An Ealing Greenspace at the start of its new life as a Park.

Last Friday was the last day of the Perivale Park golf course being open – and now it awaits its new life as an Ealing park.  We strolled around the park and here are a few photos to give a flavour of what it looks like now. The next thing to happen will be the installation of four benches and four litter bins – the locations of which are already being discussed. As things  happen,  I hope to record them here.

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The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) in Perivale Park.

The TCV group organises events around the country and today they came to Perivale Park on a corporate volunteering day with a group of about twenty very enthusiastic people from PwC – and one volunteer dog accompanying  Ben!.  An area of ground on the banks of Costons Brook near to its exit from the culvert in the park had recently been cleared by GEL using an impressive robotic cutting system and it was now ready for replanting.

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Listening to birds.

I am certainly no expert on birdsong, and so have come to rely on technology (and any accompanying expert) to identify birds. Occasionally I will “listen” using the wonderful Merlin Bird ID app. Switched on today sitting on a bench near the largest lake in the Longfield meadows, eight different birds were identified after listening for around four minutes. A little further along the river Brent headed to Greenford another one was identified, making nine in all.

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The Ealing Beaver sanctuary revisited.

Time we thought to revisit the Beaver sanctuary, in Paradise fields. It has been raining a lot and so Coston’s Brook, which feeds the pond where the beavers are established should be and indeed was flowing well. The beavers themselves, which are largely nocturnal, are not expected to be out and about. So that they can be observed, there are a number of remote cameras, which capture their activities. There is a dam across the brook, but whether a “helping hand” from humans has contributed, or whether it is fully the work of the beavers themselves I am not certain.

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Costons Brook – as you may never have seen it before.

The water course that flows through the park, Costons Brook, is a tributary of the river Brent. Its source is difficult to identify since the development of Greenford these last 100 years or so have resulted in most of it running in underground culverts. The map I talked about here can help identify its original course, which appears to show one arm of the brook running close to Paradise fields, just west of Horsenden Hill.

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Places of interest in Google Maps for the park.

Google maps depends on crowd sourcing for items of interest on its maps (as indeed does the other map I often use, openstreetmap.org). I have been updating the entries for Perivale Park, the results of which you can see below. All you need is to have a Google account to do so, and although the entries are reviewed by Google, all of mine have thus far been accepted and released into the public version of the maps.

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The River Brent and (some of) its tributaries.

The river Brent flows along the southern edge of Perivale Park, on its way to joining the river Thames at Brentford. I thought here I would trace its route from (some) of its sources. The main route of the river starts in the London Borough of Barnet at Moat Mount, where it is called Dollis Brook. Much but not all of this route is walkable as the Dollis Valley Greenwalk.

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A corner of the park is now restored!

Over the last few years,  one corner of the main playing field area of the park had become something of a storage depot.  Much of the accumulation was because of the loss of other storage spaces in the borough,  and also whilst awaiting for completion of the new park at Glade lane.  Gradually since June this year, the  Perivale “depot” has been depleted and the contents moved to the new park.  Finally the last items have gone and we now await for the grass to grow back to complete the recovery.  So thanks Ealing Parks for doing this – it is much appreciated.

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Unveiled: the new plans for Gurnell Leisure centre

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.

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The Colne Valley Viaduct taking shape

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.

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Council Proposing to Close Perivale Park Golf Course – and create a new regional park.

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”.

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A new (industrial-sized) find in the park.

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.

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Repairs/by-passes to the Gurnell to Greenford path.

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.

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Ice art: the frozen ponds of Chobham Common.

Occasionally other green spaces in London make a guest appearance here, and this one is from Chobham Common, in the south west just beyond the  M25 ring. The last two nights have seen an abrupt drop in temperatures, down to about -4C, and this rapid freeze and perhaps wind have created some wonderful patterns in the Chobham common ponds. Shown below is a selection for you to enjoy.

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Free five-a-side football training for 8-10 year olds on 26th October – book now!

As part of the grant we obtained from the  Freshwater foundation, we are organising two sessions of free five-a-side football training for 8-10 year olds on  Wednesday October 26, 2022 (half-term). The training will be done using the park MUGA (multi-use games area) by Brentford FC community sports trust, who have many years of experience in running such programs.

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