Early dawn ponds – and soft exercise areas.

Just before lockdown in February, six new exercise areas on the path of the “5km” run around the park were created. But the lockdown delayed the surfacing with a soft compound (which health and safety presumably nowadays demands of such places). They have now been lined and appear to be ready for use.  They are aimed very much at runners who want to address the upper parts of their bodies for some exercise.   The last photo shows the large area recently lined and with anchoring points for six “full body” machines that will be installed at some point.

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For all fungus lovers – an autumn abundance.

A combination of constant rain and showers coupled with very mild weather has produced one of the best displays of fungi in the park for a little while. A particularly rich location is next to the large pond in the centre of the park (first photo, now gradually filling up with water) which was surrounded by trees in December 2018 by a Trees For Cities volunteering event. Each of the young trees were mulched with bark chippings, but a large mound was left over at the end and it is there that you are guaranteed to find fungi at this time of year.

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Amphibians galore – next year?

Those of us of a certain age remember distant childhood times when everyone so it seemed had access to a local pond with abundant tadpole populations. Such a rain-replenished pond was dug perhaps 10 years ago in Perivale Park. For a fair few of these subsequent years tadpoles were indeed seen.  However the pond was fairly shallow and had often dried out just before the tadpoles were due to leave it as frogs.  Now its been enlarged!

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Weeding exercises in the park – and the ponds quickly refilled.

With the recent rains and abundant sun, the beneficiaries have been the “weeds” (which if they did not dominate so quickly can be appreciated for themselves). The four raised beds in the orchard garden area of Perivale Park needed some attention! Three of the beds are planted; one with winter garlic, another with flowering and about to seed winter brassicas and the third with a still germinating  wildflower mix. But we still need gardeners to come along and plant/deplant/replant something there! Vegetables, herbs, flowers, anything you fancy!

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Cuckoo Park, Cuckoo Avenue, Chestnuts and Charlie Chaplin.

Just to the south of Perivale Park is Cuckoo Park, reached by a most magnificent avenue of chestnut trees (Cuckoo Avenue) by branching off south from the Greenford to Gurnell  Greenway. The trees were planted as part of the development of the  Cuckoo estate in the late 1930s. I was at the end of a Greenwayers’ litter picking last year, enjoying the traditional cup of tea and Richard’s biscuits, when a local resident (who was also a thespian and a Churchill impersonator), told me that the newly planted Cuckoo avenue was formally opened by Charlie Chaplin himself. Anyway, if you do need some exercise, go walk along this magnificant avenue; the chestnuts are now in full bloom. Delay and you will miss the flowering.

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Spring butterflies in Perivale Park

Recent warm and sunny conditions have resulted in a profusion of insect life. Probably most noticeable amongst these have been butterflies and various bees. One of the most striking butterflies to be seen at the moment is the fairly large lemon-yellow male Brimstone that will have over-wintered as an adult, perhaps hidden amongst some ivy. There are some who say the name butterfly originated from this species as the butter-coloured fly, though others dispute this attractive notion.

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Historic Northolt and Belvue Park.

As I remarked before, Perivale Park is surrounded on all sides by other green spaces. This time our daily and (very) early exercise walk took us west towards Northolt and Belvue  Park. This area has a very long history, dating to medieval and Roman times. I will let the highly informative signs that you eventually come across speak for themselves. They are located near the old Northolt Manor, complete with moat and church. You would hardly think you were in London!

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The Park has had a haircut (and a facelift).

When the Coston’s Brook corridor that runs out of a culvert near the children’s playground and joins the river  Brent about 200m further on was opened up about 18 months ago by removing much of the impenetrable undergrowth and blackthorn, we always knew the shrubs and trees would come back. Meanwhile we enjoyed all the new shoots coming up along the new path leading to the new bridge and in the morning with hoar frost they looked fantastic. But it was time to move to the next season and so the haircut arrived yesterday.

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An abundance of greens on our doorstep.

The Portuguese always had a love affair with “grelos”, these being the flowering shoots of the Brassica family. Two or three weeks ago we harvested a lot of cabbage “grelos” but those are now in full bloom and no longer tender enough to be consumed. Since last week the mustard variety started producing their “grelos” and we have been harvesting them in large quantities. If it does not get too hot we will go on doing so for the next 2 weeks.

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Birds in the park – February 2020.

This morning we went for a stroll around the park with Neil Anderson to see how many different species of birds we could spot. The final total: 31 and as  Neil put it “if we’d looked harder we could have found House Sparrows by some of the gardens + previous visits have seen Jay & Greenfinch”. The kingfishers in particular were a treat! As the river Brent improves we hope to see them far more often.

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