Manor Park

Grand Opening of the Manor Park Playground

After 4 years of hard work the community came together on Sunday 14th August for the grand opening of the new Manor Park playground.

Many local people turned up to support this momentous occasion. Simeon Linstead, Chair of Friends of Manor Park, introduced our amazing project leader, Fiona Sowell. She’s led this work from day one, and her persistence has certainly paid off, with what is arguably one of the best playgrounds in the borough.

Fiona gave a short speech, during which she told the story of how we got to where we are today, she also thanked the community for their amazing support, our fundraising team, local councillors (particularly former cllr Simon Edwards), Kinsgton Council, Mayor of London, our landscape architects – Outerspace, the playground supplier – Kompan, and the local businesses who supported the event – Hooky Street, Tesco, Co-op, and Plough Bakery.

Fiona then handed over to the former Mayor, Cllr Thay Thayalan, who gave a short speech. He made reference to the fantastic community effort that’s gone into this playground, how Covid had made it a much more challenging project, and the council’s committment to parks through its Community Playgrounds Programme.  He then cut the ribbon which was tied across the monkey bars AND our playground was formerly open.

Read more about the story of the playground

The Friends of Manor Park Team ran a couple of gazebos. In one we listened to ideas from the community, answered questions, and showed off the architects drawings for the park masterplan.

Kompan, the company that installed the playground had a gazebo where families could pick up tokens to get free ice creams. We also had another stall where Harriet Linstead applied glitter makeup and a balloon lady who modelled funny shaped balloons for the children. The ever popular Hooky Street Cafe had a stall for coffee, cold drinks and snacks.

We received lots of positive feedback from local parents, who love the new larger space, the fantastic new equipment and the smart picnic seating. People were saying how they now have a playground they can invite their friends to.

Find out what’s next for the playground and the park – read more

View more photos from the opening event – gallery

Fionna Sowell giving a speech about the history of this project.
Simeon Linstead, Chair of Friends of Manor Park, outside the Friends of Manor Park stall
Queuing up for ice creams courtesy of Kompan.
Richard Broome of Outerspace the landscape designers
Harriet Linstead applying glitter makeup
Former Mayor Cllr Thay Thayala giving a speech
Cllr Thay Thayala officially opening the playground.
The Balloon Modeller
The queue for the Balloon Modeller.
Hooky Street Cafe
Manor Park

Suburban Swift Safari

On Wednesday 6th of July Simeon Linsted organised a talk and walk on the subject of swifts in the UK.  We met outside the Shiraz Mirza Hall in Manor Park and there was given a talk about swifts by Louise Cole and Elliot Newton. We learned that swifts spend 90% of their lives in flight, that they migrate from southern Africa and they return to the same nests in the UK every year to breed. 

We then went on a walk around the streets of New Malden, observing swifts in the evening sky. A peregrine falcon and a wood pecker was also spotted. This demonstrates the diversity of bird life in our local area. 

The walk ended on Amberwood Rise outside the house of Louise’s son. We watched in astonishment at the swarm of swifts flying overhead.  Here Louise showed us her son’s swift boxes, on the front of his house. 

A big thank you to Louise, Elliot and Simeon for such an educational talk and walk. 

Louise giving us a talk on swifts.
Looking at swifts in the sky
Swifts in the evening sky.
Swift box on a house.
Manor Park

Summer Solstice Nature Walk

On the longest day of the year (21st June) a nature walk and talk was organised. We started off in early evening at the Moated Manor next to the Ewell Bypass. There Elliot Newton gave us a lecture on conservation, wildlife and history of Tolworth Court Farm, inside an old barn. We also admired a nest of kestrels in a tree on the Moated Manor nature reserve.

We then proceed across the Ewell Bypass into Tolworth Court Farm. Elliot guided us around Tolworth Court Farm, stopping off at various points to point out the natural features of the area. We finished the evening with a quick pint in the Hogsmill pub.

A big thank you to Simeon Linstead for organising the evening walk and to Eliot Newton for being our guide for the evening.

Manor Park

Volunteers spring to action into Manor Park (March Volunteer Morning)

We ran our 2nd volunteer morning of the year on Saturday 12th March. Once again the weather was very kind to us – sunshine and light breezes.

By 10am we were all set up with the gazebo, refreshment table, along with all our tools and other equipment.

We never know who is going to turn up on the day, but as usual we weren’t to be disappointed. A good size group were congregated around the gazebo by kick-off. We had a quite few new volunteers, who’d been attracted our posters along Malden Road.

Tasks for the day were litter-picking, hedge planting and woodland maintenance. The latter involved widening a cut-through between the senior football pitches and the wild area in the far corner of the park.

All three tasks posed no difficulties for our enthusiastic volunteers.

The hedge which runs along the back of the houses near the junior football pitches, will create a real legacy, providing a great new habitat for wildlife for many decades to come.

The cut-through at the back simply makes it more likely that people will venture into the wild meadow area. We also hope that it will make this space feel less intimidating for people walking around the park by themselves.

We had a handful of amazing junior helpers who helped pick litter and spread woodchip mulch around the base of the wildlife hedge.

The Friends of Manor Park team enjoyed meeting everyone. A massive thank you to all who attended.

