Leisure centers apparently have life expectancies of ~40 years and the one named Gurnell, located in what we like to call the greater Perivale park in the late 1970s, had reached the end of its life. The original redevelopment plans, the “Gurnell redevelopment”, were rejected a year or so ago by the council planning committee and after a rethink a new team at Ealing Council has put forward what they call a very different set of proposals. A public meeting was held on 30th November to announce these plans to the public. Here I show a few of the posters and slides on show.
The relatively wet and warm autumn here has delayed the onset of full tree colour. One of the best displays in the park comes from the row of trees planted along the path parallel to the athletics track. The colour lasts a long time before the leaves drop.
Hunting for fungi is always great fun in the park – not for eating of course. Here are just a few we found over the last few days.
To the west of Perivale park are to be found Northala Fields, the prominent features of which are the four tall mounds with two outstanding viewpoints at their tops. Now to the south west of Perivale an even larger feature is taking shape- Glade lane canalside park.
A well-used path connecting the bridge across Coston’s brook and the Betham road entrance across the meadow there used to be a main access point to the “tadpole” pond in the park. Thanks Ros for photo!
Thanks to the relatively late seeding, the larger flower meadow in the park (in between the orchard area and the MUGA court) has some late autumn colour. Thanks to Michael for some photos.
Perivale park is blessed with having lots of green interesting areas surrounding it and one of them is Paradise Fields, just up to the road so to speak. There a project to introduce beavers is taking place (around five), following the earlier such project at Enfield and the birth of the first baby beavers in London in 400 years there.
What, you might ask is the connection between Perivale Park and the Colne Valley viaduct?The viaduct is part of the HS2 rail link from London to Birmingham – and possibly beyond – and will be 3.4 km long, the longest railway viaduct in the UK. East of the viaduct a tunnel is being bored by TBMs Caroline and Sushila from Northolt to Greenford, ending just up the road from the park at Green Park way. Two more TBMs will head towards Greenford from Old Oak common, a new interchange station expected to be one of the busiest in the UK.
The MUGA (multi-use-games-area) is a games area – where people might run (or at least trot). When playing games (or even trotting), you need a level surface where you are not likely to slip. So the photos below show the park MUGA as I found it today.
This proposal certainly has caused much discussion and excitement. I managed to find some more detail, whilst we wait for more of the facts surrounding this proposal to emerge. This is the link and I only pull out a few snippets from that. Perhaps someone well versed in this sort of speak can identify other important aspects? Continue reading “Creation of a regional park – Some detail. And reference to a lido proposal?”
As you can see from the map below, Perivale park abuts a golf course. Ealing council are proposing that this course be converted into a new regional park. Quoting Peter Mason, leading of the council “the Elizabeth II Park has transformed the east of London and this new regional park has the potential to have similar positive effect on the borough and West London” This is apparently part of the promise to “residents (of Ealing) 10 new parks and 50,000 more trees”.
Horsenden Grape and Honey farm first planted their vines on a south facing sunny slope in Greenford about six years ago. This year the harvest of Solaris grapes was expected to be large enough to hold their first ever grape treading ceremony. As a “townie”, it’s not the sort of thing I would have done in my youth and I suspect a fair few readers here have never trodden grapes either!
As I noted before on July 9th, a seed mix containing Flax was planted in the meadow along the Capital ring path. Now, a mere two months later, its produced a fantastic display – and I think the best is yet to come. Do go visit this part of the park and have a look for yourself (its alongside the Capital Ring path).
A few years ago, a walk in the park would often reveal small discarded nitrous oxide gas canisters; my record find was 52 of them. Then their incidence started to decrease and they became a less common sight. Today however whilst on my early morning litter round, I came across 19 much larger canisters – each weighing 1.1 kg. Since 21 kg of “litter” was rather too much for me to remove, I left them there.
