Thanks to a huge effort from volunteers and park Friends, funding from CPRE London (formerly Campaign for the Protection of Rural England), young tree whips from TCV (The Conservation Volunteers) and year-old saplings from idverde we have now planted 300 rowan, oak, birch, hazel and hawthorn plants to create 50m of mixed hedgerow in Alex Rec.
Willow arch in Cator Park
In 2022 we planted a living willow archway in Cator Park to create a natural feature/ play area and be of interest for adults and children alike. We made the raised beds high enough to avoid damage by dogs running through the young willow plants and so that our elderly members can still help to weed / maintain the raised beds.
The living willow archway is planted in sleeper type raised beds to form a tunnel that children can run through.
We will also be able to show the children who visit the park how vegetables & herbs grow and hopefully they will be able to sample some of the veg e.g. runner beans when visiting the park under adult supervision.
The Friends have made a bug hotel in each park and we hear new tiny guests have been checking in and making themselves cosy – we encourage park users to collect pine cones and other organic matter to add to the hotel to keep it open for our insect guests!
Idverde is contracted to repair and maintain the paddling pool on an annual basis. Unfortunately, idverde informed us at the end of 2020 that the paddling pool is no longer viable in its current form and we needed to canvas opinion on what to do in this area. To this end we conducted a survey on the possible future uses of the area to help inform the project team in December 2020. The Friends report can be read here and the full results here.
A review was undertaken by the Parks & Greenspaces Borough Manager and Councillor Huntington-Thresher, Portfolio Holder for Environment and Community Services in conjunction with idverde the parks service contractors.
They have advised that it is not possible or cost effective to repair the paddling pool this year. The likely cost of repair of the existing facility would exceed £30,000, with no guarantee of the repair holding for future seasons. Therefore, the Council has decided not to repair the existing facility. Instead, the Council wishes to explore options with idverde and the Friends, to utilise funds to secure a more cost-effective solution for the paddling pool site.
As part of the Jubilee funding projects we have had playground markings and made other improvements so it can be used as a play and picnic area .
Alex Rec paddling pool
A storage space for gardening implements has been created in Cator Park which will be a great help for our gardening sessions.
We may have been in lockdown in March 2020 but there was still new planting activity in both parks. There have been 30 trees planted given to us by the Woodland Trust – a selection of Rowans, Silver Birches and Wild Cherry for each park. Some of the committee and our regular volunteers have done an amazing job watering these during the hot spells we had over the summer. We’ve had a few casualties however so if you are able, on any hot sunny days, we’d be really grateful for watering help. Why not take an extra bottle of water with you when you visit and water any saplings or smaller trees you come across – every little helps!
The picture on the right shows how much they've grown in 3 years!
Storage in Cator Park
The mural around the bowling house in Alex Recreation Ground has been completed. It now wraps around the entire building and is a bright and colourful new addition to the park – showcasing the park and its regular users like the Seymour Villa Football Club who helped to fund the project.
Mural in Alex Rec