Good deeds in Manor Park

It was a barmy May evening when a group of Lycra clad fitness enthusiasts turned up at Manor Park to do something amazing. I know this sounds a little odd, but it’ll make sense……

There’s a charity called GoodGym, which helps combine fitness with good deeds. The idea being that the ‘good deed’ is the thing that helps you to stick at the fitness activity.

Anyway, some of you will know that the Friends of Manor Park has been working to improve the wooded copse just by the railway. The local community have worked hard to restore it, starting by thinning out trees, removing undergrowth, clearing an old path, and then planting 2,000 bluebell bulbs. At the volunteer day in April the path was partially covered with woodchip, but sadly we ran out. This was a task we were keen to complete…..

… when we were contacted by Mark Barun from GoodGym to offer the services of a group of community minded people, who would run from Kingston to our park, and do a good deed for half an hour, we leapt at the chance.

We ordered a large pile of woodchip to be delivered to the park in anticipation of this free source of enthusiastic people-power.

On Tuesday evening, (22nd May), 10 people ran 5k from the Guildhall in Kingston, to Manor Park, New Malden. Upon arrival they set about loading wheelbarrows with the woodchip, and taking it into the Bluebell Copse, where they raked it over the length of the path. It was quite a flurry of activity – a blur of brightly coloured sportswear. Within the half-hour (their allotted time) the entire path was covered with the woodchip. It now looks fabulous.

At the end of the session the group of ten GoodGymers gathered for a group pic, and listened to a few words on the work of Friends of Manor Park, then turned and headed out the park at a trot for another 5k run back to the Guidhall.

It’s amazing you can get done with enough people really going at it for a short burst.

We’re looking forward to working with GoodGym again in the not too distant future. If you’ve got a good deed you think GoodGym could help with, then do drop Mark Barun an email at And if you’d like to offer your time to help us at the park please send an email to

A big thank you to the GoodGym team for helping us at Manor Park.

Simeon Linstead, Friends of Manor Park

Nature Day in Manor Park

Well over 100 people attended our first Friends of Manor Park ‘Nature Day’ – our best attended event yet.

We arrived early to get set up. It was a lovely warm sunny April morning. Manor Park is very peaceful first thing. Just a few dog walkers minding their own business.

I was soon joined by Elliot Newton, from the Environment Trust. We drove our cars across the sports field over to the newly restored Bluebell Copse, to get our equipment in place, and our base-camp set up. We were soon joined by the team from 1st Old Malden Scouts, who set up next to us.

By 9:45am we were ready. James, our web-designer, and photographer for the day, had planted all 16 clues for Nature Trail in various locations across the park’s 25 acres. All Elliot’s gardening equipment was neatly laid out on the grass ready for our volunteers. Our new event shelter looked fabulous. Sandra and David were ready with the refreshments.

Approaching 10am we were joined by a growing number of adult volunteers, including a couple of our local councillors, and quite a few familiar faces. Sandra and David made everyone feel very welcome with hot drinks.

I gave a short welcome speech, and then handed over to Elliot who explained the tasks for the day – sowing wildflowers in the rear meadow, weeding and laying woodchip on the path in the Bluebell Copse, and some litter picking.

As the volunteers headed off to engage in their tasks, the area started filling with Beavers, Cubs and Scouts from the 1st Old Malden Scout Pack, and parents with children, who were going to do the Nature Trail. (Note: We’d love to do some work with other local scouting groups next year).

Elliot gave the children a short nature talk. The 1st Old Malden Pack then headed off to survey wildlife in the park, whilst the children with parents embarked on the Nature Trail, or litter-picking, depending on what grabbed their fancy.

The team in the copse made great progress over the course of the day, pulling up the new growth of nettles, laying wood-chip on the path, and even building a bug-hotel out logs and branches. Our Bluebell Copse looked magnificent.

Over in the rear meadow life was little tougher. We hadn’t quite got the knack of removing strips of grass to prepare the ground for the wild-flower seed, however, we got there in the end, accompanied by the sounds a local woodpecker drumming away on a nearby tree.

We sowed about 20m2 of seed – a mix of perennials and annuals especially suited to heavy clay. Time will tell if they take. I suspect it’ll take us 2 -3 seasons to get the flowering meadow properly established.

The children on the nature trail had a great time exploring the park, finding places they’d never been before. Some were unaware there is a seasonal pond the park, and on Saturday it was teaming with tadpoles and newts.

Brian Schindler (far right), from the Kingston Permiculture Reserve, turned up with an apple tree in the afternoon. We helped him planted it near the path leading to the rear meadow. If it takes it’ll be a whopper. (This maybe the first tree in a community orchard.)

The day wrapped up around 2pm. The Scouts had cleaned us out of biscuits and cake. Our wild-flower seeds were sown, a wood-chip path was laid, a copse cleared of nettles, and a lot of children had had a lovely morning exploring the wildlife of Manor Park.

A BIG BIG thank you to all our volunteers, Elliot from the Environment Trust, and Andy from idverde.

To get involved in our work in Manor Park just drop me a line at

Simeon Linstead

Chair – Friends of Manor Park



Welcome to the blog on the ‘new’ Friends of Manor Park website. We’ve only just launched this website, so haven’t as yet had an opportunity to blog….but blog we will.

Watch this space – as in due course we’ll be featuring updates on our activities in the park, and other topics we think/hope you may find of interest.

Oh yes…….please don’t forget our AGM in the Manor Park Hall on Tuesday 16th April, and our spectacular Nature Day on Saturday 21st April. All most welcome.

Best wishes,
Simeon (Chair – Friends of Manor Park)