As you can see from the map below, a footpath known as the Gurnell to Greenford greenway runs parallel to Ruislip Road, and adjacent to the river Brent. At the spot marked with a red arrow, the footpath is very close to the near-vertical bank of the river, which flows perhaps 3-5m below the level of the path. This bank has become increasingly unstable over the years, possibly because of the occasional flood waters that roar down the Brent when the sluice gates are released from the Welsh Harp reservoir at times of heavy rains.
I mentioned in the last post the giant grasses in the orchard area. Here are some photos, that do not entirely show how very tall they are!
Occasionally, I spot something in the park that I have never seen below. The photos below were snapped in the orchard area, next to the wood chipping mulch pile. iNaturalist tells me it is from the Genus Fuligo, and is probably the delightfully named “Dog Vomit Slime Mold”. With the frequent recent showers, I expect to see a lot more of this sort of thing in the next month or so.
On July 8th, led by Neil Anderson, we set out on a nature walk, taking in a large part of Perivale Park. Notes of what we saw, kindly provided by Neil, are shown below, along with some photos taken by myself.
A dazzling variety of high-tech machines were used to prepare this year’s large park meadow for seeding. July is an unusual time to put seeds in, so quite what will happen over the next few months will be interesting to discover. The mix is for birds, and not neccessarily ornamental for humans to enjoy. But this years mix includes sunflowers (Helianthus annum) and cultivated flax (Linum Usitatissimum). The sunflower and flax seeds are 60% of the whole, so in about two years time we might expect a spectacular display of wonderful blue flax, as we saw two years ago in the orchard meadows.
After the exquisite scent of lady’s bedstraw comes the very different but equally wonderful smell of the Linden tree (Tilia or Lime tree). The park has many of these, and they are at their flowering peak right now.
When you take family to a park playground, you hope the kids will be safe and can run around happily without concern. We in fact visited Perivale park playground yesterday (Friday) at around 14.00 with an infant grand-daughter. We did (sadly) have to check for broken glass and syringes (both of which have been seen there in the past), but at that time it was looking more or less tidy. I decided to visit the area again this morning, and you can see what I found from the photos below.
Each year, we normally have a nature walk close to or in the park. Recently these have been organised by the the Ealing Wildlife Group and this year, there will be walk on Saturday July 8th. The meeting place will be on the bridge over the Brent, just past Coston’s nature reserve at 10.00, led by Neil Anderson. He tells me that “provided the weather is fine, the emphasis will most likely be on flora & flying insects such as butterflies & dragonflies. Suspect it will be quiet for birds but I won’t ignore any we come across (Grey Wagtails successfully bred along the Costons Brook in the park).”
Ealing parks will be putting down this year’s bird seed and wild flower mixes in the big meadow in the park, shown below.
When the orchard garden project was being planned five years ago, four meadows were created with nutrient-poor soil to encourage a different diversity of flowers to adopt the area. The nutrient-free aspect was achieved by putting down a thick bed of sand into each of the meadows. These were then sown with a perennial seed-mix and planted with bulbs. Of the latter, the gladioli and some dwarf narcissus made a come back this year. So, now in June, what is happening?
Nestling amongst the back gardens of Greenford centre and not far from Perivale Park is this wonderful little nature reserve.
Yet another meadow to report on – full of cornflowers. Again, having been missing for a year or two, they have made a great comeback this year.
The year 2023 is turning out to be a good one for both buttercups and poppies. Here are some photos of our poppy meadow, part of the orchard garden, and our buttercup meadow, next to the tennis courts.
Herons are daily visitors to the park. One person has even suggested you can set your clock by one heron, who always visits Coston’s brook around 09.15 each day. This is a snap of possibly that heron, or another, with two friends, sent in by Ros. Thanks Ros!
Depending on how you define the park boundaries, we have four bridges – two crossing the Brent and two crossing Coston’s brook. A fifth is now taking shape, crossing what might be called Perivale Brook. This latter feeds the ponds in the area next to the children’s playground and previously crossed the path there in a pipe. A pipe that proved too small in diameter and was constantly blocking with leaves from the trees there. Now the pipe is being replaced by a custom built bridge.