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)

Autumn Volunteer Morning

A big big thank you to all the wonderful volunteers who helped out at Manor Park. A lot was achieved. Paths were rejuvenated with woodchip (around the bird feeders and between Memorial Meadow (back space) and the rear sports pitch. We tidied up by the railway bridge. We raked cuttings off our wildflower meadow areas to help make them more friendly for wildflowers. We also crowned some trees in the Memorial Meadow. This prevents them from becoming bush-like and thus depriving the surrounding area of light, which reduces biodiversity. Thanks to Elliot Newton and Andrew Robinson for sorting out the equipment

The Plough Green Christmas Tree is back!

A massive thank-you to the volunteers that helped on a rather chilly Saturday morning the raising and decorating of the Plough Green Christmas tree.

And thanks to our financial supporters –  Matt Martin owner of Ivygate Estate Agents, Dental Sense,. Joanne Chandler, W A Truelove and Sons, The Cartridge Clinic, and the Plough Bakery.

Great to be back in the park for our Autumn Volunteer Morning

Volunteer Morning – Saturday 19th October

We’d postponed our Volunteer morning by a week to avoid the torrential rains of the previous weekend. We were rewarded with a very mild, and dry, Autumnal day.

As usual the Friends team, Fiona, Bryn, Nausheen and myself, were on site early to get our base-camp area set-up, supported by a couple of regulars – James, the photographer, and Malcolm.

We’d put in place extra precautions to protect our volunteers during this COVID crisis – these included clean/dirty tool areas, brand new gloves, registration, and social distanced working groups.

We had no idea how many people would come down today – given the current state of affairs. As it turned, we were not to be disappointed. We had a fantastic turn-out, with lots of regular faces, and some new faces. Everyone was very respectful of the safety measures we’d put in place. A massive thank-you to everyone who came down and who made such a huge effort to get our park looking great.

(Video – Fiona Sowell)

We did have a few people litter-picking, but it is testament to the hard work of the weekday group that we only managed to fill up two large bags with rubbish. We did find a set of golf clubs. Not sure how they got there!

With so many people on site, we were able to take on lots of jobs. The pond area was cleared-back and opened-up. We want to avoid the pond space becoming overgrown and dark.

Our volunteers worked hard to spread wood-chip on the path around the pond, the path across the private land, and the one that goes past the bird-feeders at the back of the park. A lot of bramble was removed at the front near the road, and some of the trees here had their lower branches removed to help open-up sight-lines and improve the shape of their crowns. At the back of the park a cut-through between the rear sports field and the rear meadow was re-opened, and wood-chip spread through here. These cut-throughs make the space more interesting to walk around.

Apart from the fact that lots of work was done, I also reflect on how lovely it was being out working in the park with our fellow neighbours. What a great sense of comradery and common purpose there was. There’s no doubt that these events are very good for our mental as well as physical well-being.

We all have a shared interest in our local park, and many have come to really appreciate the amenity it has offered us during lockdown and afterwards. As a community we’ll keep working to protect and improve this wonderful space.

(Thank-you to Andy Robinson, Community Manager, idverde, for organising the tools and the wood-chip deliveries, and also to Elliot Newton for lending additional tools from your Citizen Zoo tool stash. Once again thanks to James Campbell taking photos).

 

(Photograph by James Campbell)

(Photograph by James Campbell)

(Photograph by James Campbell)

(Photograph by James Campbell)

(Photograph by James Campbell)

(Photograph by James Campbell)

(Photograph by James Campbell)

(Photograph by James Campbell)

(Photograph by James Campbell)

(Photograph by James Campbell)

 

 

Opening up the overgrown cut-through at the back of the park

Anyone missing some golf clubs?

Dreadful swing..