Welcoming a New Year

With the passing of the old year, and the start of another it seemed appropriate to celebrate New Years Day with a walk around all seven of our town centre parks. A hardy few turned up, despite the gloomy weather, to work off any results of the Christmas festivities and to enjoy the open spaces of our parks. On our walk we encountered only a few other park users, either walking their dogs or jogging. Otherwise we had the parks to ourselves. Some overflowing waste bins, and remains of spent fireworks on Martins Hill provided evidence of previous celebrations.

After walking through Church House Gardens we passed by the Mill Pond and the Ravensbourne feeding it, now back to its usual flow of water, a couple of visiting cormorants were sighted as well as two resident Egyptian geese who landed in nearby lake. Also spotted were a large number of golf balls isolated on the now bare mud bank. Occasionally passing members of the public have thought of these as small ‘eggs’! These have in fact floated downstream, probably from a local golf club or driving range.

Golf balls deposited on mud bank

After visiting several other parks, and finding them in ‘good order’, we finally arrived at Bromley Palace Park (aka Civic Centre Grounds) where we initially had a setback when we discovered that the gates at the Rafford Way entrance were locked.

Locked gates, Rafford Way

Undeterred by this we instead managed to gain access to the park via the main entrance, where the automatic doors opened as usual. Needless to say we had the site to ourselves. We visited the listed features including the Ice House and the Pulhamite Cascade which we are campaigning to be restored. We duly took a photo, in front of the listed former Palace building, to celebrate our visit.

We normally end our park walks with refreshments in the on site canteen. But as it was inevitably closed we decided to call it a day and make our ways home, wondering what opportunities and challenges our Friends group would encounter in 2020.

Autumn Colour

Autumn colour in Church House Gardens

This is that time of the year when our parks become really colourful. Whether maple, beech or in this case Gingko the trees turn various shades of brown, red or yellow all too briefly and then shed their leaves as they prepare for winter. In that short time they cheer us up a little, whether sunny or overcast.

Dogs in our parks

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While it is great to see responsible dog owners walking their pets in nearly all of our parks, there are some areas in which dogs, other than assistance dogs, are unwelcome. This is to ensure that in these ‘dog free’ areas wildlife, along with people, especially young children, can remain safe. For example children can get an infection from dog waste left on the grass that they play on.

Such ‘dog free’ areas are; Church House Gardens (part) and Queens Garden. The entrances to these areas are clearly marked (as in above image). Sadly in a very few cases irresponsible dog owners ignore such restrictions and deliberately take their dogs into these areas. So doing they risk the well being of children and other park users and a possible £80 fine.

If you come across any such a miscreant, please call Bromley Council Enforcement on 0208 313 4870, or Ward Security on 0845 476180

New e-Bike dumped in river

Recently introduced Lime e-Bike left in Mill Pond.

Sadly an example of the misuse of a good new idea by a few anti-social people. Somebody has thrown an e-bike into the River Ravensbourne at the Mill Pond, in Glassmill Lane. This follows another e-bike that was dumped into the lake in Church House Gardens about the same time, but was later removed by the idVerde parks maintenance team.

The Lime e-bikes have been introduced into Bromley town centre about a week ago. Let us hope that such events do not sour this scheme.

Has Spring Arrived?

With the recent record high winter temperatures the natural world could be forgiven for believing that Spring has arrived, as shown in above image? Just twelve months after the ‘Beast from the East” snow showers, we have been more than 20 deg C higher! Hopefully not all will be lost when the cold weather returns. The crocuses, daffodils,snowdrops & snowbells beneath the steps in Church House Gardens are so beautiful. The Egyptian geese pair are almost certainly preparing to nest here this year, and two Mallard pairs already have a nests.

Pond Refurbishment Starts

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Friends members cleared the water, mud and stones out of the pond, with some help from the local idVerde team. In doing so they chad carefully relocated some six smooth newts found in the mud. A small but long crack was identified as the reason for the slow leak in this pond. This and other cracks would be repaired as soon as possible; and then refilling and restocking with suitable plants to make it attractive again for frogs, newts, etc.

This concrete lined pond is found, where the entrance hall of the former Church House was located. This building was very badly damaged by bombs in 1941. Only the faintest outline of this building can still be found on the ground.