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 – We can then let you know if we can offer you a space on a Saturday morning.


For previous years – see the archive!

March 13th 2021

Our workday team was split into 2 groups. One team worked in the environment garden & the other team cleared litter along route 666, they cleared 15 bags of litter & what looked to be old camps.

In the environment garden we cut back brambles & branches overhanging the paths, repaired a fence. The arisings from the bramble & branch cutting were partly used to block up holes in the hedge around the apiary.

March 27th 2021

Today we split into two groups. Both groups prepared areas for sowing wildflower seeds.

Some of us worked on the ‘Triangle’ at the entrance to the park. Here we cleared the top grass turfs from three areas, raked over the soil & then spread the seeds. The seeds for this area are from nectar-rich wildflowers which are attractive to butterflies & bees. They include annual & perennial species such as Common Agrimony, Borage, Wild Clary, Red clover, White clover, Corn cockle, Cornflower, Ox-eye daisy, Wild Foxglove, Common Knapweed, Greater Knapweed, Purple loosestrife, Wild Marjoram, Meadow Cranesbill, Musk mallow, Common Poppy, Ragged robin, Sainfoin, Field Scabious, Small Scabious, Teasel, Bird’s-foot trefoil, Kidney vetch, Viper’s bugloss, Yarrow, Yellow Rattle.

The rest of us cleared an area in the Environment Garden & the seeds will be sown during our next workday. We chose a mix of wildflower seeds that are more suited to heavier soils. The seeds included the following annual & perennial wildflower species – Common Agrimony, Lady’s bedstraw, Betony, Black medick, Salad burnet, Meadow buttercup, White campion, Wild Carrot, Wild Clary, Cowslip, Ox-eye daisy, Common Knapweed, Greater Knapweed, Meadowsweet, Hoary plantain, Ribwort plantain, Common Poppy, Ragged robin, Field Scabious, Self-heal, Common Sorrel, Tufted vetch, Yarrow, Yellow-rattle.

An extract from “Flowering Plants of South Norwood Country Park” written by Robert Spencer – 

“South Norwood Country Park relative to its size contains a wide range habitats and as a result a diverse range of plants can be found growing on site.  Some of these plants are very conspicuous, growing in great abundance and filling the park with splashes of bright colour with a white period in early May, largely as a result of the Cow Parsley, this is followed later in the year by a pink period consisting of mainly Willow herbs.  Other plants to be observed are common easily recognisable flowers.  However there are a great number of plants growing at South Norwood Country Park that are less well-known or harder to spot, and the casual observer would likely be surprised to learn that 363 species of flowering plants have so far been recorded growing in the park though this number includes invasive species and garden escapes.”

April 10th 2021

We split the volunteers into two groups of five each. One group continued to prepare the selected area in the environment garden by breaking up the soil & spreading the wildflower seeds, mixed with a little sand to make scattering the seeds easier. The seeds that we used were for wildflowers more suited to heavier soil, the mix is listed under 27 March workday.

The other group repaired some fencing near to one of the pontoons. The park has received far higher visitor numbers during the lockdowns & visitors have created new pathways, including down to the lake edge. The fencing around the lake is there to restrict access to the open water for public safety & to make the area more secluded for the wildlife that uses the lake. We used chestnut paling, with support posts no longer required as tree supports from Portland Road Community Garden. We also cut overhanging brambles & piled these where the vegetation is less dense, to deter people from trying to reach the lake edge. We hope to be able to repair more fences in future but this does depend on us being able to access the fencing materials.

24th April 2021

We split our group of ten into two groups.

One group cut back any branches that were overhanging the pathway on Footpath 666, where the Hawthorn might be hazardous to walkers or joggers along the route. This hedge forms the boundary and provides visual screening between the park and the tram track that runs to Elmers End.

The other group installed a replacement fence on the ‘seasonal path’. Some Hawthorn whips had been planted here during lockdown but it is evident that these are at risk of being trampled as people had created new pathways & access points during lockdown. The chestnut paling had been recycled from a TCV (The Conservation Volunteers) project & the support posts recycled from a People for Portland Road project. This path creates a corridor for wildlife between the scrub area & the lake. We also cut back some overhanging Hawthorn & bramble branches that are hazardous to walkers & joggers. We also dragged a piece of furniture that had been left in virtually the centre of the park to the Council compound.

