GET INVOLVED

We have a schedule of events for the year ahead. Join us on one of our practical days which offer the chance to learn new skills and get your hands dirty doing conservation tasks. Come and learn more about species in the park on our wildlife walks or become part of the Friends Committee which meets to discuss the functioning of the group.

FoSNCP hold a practical workday on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month to undertake conservation projects within the park.

At present we’re meeting at the council compound – the locked gates right by the tramline, on the vehicle access road at 10 AM. We usually finish around midday and enjoy a hot drink & biscuits.

Training and tools are provided. Please wear clothes suitable for outdoor activity and the weather, bring your own gloves if you have them.

We recommend sturdy footwear. Activities are subject to change at short notice.

If you would like to register to join us, please contact us by email – friendsofsncp@gmail.com. We can then let you know if we can offer you a space on a Saturday morning.

WORKDAYS 2022

For previous years – see the archive!

January 8th 2022

Our first workday of 2022 turned out to be a wet one! However twelve volunteers turned up and as we’re often told “There’s nothing wrong with the weather, provided you’re wearing the right clothing.”

So we were all dressed up in wellies and waterproofs to tackle our task which was to cut back the bramble and scrub around the copse of trees near to the compound. Every Spring this area is covered in primroses so unless we keep the brambles cut back, the primroses won’t be visible. Try to check out this area in April for a wonderful display!

We were careful to protect the small beech trees that had begun to grow in the area and were not surprised to find litter amongst the brambles. We collected a big bag full. After two hours we had worked our way back to the fence line and we’re looking forward to a gorgeous display of primroses in a few months time.

January 22nd 2022

We have been concerned that an area of the lake was freely accessible to dogs which was a particular worry during nesting time. A pair of coots like to build a nest near to the area that we call ‘the beach’. We have also been concerned that if people feed the water fowl on the shore, that they may wander off into the park, rather than back into the lake. 

We therefore applied for a grant from local community group, We Love SE25, and were successful in receiving a grant for three rolls of chestnut paling (and also for the cost of new kestrel boxes). We already had the posts that had been recycled from tree supports used in another project outside the Leisure Centre.

Initially we needed to remove any brambles and old fencing. Then the uprights were hammered into the ground. The fencing was unrolled, attached to the posts and hammered into the ground.

A decision had been made to site the new fence closer to the water than the position of the old one, so that visitors (and particularly bird watchers and photographers) will still have a good view across the lake. In future years we’ll be encouraging the willow to lay horizontally along this area to make a living fence. By pleaching the willow it will lay horizontally and shoots will grow up vertically. This should form a more robust barrier that won’t rot like a dead wood barrier.

 

February 12th 2022

We are very excited that London Wildlife Trust has selected South Norwood Country Park as one of the areas for tree planting as part of their Great North Wood project. Volunteers from LWT and FoSNCP will be planting a total of 100 trees over a few days at the end of February. The area chosen is adjacent to the cemetery and today we made a start on clearing the ground ready for tree planting. Having planted trees in this area over the last few years, we have been able to advise LWT on the species we know have a good chance of survival. We usually make piles of the arisings which rot down and create natural habitats for wildlife. However, one of the photos shows a natural fence created from the arisings which looks tidier to park users but more importantly creates a barrier to protect the young trees from the mower.

We were lucky to find a volunteer known to us through The Conservation Volunteers, who is a gardener & was happy to help us prune the apple & pear trees in the Environment Garden. Apparently these are local regional varieties. We removed any diseased wood & branches that were crossing each other. This also gave us the opportunity to locate litter that had been revealed by the foliage dying back & this has now been cleared.

March 12th 2022

With one of our best number of volunteers for a workday (around 20), we split the group into two to carry out our tasks. The biggest group went off to plant the 100 whips from TCV’s I Dig Trees project. We planted them in the meadow alongside the more mature trees planted by London Wildlife Trust a few weeks ago. In time, with all the trees and whips planted in this meadow over the last few years, we will have created a wonderful woodland.
 
The other smaller group of volunteers restored the chestnut paling fencing near the reed beds of the lake. The fencing had been trampled down and new posts had to be inserted as part of the repair.

March 26th 2022

At our workday in the glorious early Spring weather, volunteers split into two groups. One group was working on the triangle at the entrance to the park & the other group was watering newly planted trees.

Network Rail had supplied nine trees as part of their carbon offsetting. These were Small-Leaved Limes & Hornbeams & were planted in the same site as the 100 trees planted by The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) earlier this month & the whips planted by our Friends group two weeks ago. This brought the recent planting on this site to over 200 trees. The trees from Network Rail were over 2m tall & were also planted by TCV. It had been noticed that the Hornbeams in particular had quite dry root balls & with the recent dry weather, watering was considered a priority.

We were lucky that we were able to borrow a ‘Water Hog’ from local community group, People for Portland Road. The ‘Water Hog’ could carry 50 litres of water at a time & be wheeled to site. Also using two large water carriers & two watering cans we were able to water the Small-Leaved Limes & Hornbeams with 150 litres of water in just two trips.

