We are currently starting a big butterfly count in the UK. Suitably inspired and anxious to see some birds as well, we ventured off to Horsenden hill, with the added bonus of Horsenden farm opening its new shop selling vegetables, breads, honey and microbrewed beers. The Gruffalo also always provides interest (to those who have not seen him before, he is rather BIG).
News has reached us that Ealing Wildlife Group have reached their funding target to convert some abandoned allotments on the edge of the park into a new Nature Reserve (the allotments were abandoned due to propensity for flooding). Congratulations to them!
Today we undertook a litter-picking exercise walk around the park, taking in the Greenway walk to Gurnell. We armed ourselves at the start with two litter pickers and (optimistically) just ONE collection bag.
Well, Greenford is newly on the map. It now (i.e. 29 May, 2020) has the least used station in London! Well, let’s try to lose that record by saying why you would want to come to South Greenford, the station with this unenviable (and hopefully temporary) record. Continue reading “South Greenford – Least Used Station in London”
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!
Greenford Birch Wood is one of the smaller green areas northwest of Perivale Park, running alongside the A40 and where most of the drivers there have no idea it exists.
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.
More history, this time east of Perivale Park, towards Perivale and then to Pitshanger. The ancient parish church of Perivale is located along Perivale lane. One can almost imagine how it all looked 885 years ago!
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.
Continue reading “Spring butterflies in Perivale 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!
Perivale park has neighbouring green areas in all four (arguably even five) compass directions. The one to the north is called Paradise fields, with the Paddington branch of the grand union canal running along the north and east edges and with Horsenden hill visible further east.
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.
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.
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.
Google maps has for some time allowed anyone to upload a photo of a feature on the map. Once you have done this, they then kindly send you periodic encouragements to continue the habit by revealing the viewing statistics for your photos and a slider which supposedly rewards your activities with “points”.
As the name indicates, the Greenwayers normally work along the river from Gurnell to Greenford but on Sunday 10th November, in the spirit of friendship, we went slumming it in Pitshanger Park to relieve them of a bit of their rubbish before it reaches us!
Carmel Cahill sent me these photos; she is one of the new Friends of Perivale Park, which was formed on Monday 4th November, 2019. The photos come with the comments:
If you have visited the park recently you might have noticed progress with the orchard. The trees are in and are being watered, four sturdy benches made from recycled tropic hardwood for seating are now complete and very soon raised beds will appear for planting with herbs.
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!
On September 8th at 12.00, a memorial will be unveiled in Perivale Park to Nicky Hopkins (“Rock’s Greatest Session Man“) He was a famous session musician who played with many of the greats of the 1960s onwards such as the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, David Bowie, Paul McCartney, Jeff Beck, Rod Stewart, Ella Fitzgerald, Art Garfunkel and many others.
Close to Perivale Park is St Mary’s Perivale, a 12th century church now used as a music venue.
London is about to become a national park city, with the aim of encouraging Londoners and visitors to London to get out and explore its many green features. One way of doing this is to go on a StationWalk, where you start and end at a station.
Bees are having a tough time around the world. Oddly, they are surviving very well in cities. One reason are the wild flower meadows in London and for some summer relief I thought I would tell you the story of the one shown below.