With all these flower meadows and bee corridors being planted around Ealing (and Brent) and especially Perivale Park, are the bees happy? To find out I visited Ealing Beekeepers, who run hives within the foraging range of the park (typically 2-3 km, but can be up to ~6 km or further).
When flower plantings started in our area in 2016, we were never sure quite what to expect. It depended on rain and the type of seed set down. Now in mid-July we are starting to get some answers for 2019.
You are as likely to meet a contractor in many London parks now as you are a park ranger. So it was yesterday that we ran in Andrew, one of the Perivale Park contractors for Ealing council, talking to local residents about the developing orchard garden “pocket-park”. Since these contractors visit many sites, I asked what the most spectacular local park was in early July. He suggested we visit Northolt park, about 4 km north-west from Perivale park.
Thanks to a generous grant from the Perivale ward of Ealing council, we now have three colourful and informative signs in the park next to three floral meadows. Thanks to Jan and Brad for their fantastic designs!
In June, only last year’s plantings are in full colour (being around 2 months ahead of this years seedings). Here are some snaps of one of the Ealing “bee corridors” set out last year and now in full magnificence. This should last a month or so longer. There are also corridors that have been ploughed and re-seeded this year, so together they should offer a spectacular display for many more months.
Close to the Nicky Hopkins bench in the park, on the site of the old bowling green, an orchard garden has started to take place.
From Lucy Shuker, Brent Catchment Partnership Development Manager,Thames21
Many thanks indeed to the Gurnell-Greenford Greenwayers for keeping up the fantastic clean-up work and for keeping us in the loop.
I am so excited to have the eel pass and monitoring station being installed by ZSL on the Costons gauging weir and to find out how many make it up to the pass when monitoring begins.
Meanwhile, the invertebrate / riverfly monitoring is revealing more variety than expected, even downstream of the Costons Brook confluence and associated inflows of periodically polluted waters.
It’s really good to see how activities by the GGGs and Thames21 are coordinating. Hopefully Ealing Parks Team will soon have the container in place for you to store your own equipment. I hope the Gurnell-Greenford Greenwayers will enjoy getting involved in putting in the river enhancements too when those events happen. The habitat improvements will be really beneficial for the eels and fish helped over the weir by the ZSL pass and EA baffles, which will hopefully be in place soon too.
This is what the GGGs had to contend with at the river clean-up event behind Gurnell Leisure Centre on Sunday 9th June: Continue reading “Gurnell-Greenford Greenwayers June Event”
The Secret Rivers exhibition at the Museum of London Docklands is on now and will be continuing till October. It’s very much worth a visit for those interested in the many rivers that have been wholly or partially lost. Our own River Brent running through Perivale Park appears on the large map at the entrance but the focus of the exhibition is those rivers that became sewers and were then filled in and built over. It’s just a pity that Costons Brook doesn’t feature on the map! The nearest station to the Museum is Westferry on the DLR.
Many thanks to the 12 wonderful volunteers who assiduously cleared an area of dry riverbed next to Perivale Park Golf Course last Sunday 12th May.
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!