Glassmill refurbishment project update

As part of our ongoing project to bring this historic mill pond back to its earlier glory, we continue to work with other parties to greatly enhance its historic and ecological value. Led by Thames21 this project also involves amongst other stakeholders; Bromley council (as site owner), Environment Agency, Thames Water, and of course our Friends group.

Last Friday, Thames21 staff met up with Friends at the site, off Glassmill Lane, to carry out an important survey of the pond. They measured those features required to refine the design of the renovated pond, and for an important food risk assessment.

This flood risk assessment, and approval by the Environment Agency to dredge and reuse the silt as part of the new pond design, is critical to this project being viable. This decision is complicated by some of the silt samples previously found to contain medium levels of pollution. To read about the background to this pond and its refurbishment go HERE.

Glassmill: Sampling

Today a member of Thames21 visited the site to take additional samples of the silt which has accumulated over the years. These samples will be tested in a laboratory to assess the levels of pollutants, and if they are within official Environment Agency limits.

Taking a silt sample
Taking a silt sample

This follows earlier samples, a couple of which contained higher levels of pollutants. We are hoping that these new samples will be within limits, and so our project to refurbish this historic pond can receive necessary approvals, allowing us to proceed with funding, etc.

You can find out more about our project on this page Mill Pond and Ravensbourne restoration

Glassmill Clearance

On Sunday 13th some eight volunteers turned up to help clear rubbish from the island, as well as much more – as can be seen below.

Interested onlooker
Channel blocked
A volunteer
Assessing fallen tree
Removing branches
Rubbish collected

In just over a couple of hours we were able to remove several bags of general rubbish, plus a shopping trolley, traffic cone, bicycle, and about a hundred golf balls! We also managed to clear some of the fallen tree branches, and other detritus, blocking the river flow. Much remains to be done but in the meantime the ducks will be able to soon safely breed on the island, and not get caught up in the rubbish. Further work parties will be arranged, but will not be on the island until after the breeding season.

This is all part of our short term maintenance of this historic pond, pending the approval and implementation of the major long term renovation project. You can find out more about this on our Campaign page.

Mill Pond Pollution

Yet again the Mill Pond in Glassmill Lane has been polluted, this time with either petrol or light diesel oil. This was spotted on Saturday morning and reported to the Environment Agency. Thames Water staff have now fitted booms to contain the problem, both at the entrance to the pond, as well as downstream just inside Queens Mead.

An earlier pollution incident

This incident is particularly worrying as it comes when ducks etc are starting breeding. Already several moorhen chicks have been lost. This also greatly impacts smaller invertebrates living in the water or silt. In the absence of any rainfall it is to be sincerely hoped that this pollutant will soon dissipate. This part of the Ravensbourne is sadly recognised by Thames Water as a portion ‘hot spot’, with illegal dumping and domestic plumbing misconnections. They are having some difficulties locating many of the sources of such pollution.

The Mill Pond is currently the subject of a plan to upgrade this historic pond. Led by Thames21, with support from the Friends of Bromley Town Parks & Gardens, Environment Agency, Thames Water, etc. it is hoped that funding for this can be agreed in the coming months. In the meantime you can find out more about our plans at http://bit.ly/2hrtoyp

If you wish to get more immediately involved in volunteer days at the Mill Pond please contact chair@bromleytownparks.org.uk

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.