Note:

  • The next big happening in the park is the installation of the new playground. It’s going be really special. We will arrange a little get together to celebrate the opening.
  • Every Thursday volunteers litter pick in the park. Anyone can join. Just bring a litterpick and a plastic bag.
  • Our large Saturday volunteers mornings will resume in September, however we may put out a call for volunteers for smaller task in the meantime.

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Manor Park

Our February Volunteer Morning

Back in Manor Park working with the community to make our lovely space that little bit nicer….

The weather forecast was looking good for our February Volunteer Morning, and it didn’t disappoint. Saturday 5th February started bright and brisk.

The Friends team set up the gazebo and he tea station just after 9am. Always nice to see the team and catch-up.

The gloves, gardening tools, litter-picks, wheel-barrows were lined up and ready. Fiona was poised with the council’s design plans for the playground, which we were hoping to show to the park users.

By 10am a group of about 30 volunteers had appeared, which included many of our regulars, and was bolstered by the presence of 4 prospective council candidates for the forthcoming May elections.

We ran through the tasks for the day, which included: improving the boggy areas around the path that runs parallel with the railway line, by adding word-chip; hedge planting towards the car park; widening an opening between the adult football pitches and the rear meadow; and litter-picking.

Elliot Newton, who is responsible for Kingston Council’s bio-diversity activities, joined us and amongst other things, started us off with a tool safety talk.

We then split into groups and headed off to embark on our tasks.

Fantastic progress was made. The wildlife hedge grew by another 20 metres.

The cut-through was widened. We’re trying to create clear sight-lines into the rear meadow area.

 

The boggy area along the pathway was filled in, helped by our uniformed friends.

Adding woodchip to help fill puddles and muddy patches on the path behind the bowls club

The police arrived shortly after we started, and joined in with the tasks. We love it when the ward team help out. Always interesting hearing about local crime. A few good stories.

Meantime at basecamp, Annabel marshalled park users over to the gazebo to look at the playground plans and give feedback to Fiona, who’s been leading this project for the Friends team.

Tea break was at 11:30am. It’s always a great opportunity to get together to chat with our neighbours. Elliot Newton gave a talk on the wildlife in the park and the borough. The gathered children peppered him with interesting questions.

One of our local parents, Yvonna, arrived with her boys and a painted bat box they’d assembled. We mounted this in one of the trees in the Bluebell Copse. Hopefully, this will become the home to a few of our local bats. We have a good few in the park.

The final hour of the workday saw all tasks completed. We packed away the gazebo, the tools, and headed our separate ways.

A massive thank you to all our wonderful volunteers, and to Elliot Newton for supporting the event.

Our next workday is on Saturday 12th March. More information.

If you’d like to get more involved with Friends of Manor Park, please do drop us a line at team@ourmanorpark.org.uk

(Photographs courtesy of James Campbell Insta @jamesryancampbell)

Plough Green

Christmas on Plough Green

Christmas at Plough Green, this year, sees our biggest tree yet gracing our festive space, and a lovely switch-on event, which took place on Saturday 4th December. The event was organised by Fiona Sowell and Nausheen Arnold, and our Community Christmas Tree was organised by Posey Furnish. A massive thank-you to all three of you. A lot of hard work went into making this happen.

Our Community Christmas Tree

Posey had organised a large team of local volunteers to help decorate and put the tree into place on the green. It was quite an effort this year, as she’d managed to order our biggest tree yet, at 18ft. Posey’s threatening something bigger for next year! Matt Martin from Ivy Gate, kindly always pays for the tree, whilst Fangorn Landscapes, provide the white picket fencing. Thank-you to all involved.

‘Switch-on’

After a tough 18 months it was good to be back on Plough Green surrounded by our lovely neighbours for the Christmas lights switch-on. And what an evening it was. The event was organised by Fiona and Nausheen, who’d spent hours making sure it would be a night to remember.
A big thumbs up to the Vibrant Ukes for their wonderful Christmas music. Song sheets were handed out to the crowd, who added their voices to the festive sing-along. The Deputy Mayor of the Royal Borough of Kingston, Councillor Self, gave a short uplifting speech and counted us down to the switch-on.

It was a heart warming evening

Local children decorated the tree with hand painted baubles. Our volunteers ran the Friends of Manor Park gazebo – which had a selfy-frame, all sort of treats, a lucky dip and a raffle (with many prizes provided by local businesses). Miller and Carter ran the ‘free’ food and drink stand, which had contributions from their restaurant, Hooky Street Café, Plough Bakers and Waitrose. We really couldn’t have run the event without the support of Miller and Carter. Many volunteers helped out on the evening. A massive thank-you. It was lovely seeing so many of the Old Malden community turn out. Our local businesses are very much part of that community, so a big thank-you to all those who supported the event with financial help, your products/services and your time.
  • Ivy Gate
  • Miller and Carter
  • TLM Carpentry
  • Hooky Street Coffee Co
  • Fangorn Landscapes
  • Penney Ash Electrical
  • W.A. Truelove & Son
  • Joanne Chandler’s Hair Salon
  • Plough Pharmacy
  • Cartridge Clinic
  • Glamma City
  • Crown Perfect
  • Plough Bakery
  • Prontaprint
  • Worcester Park Tiles
  • Jazz Barbers
  • Cottage Brew & Play
  • Meatheads
  • Bella Boutique
  • James Campbell Photography