Horse Chestnuts, Martins Hill

It is great to see the trees back in full leaf, as nature carries on regardless. One of the earliest such trees is the Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum). They are now in full blossom. It pays to look closely at its delicate colours.

Horse Chesnut in blossom

Most famous for their seeds, much used in the past by small boys to play the game of “conkers ”.

Other uses of the conkers include horse medicines, as additives in shampoos, and as a starch substitute. Chemicals extracted from conkers can be used to treat strains and bruises. There’s hearsay that if you place conkers around your house it will keep spiders away, but there’s no scientific proof that this is the case.

The Victorians wrote recipes for making conker flour. The seeds were shelled, ground and then leached to remove bitter flavours. It’s not a common practise these days and if consumed in excessive quantities conkers are mildly poisonous. (Woodland Trust)

Meadow delights

6935BE25-AEC4-44F6-9006-866995C3F6B3The new meadow, next to the river in Martin’s Hill park, is progressing well in only its second year. Looking good at the moment is the Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) especially in its pink form. Easy to miss, but well worth a close up view with its attractive flowers and feathery leaves (hence millefolium).


Massive new development impacts park

A planning application has been submitted for a major new development on land immediately adjacent to Library Gardens. The development is called ‘Churchill Quarter’ and it has a planning reference 18/02181/FULL1. Below is the proposed view from Library Gardens. The tallest block (Block B) would be 15 storeys, even taller than the existing theatre/library complex. All this on the highest part of the town centre. Some 40 families would be displaced for this commercial development, using council compulsory purchase orders.

North elevation.png

After studying their proposals we believe that this will have major impacts on this public park, due to its massive nature and the overshadowing of this lovely park. We have entered into a joint campaign with the Bromley Civic Society to oppose this planning application.
To view the planning application in detail please go to the council’s planning web site

A Bromley Civic Society presentation showing the visual impact of this development can be found at 

  • We urge you to object to this planning application – every objection can make a difference.

More in depth information about our joint campaign and how to submit your objections please go to our Library Gardens Campaign page.




New Sensory Garden

An area in the grounds of Bromley Palace Park (aka Civic Centre) has recently been restored by the local idVerde team as a sensory garden, including plants with various textures, smells, and tastes. Located near the canteen it is hoped that as the plants grow they will encourage both council staff and members of the public to sample the results. Originally created as part of the Thyme Out project this bed had become neglected and need of a make over. To find out more about this site, and the other features there, please go to our Bromley Palace Park page.

Countryside in the Town Centre!

IMG_2339.jpgJust two minutes from the busy Bromley High Street you could think yourself in the countryside! Part of Church House Gardens, called Dickerson’s Copse after the late local conservationist Gordon Dickerson (1932-1987), is currently full of cow parsley.

IMG_2338.jpgA common hedgerow biennial plant, it is part of the wider umbellifer family which also includes carrots. It normally flowers for May only and so we will soon lose its frothy white flower heads for another year. A good reason to take a trip to this bit of the ‘countryside’ now!

Heritage Visit to Bromley Palace Park

129DC1BF-B779-4532-9427-FD1B0A949A41On Wednesday we had a very useful site visit with staff from Historic England, an official government heritage organisation. Along with representatives of our Friends group, Bromley Council and idVerde, they discussed how to best restore the listed features currently at risk. These Grade 2 listed features are; Ice House, Pulhamite Rockeries, Ha-Ha and Folly. With significant developments planned for this site it is vital to protect these heritage assets. Historic England will be now be liasing with Bromley council as the site owners, and the Friends group will continue supporting this important initiative. This part of the extensive Civic Centre is an important public park, designated as an Urban Open Space and also now a Local Green Space.

You can find out more about this park and its heritage features on our page Bromley Palace Park (aka Civic Centre).

Council Park Sell Off Withdrawn

Cedar tree under development threat in Library Gardens

At the  L.B.Bromley Executive meeting on 20 July, Director of Leisure and Culture, Colin Brand reported 40 objections to the public notice, mainly on the grounds of prematurity … That no planning application had yet been approved.
The council is withdrawing or suspending the disposal decision pending a planning decision. The disposal is to be made a result  of planning approval. Mr Brand made it a bit vague as to whether the S123 (i.e. public) notice would be re-advertised.

This is just the start of a long campaign during which the impact on this public park will still be very real!


Martins Hill Lodge

Martin's Hill Lodge as it is now fenced off

Martins Hill Lodge as it is now fenced off

The old Lodge on Martins Hill has been sold again and the new owner intends to restore it into a habitable home. Following on from an earlier planning permission, further details have been submitted (Ref: 15/01561/FULL1) showing proposed external finishes. Details can be found on the council online planning page

We look forward to the sympathetic restoration, and occupation, of this local landmark, which has sadly been empty and derelict for many years.

Views opened up

Bramble cleared to open this view.

Bramble cleared to open up this view.

Thanks to the local idVerde team extensive areas of invasive brambles have been cut back on the lower slopes of Martins Hill. This has both opened up views across the Queens Mead toward Shortlands, and created space for other plants including Broom (after which Bromley is named). This is part of our ongoing objective to increase the biodiversity of this area. For more about this go to Martins Hill page

Proposed design for new Queens Garden playground

Drawing of proposed new playground for Queens Garden

Proposed new design.

We have been passed this ‘visualisation’ of the proposed design for the new playground in Queens Garden. This would replace the current barren building site resulting from the restaurants development. In the foreground there is a small reference to the maze, that was previously on this site, picked out in wooden battens. This has yet to be approved by Bromley council. While this design is very much limited by the reported £10k funding, provided by intuBromley, we hope that if implemented this will provide a safe area for children to play in.