazza will be a space to sit, read and reflect and link Sydenham road with Home Park, encouraging cycling and improving safety.

All 100 ‘pocket parks’ are due to be delivered by March 2015. A further funding round for community based projects will open in May.

This is also part of the Mayor’s Team London programme which is seeking to build a volunteering legacy following the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games by encouraging Londoners to do something great for their city.

Ladywell and Deptford shortlisted for the London Planning Awards

BCer James alerts us that the finalists for this year's London Planning Awards. include Ladywell Fields for Best New Public Space (up against Leicester Square and Granary Square in King's Cross) and Deptford's Tidemill Academy / Deptford Lounge for Best Built Project (pitted against Neo Bankside, The Olympic Park, Westfield Stratford and 5 Merchant Square in Paddington).

And if you want to help maintain one of London's best public spaces, The Ladywell Village Improvement Group reports that there's a Ladywell Fields River Clean-Up, this Sunday (Nov 11th) from 10.00am to 1.00pm. They say:

This is one of the Ladywell Fields User Group's twice-yearly events run by Meet at the cafe at 9.45am to get kitted-out with waders and to hear the mandatory safety talk.

Greenspaces: Burgess Park

The £8 million redevelopment of Burgess Park in Southwark was completed earlier this year and has turned a large, flat, scraggy and unremarkable park framed by the Aylesbury Estate in to one of London's best.

Its central feature is a large lake which offers a couple of fountains, a boardwalk, fishing and outdoor barbeque area. The landscaping and planting from the Old Kent Road entrance to the football fields beyond the lake's far shore makes the waterside stroll feel like a country walk and the children's play area looks like it's been designed by a Mario Kart fan.

The Greenspaces map is our guide to the parks and public gardens of the area. Click here to explore it.

The Greenspaces Map

Greenspaces is BC's attempt to document and map the local bits of public greenery. The Greenspaces map is now live on Google Maps. Most of the markers now have links through to the corresponding articles on Brockley Central, to provide images and comment.

View Greenspaces in a larger map
You can visit it here.

There are a few glaring gaps on the map - we're adding to it as we go along.

Greenspaces: Hilly Fields

One of the area's biggest parks, Hilly Fields hovers over the neighbourhood, ringed by trees and topped with  Prendergast School. It has shaped the character of the area since it was saved from developers in the late 19th century by Octavia Hill and is now the focal point for community life in a way that no other nearby park is, hosting a full calendar of events all year round.

Hilly Fields has achieved the perfect balance for an urban park: Always busy, but never crowded, it's home to bubble makers, tightrope walkers, footballers, army fitness trainers, picnickers and open gym-bunnies. The tennis courts, basketball court and ping pong table are always in use, but there are rarely queues. It's big enough to swallow events like pop-up cinema screenings and follies like the stone circle or to let you lose yourself in the long grasses and wildflower meadow on its quieter eastern and southern sides.

Sunbathers can follow the sun from one slope to another, while the addition in recent months of a cafe and cricket square, together with a new playground, ensure it's a place to linger, as well as run through.

Click here for the Friends of Hilly Fields.

Greenspaces: Brockley and Ladywell Cemeteries

There’s you, and then there’s not you: and you are faced with the question of how you are going to spend that time. It’s so much more profound than any hypothesis about some pathetic garden with unicorns and hugs that goes forever. People don’t even know how to spend their Saturday afternoons. What do I want with eternity?
- Tim Minchin

The conjoined cemeteries (entrance at the corner of Ivy Road and Brockley Road), created in 1858 and covering 37 acres, lack the scale and Gothic grandeur of Nunhead cemetery but the shadow play of its most overgrown parts evokes magic and menace.
The pathways through the trees, dotted with Ozymandian tributes, are beautiful and humbling. Some of the more open parts are more like a funereal version of Cargiant.

The cemeteries are also an important habitat for wildlife, including butterflies, sparrowhawks and stag beetles.

Click here for the Friends of Brockley and Ladywell Cemeteries website.

LA / Stories

Occasionally, it is necessary to admit that Brockley does not have a monopoly on good ideas. Here are two, from the twin towns of LA and Charlton, that are worth thinking about importing.

Firstly, the Guardian reports that Los Angeles is removing parking spaces across the city and converting them into "parklets" - micro parks that are given over to a range of leisure activities.

In the land of valet parking, maybe kerbside parking spots are at less of a premium than SE4, but parklets could exist anywhere (the BXAG are trying to persuade Network Rail to let them take over the disused steps leading up to the higher-level of Brockley Station, to create a garden) and even if exercise bikes don't suit the British weather, gardeners could have some fun. Likewise, it would be great to create a spot in the centre of Brockley for Ping! London to install a table tennis table (especially given how well-used the one in Hilly Fields is).

Secondly, and less exotically, the people of Charlton have stopped debating whether a book-exchange would be a good idea and created one in Charlton Station. It's just a set of shelves where people can drop off or collect books. It's in the perfect spot, open nearly round the clock, and is handy for commuters. Our Charlton spy tells us the system works well and there's usually a good choice of books available.

Not that there is usually room to open a book on the ELL, but it's still an idea that could be made to happen instantly, if London Overground got on board.

What do you think?

Greenspaces: Blythe Hill Fields

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Blythe Hill Fields completes the trio of hill-top parks running through this area, from New Cross to Honor Oak. Smaller, flatter, quieter, emptier and more gently-undulating than Hilly Fields, it offers the better views across London (and over Kings College's sports ground), despite being a little further away. 

The children's play area, recently refurbished, is nicely done and is beautifully sheltered against the allotments next door.

Brockley Kate's green chain guide takes in Blythe Hill here. Visit the Friends of Blythe Hill Fields here.

Greenspaces: Twinkle Park

Watergate Street

Twinkle Park is a stone's throw from the Dog and Bell, tucked between a housing estate and the river.

Redesigned in 1992 to be shared by the now-defunct Charlotte Turner Primary School, it's divided in to two halves - a basketball court on one side and a garden on the other. When we visited, one Sunday afternoon, neither half was in use, except by a homeless guy taking a snooze amongst the reeds which fringe its duckweed filled pond.

Beautifully - eerily - quiet, it's a hotchpotch of curiosities, from a pergola on wheels to a sunken boat.

Greenspaces: Silkworks

Lewisham residential development Silkworks (Connington Road) has created a college campus atmosphere next to Tesco carpark. With a small garden at its centre, it's a nice little green stopover, most easily accessible from Elverson Road DLR.

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