8th May 2021

We noticed that around trees had been planted in the wetlands area around the archaeological site of La Motes and more had been planted in one of the meadows. We don’t know who these well-meaning tree planters are but they hadn’t asked permission from Croydon Council to plant trees in the park and the trees were in inappropriate places.

We liaised with the council and it was agreed that these trees should be re-sited to somewhere more appropriate. So we took up the trees and found that this was a fairly easy job as they hadn’t been in the ground long and evidently had been grown as ‘plug plants’. We had in mind a project for next winter when we would infill the gaps in hedgerows with suitable trees and hedging and so we used these trees for this purpose. Many of them have now been planted in gaps along the ‘seasonal path’ and as we found that approximately 200 trees had been planted, the remainder have been heeled in and hopefully we can carry on with this project on our next workday.

The species that had been planted included Silver Birch, Hawthorn, Wild Cherry and Hazel.

22nd May 2021

12th June 2021

As part of Keep Britain Tidy Great British Spring Clean,13 volunteers from Friends of South Norwood Country Park cleared a huge amount of litter from South Norwood Country Park on Saturday 12 June. We worked in two separate locations – along the railings near to the Westgate Road entrance & along Path 666, which runs along near the tram track towards Elmers End station.

We arranged for Croydon Council to collect the pike of bags that we filled

26th June 2021

Half of our volunteers cleared scrub from around the young trees that we planted as whips in December last year. The majority of these trees were found to have survived and grown well. Only a couple were found to have died. This was very good news.

The trees we’d previously planted were a mixture of Mountain Ash (Rowan), Bird Cherry, Hazel, Common Crab Apple, Grey Willow, Blackthorn, Hawthorn, Common Dogwood and Goat Willow. Some of the Hawthorn and Blackthorn had been planted to fill gaps in hedges and we already knew that the survival rate for these is good.

One of our volunteers said “We had to fight our way through the long grass in search of canes and plastic tubes but we were very pleased to find our whips thriving so the area is clearly ideal for tree planting. We cleared a metre halo around them to give them a better chance.”

The other half of our volunteers continued the last workday task – clearing litter from Path 666. At the end of our last workday, we discovered a heavily littered area just off the path and we guessed that this had been a ‘camp’. There were several suitcases at the site which we filled with old clothes, several umbrellas and an enormous amount of litter, including plastic bags, toiletries and canned food. We thought that the ‘camp’ had been there for some years as the cans were completely rusted and there were layers of oak leaves covering everything. 

10th July 2021

One of our annual summer tasks is to cut back vegetation encroaching some of the streams. We waded through the section running parallel to Elmers End Road in our wellies. Once cleared, we were rewarded with the satisfying sound of water running freely along the stream.

The other half of the volunteer party carried on clearing the disused camp that we had found along Path 666, near to the tram track towards Elmers End station. We’d thought that there wasn’t much left to clear but the pile of litter bags & other items (including what was once a nice chair) proved us wrong.

The photos of before & after show what an eyesore the area was & how lovely it can become again – a wooded glen.

24th July 2021

We had two tasks to achieve today. One was to carry on clearing vegetation (and litter) from the stream near to the wetland. This stream gets clogged with vegetation which needs to be thinned out annually to facilitate the flow of water. Some of our volunteers reported seeing Sticklebacks in the stream, They also cleared the channel that runs into the lake to ensure the level of the lake doesn’t fall too low.

Other volunteers preferred to work on dry land and were tasked with cutting back nettles at the beginning of the wetland path. There has been a new noticeboard installed here by The Conservation Volunteers, explaining some of the park areas and we wanted to ensure that this remained visible to visitors. The cut nettles were used to block access to one of the streams, although we expect them to rot down qui

14th August 2021

We continued our task of clearing the streams near Elmer’s End by digging out silt and cutting back overhanging vegetation. Those of us who didn’t fancy getting ‘stuck in the mud’, cleared vegetation that was reachable from the banks and general litter picking.

