Here is an orchard update, both for Perivale Park and for our exploration of the Hanwell orchard trail.
The BBC news headline reads ‘Bee corridor’ planted in London to boost insect numbers and goes on to describe how “… wildflower meadows will be put in place in 22 of Brent Council’s parks in north London.” Well, Perivale Park is one of a similar number of parks in Ealing getting the same treatment!
Last autumn we surveyed a meadow next to Perivale Park. The same crowd returned there on Sunday May 5th to investigate how it appears in spring.
Last October, a range of naturalised flowers were planted in the park. Here is an update on how some of them are getting on in late April. The daffodils have flowered, but the wild garlic and bluebells are just starting.
In the course of our recent river clean-up opposite Brentside School, we experienced the full effects of FOG (fat, oil and grease) and understood something further about the role of dead vegetation in the river. Two sets of waders and a kayak were coated in a white, almost impossible-to-remove grease after being in the thick of it both near and in one case, in, a raft of assorted dead vegetation jammed up behind a fallen tree. The plastic litter we were after had accumulated on top of this raft and in order to access it, we had to break up the vegetation with rakes. This is when we released the hitherto-hidden FOG lurking there. So, the raft, which was between 2 foot and 5 foot in depth, was acting as a highly successful filter trap keeping the FOG in one manageable place. The question now is how the FOG should best be extracted from such a trap so that the vegetation can continue to act as a trap without getting entirely clogged up? Suggestions welcome! It also begs the question of how the FOG got into the river in the first place. Misconnections? The practice of pouring fat, oil and grease down the plughole in the kitchen sink, down the toilet and even directly into the river? How can we best educate/litigate to prevent these practices altogether? Again, all suggestions are welcome. One thing is sure: we need to stop FOG-tipping.
Today the central meadow is being prepared for a seeding later in the day. After that the rain dance(s) will need to be performed to ensure a spectacular display in July.
Following the highly-successful clean-up on 14th April in and around the River Brent near Brentside High School, our next events will be taking place on:
The Greenford to Gurnell Greenwayers had a fun day today, removing all sorts of rubbish from the River Brent. This included one large butane tank (at least 25 Kg), a modern rental bike which was lurking there and 53 bags of very smelly rubbish. This was a canoe job, dislodging items which had become trapped behind a fallen tree and for waders, who were downstream waiting to catch them. Others cleaned the banks. Photos of these heroes are below.
A few events in the park this April. In the spring glade at the northern entrance, the snake’s head fritillaries have made their expected April appearance, with more are flowering every day now. Very nice close up!
The next clean-up on the River Brent is taking place this Sunday 14th April starting at 1pm. This event is suitable for all because it will consist of river bank litter-picking as well as in-channel work in waders to clear a large litter-berg which has built up behind a fallen tree. So, gentle tasks as well as challenging ones – chacun à son goût. But please don’t take the ‘goût’ too far – the water isn’t drinkable!
It is not just Perivale Park that is getting some attention. The Government has just announced the winners of a national competition called “Pocket Parks”.
Costons Brook is one of two waterways in Perivale Park, being a tributary to the larger River Brent. It arises from perhaps three streams flowing from the north-west of the park, one apparently originating from the nearby Metropolitan business park. Tracing the others will require access to specialist maps! At any rate it flows out of a culvert near the children’s playground in the park, with an aspect that has recently become very much more accessible now that the blackthorn trees on each bank have been removed.
Its been a wet and windy spring so far. Here are some photos of the entrance to Perivale Park near to the South Greenford station/ A40 entrance.
Many new trees have been planted, or shortly will be planted in Perivale Park. Travelling in Morocco, we came across a very unusual species of tree and it struck me it would look really good to have one in the park. I think it would attract many new visitors!
London now has a mild temperate climate, so the appearance of ice is relatively unusual. Here is the new pond in Perivale Park, nicely full from winter rains, with a thin covering of ice. Too thin of course for actual ice skating!
An open evening was held last Thursday 24th January 2019 to announce the Ealing Parks Foundation. Thanks to Ros Bryar for kindly sending this report of the meeting.
Perivale Park is blessed with two rivers. To the south runs the river Brent and in the south-west its tributary Costons Brook. Today I learnt about two recent events involving cleaning up these waterways. Richard Spencer-Smith sent me the following descriptions of the activities of the Gurnell-Greenford Greenwayers.
The Greenford to Gurnell Greenway is well under way in the park. A new path is starting construction, heading off to a brand new bridge across the river Brent. This will help complete a circular pathway around the entire park, and no doubt encourage those quarter marathon runners (two circuits?).
LIDAR (light and RADAR map) is a 3D mapping technique that detects surface features which are not otherwise discernible from the ground. One of the Ealing park rangers (thanks James!) pointed me to this site; https://houseprices.io/lab/lidar/map?ref=TQ15148280 which provides a postcode based map of UK LIDAR data. Here it is for Perivale Park.
Trees for Cities is a charity which mobilizes armies of volunteers to go plant trees. Today, it was the turn of Perivale Park, part of the new Greenford to Gurnell Greenway project.
You obviously have to be up fairly early to see this aspect of the Park. Here is sunrise on the morning of November 14, 2018 at ~07.10 am.
I have previously mentioned this flagship plan by Ealing council for enhancing the Perivale Park area. Today the plan was published, along with an invitation for people to comment. I do urge anyone reading this to do so!
Next year the London National Park City launches in July. As a prelude, the first forum, or get together of some of the many organisations in London that promote it with the ethos of a national park took place on November 7th. Perivale Park was represented on this occasion by the RedGreen Group, a small local residents group which, with the participation of Ealing council, is in the process of enhancing the park with spring bulb and summer fruit plantings as an adjunct to the major Greenford to Gurnell Greenway scheme which is helping to transforming the area.
You can now plan your visit to Perivale Park by browsing the newly re-launched London National Park City station walks map. There are currently four walks starting from South Greenford (SG) station radiating out in the four compass directions.
Over the last week, a short stretch of Coston’s brook as it runs through Perivale Park has been transformed. The brook rises in the industrial estates north of the A40 in west Greenford and for its short course it emerges from culverts and then openly runs through the park before joining the river Brent close to Greenford Bridge. For much of the last 30 years or so, its course through the park has been lined with impenetrable blackthorn. Although these produce delightful blossom in the spring, the blackthorn was effectively blocking access to the brook.
About 4500 bulbs‡ were planted in the north-west corner of the park yesterday. We were blessed with glorious sun, but rather foot-numbing temperatures. Despite this unanticipated coldness, we enjoyed delicious home-made lemonade provide by Jack, who also provided a fish&chip lunch for some of us.
One of the (several) projects under way in the park this autumn is the preparation of an orchard area, replacing the old bowling green.