Last year the seeds we planted on the triangle produced an abundance of wildflowers as detailed in the report of our second workday in March 2021. In the hope of seeing a similar display this year, we cut back and raked the scrub in the beds we prepared last year as well as preparing an additional bed for sowing on our next workday. We pruned the black thorn bushes on the islands and cut back scrub around the perimeter of the triangle.

April 9th 2022

We split into three separate groups for this morning’s tasks.
 
Two of us finished preparing the wildflower area already started at the last workday and located on the triangle at the Albert Road entrance to the park. Once the ground was dug and raked over, we sowed the wildflower seeds and joined the group working in the environment garden. Trees were checked for nests before cutting back branches encroaching one of the paths and the grass was cut back from other paths. Hedging was pruned near the apiary and brambles cut back. The environment garden needs a lot of maintenance so work will continue at the next workday.
 
One of our tasks was to reinforce the fence along the perimeter of the environment garden – opposite the kiosk. We wanted to prevent easy access for dogs or humans from encroaching into this area as the existing chestnut paling had begun to collapse. One of our aims was to ensure that bird watchers & photographers still had a good line of sight to the bird feeders (which are topped up daily by our Friends group).

As previously mentioned in another workday report, we had received a grant from We Love SE25 to purchase chestnut paling for fencing. Most of this was used at a lakeside site but we had some left & installed this immediately behind the existing fencing to make the fence line stronger. This work also enabled us to remove some litter that had collected behind the fencing.

April 23rd 2022

One of our tasks was to get more water to the nine newly planted trees that had been supplied by Network Rail, as part of their carbon offsetting. We knew that these trees in particular, being over 2m in height, needed water especially as the weather has been so dry. Again we utilised the ‘Water Hog’ which has proved to be an ideal piece of equipment to transport water as it rolls along the paths easily and we transported filled watering cans in a wheelbarrow too. In total we managed to put around 150 litres of water on the nine trees.

It was good to see that these nine trees and also the ones planted by London Wildlife Trust (LWT) and TCV were doing well. The hundred supplied by LWT had mulch mats fitted which help to retain moisture. No doubt we’ll have to find a way of getting water to these too soon.

One group of volunteers started work at the wetlands end of the seasonal path where it had become very overgrown with vegetation and overhanging branches. We worked our way back along the path cutting back foliage to prevent the path becoming inaccessible during the growing season. We also repaired some of the fencing along the way which had started to lean.
 
Another group made their way to the Elmers End side of the lake to undertake some repair and restoration work due to vandalism. Although our work is primarily conservation, we do sometimes have to deal with the aftermath of damage caused by anti-social behaviour. A group of individuals had destroyed the fencing and dismantled the dead hedge on the other side of the culvert. They had used the materials from the dead hedge to build a bridge across the culvert to access an area of the lake not accessible to the public because of its close proximity to breeding grounds for wildfowl. The bridge was also inhibiting the flow of water through the culvert. It took a great deal of effort to clear the bridge and re-build the dead hedge. Hopefully we can repair the fence on our next workday keeping our fingers crossed that the results of our hard work stay intact.

May 14th 2022

Our volunteers arrived at 10 am ready to undertake today’s tasks only to be thwarted by the actions of selfish would-be thieves who had attempted to break into our storage container. Nothing of value is kept in there, just the basics that allow us to carry out our workday jobs. Fortunately they didn’t succeed in getting into the container but unfortunately, they had damaged the lock to the extent that we were unable to open it and had to abandon our workday. Very frustrating. We now have to arrange for the lock to be removed and buy a new one. Fingers crossed it will all be sorted in time for our next workday on 28th May.

May 28th 2022

This year’s London Tree and Woodland Awards were held at Kew Gardens on 17 May and we were proud to be ‘highly commended’ in the Community Woodland category. We were nominated by London Wildlife Trust for our efforts over the last 6/7 years to extend the woodland in the area adjacent to the cemetery path. Having planted several hundred native species whips, the older ones are now well-established and we are beginning to see a clearly-defined woodland. This has been helped in no small measure by the addition of LWT’s more mature trees as mentioned in a previous report. As with all tree planting, after-care is vital so we set about clearing a ‘halo’ around the whips we planted in March as well as previously planted whips which had become hidden by the abundance of cow parsley. For the trees we planted in March, we were able to lay bark mulch around the base of the whips, left over from LWT’s tree planting. FoSNCP‘s funds don’t normally allow for such luxuries but it did make the after-care easier without having to tackle the undergrowth at the base of the trees.

June 11th 2022

We were fortunate to be joined by 3 members of The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) today. TCV do regular work in the Country Park during the week but not normally on a Saturday. As they have a van, it meant we didn’t have to carry all our equipment and materials to the other side of the park.  One group worked on building a dead hedge at the ‘beach’ area of the lake.  The other group finished the task started on the last workday clearing scrub around young trees in the woodland we are creating near the cemetery path. In addition, we cleared scrub around some more mature trees planted recently near the lake. It allows us to get better access for inspecting the trees and watering in the event of a dry summer.

A couple of us helped our beekeeper to clear out the shed that is used to store beekeeping equipment. Until recently it had been used as sleeping accommodation by a homeless person living in the park. We waited to be sure that he wasn’t going to return to the park before we cleared the area. We collected several bags of litter from in and around the shed, swept it clean and sanitised it. Our beekeepers can now use it again.