28th August 2021

Today we carried out path clearing. We started on the path that runs from Fiveways towards the Wetlands. We found overhanging brambles and very large stinging nettles that needed to be cut back. Here we noticed that many of the little trees that we’d planted and some that we’d re-sited were doing well. We then moved to the environment garden where we cleared a path so that our beekeepers could access the apiary more easily. One of our team had recently reported a fly-tip at Pottery Close and was keen to do some litter picking around the fly-tip. He was delighted to find that the council had already cleared the fly-tip and he was able to clear the resulting litter.

11th September 2021

We worked in one of the reed beds, clearing willow. The aim is to coppice around one fifth of the lakeside willow every winter.


25th September 2021

On 25 September we split into two groups at our workday.

One group went to the pathway near to Harrington Road & carried out path widening by cutting back overhanging vegetation. As well as making access along the paths easier, it also allows for clearer ‘line of sight’ for walkers & cyclists, allowing them to see people or cyclists coming towards them along the path.

Chris – can you send Jonathan some photos that you took & copy ne in please? Thanks

The other group carried on with work started at the previous workday & continued by The Conservation Volunteers on two days in the park last week. It is important for sunlight to shine into the reed beds around the lake so we cut back the willows that were overhanging. This needs to be done every year as the willows grow extremely fast & can block the sunlight if allowed to grow unchecked. We walked through the reed bed where the water was very shallow & very black in colour, to arrive at the reeds below the southernmost pontoon pathway. Here we we piled up the cut willow branches & trunks to raise the height & strength of the fencing along the path.

9th October 2021

Armed with slashers, loppers and shears, we tackled the brambles and undergrowth encroaching the path that runs alongside the tram line to the rear of Harrington Road. These ‘path widening’ tasks ensure that the path remains accessible to all as well as providing clear visibility along its length.

October 23rd 2021

The path that runs along the stream on the cemetery side has become quite overgrown making it difficult to walk along. Making our way along the path from the Harrington Road side, we cut back brambles and nettles and filled a few bags with litter caught up in the undergrowth.

November 13th 2021

10 volunteers worked in the wetland area to remove vegetation such as Willowherb so that it wouldn’t die down & clog the water channels & cause silting. Our aim was to leave some clear channels of water but also leave some vegetation in place for concealment. We learnt that this type of habitat is preferred by some of the wading birds that will visit & breed in this area. For this activity we wore chest-waders which I don’t think we’ve been able to do before. We were lucky to be able to borrow these from The Conservation Volunteers.

A few of us also worked to remove some of the vegetation growing in & encroaching into one of the streams running out of the wetlands into the lake. We pulled out vegetation growing in the stream & cut back overhanging brambles.

A few sight lines were also made so that bird watchers were able to see further into the wetland area from the path. To do this we simply removed a few willow branches.

November 27th 2021

With a delivery of 200 trees expected soon, we made our way down to the ‘seasonal path’ to prepare the ground ready for planting. The trees will be planted in two rows to form a new hedge along the edge of the seasonal path and to fill gaps in the existing hedge. We cut back brambles and cleared vegetation making space for the whips to give them the best chance of survival.

December 11th 2021

We were successful in applying for 200 trees (whips) from TCV (The Conservation Volunteers). We planned to infill some of the gaps in the hedgerow along the ‘Seasonal Path’, so called because the hedges can encroach quite dramatically during the growing season. However we have lost elm along this path & gaps had been created by the higher than usual footfall that we experienced during lockdown.

The packs we selected therefore were a mixture of Hawthorn, Grey Willow, Dog Rose, Hazel & Dogwood, the vast majority being Hawthorn. We’d already prepared the site during our previous workday, by cutting back bramble & scrub to allow space for the new trees. The whips were planted in staggered rows to eventually create a wider hedgerow.

The TCV scheme, in partnership with OVO Energy has been running for some years now & by the end of this planting season, 2 million trees will have been planted.