27th February 2019
Wednesday morning two of our members Phil and Paul put up 8 new bird boxes and added protective plates on a number of old ones, cleaned out all of the old nests and took two down for repair.
We are pleased to report that nearly all of the original boxes had last year's nests in them, which is fantastic news!! and clearly supports what we are doing over Parklands. The nests were a combination of Blue, Great and Coal Tits.
On the way out of the park an eager Blue Tit was spotted going into one of the new boxes which had just been put up
A leisurely working party this month, with just some clearing up done on a pleasantly mild winter's morning. More bird boxes have been purchased and it is planned to put them up before the end of the month.
And a big thanks to Andy Brett for taking some early spring photos.
The morning was mostly spent clearing some ground adjacent to the car park for tree planting later in the month.
*************** 28th November. *****************
Approx. 50 trees were planted in the area behind the car park. Many thanks to the 6 intrepid volunteers.
It was just a general tidy up today around the edges of the lake of brambles etc. by the 7 volunteers who turned up, along with the usual amount of discarded litter. Next month we will be planting some 50 saplings of various varieties kindly donated to us.
At today's working party our newly acquired waders were put to good use in clearing much of the debris from under the bridge. A broken branch from one of the willow trees was removed and some of the dead vegetation was cleared, along with a general tidy up of the area around the wooden bridge. Many thanks to the 5 volunteers who attended. A few more volunteers would be welcome at next month's working party (10 October).
Thanks to 8 volunteers at the July working party we managed to clear some dead trees from the path at the car park end; remove some of the invasive Himalayan Balsam; clear the weir between the lake and the pond; and pick up the litter.
Two of the tree identity labels which had been affixed last year (to the Silver Maple and the Lucombe Oak) had, unfortunately, been vandalised. At today's working party those labels were replaced and new labels affixed to identify the Cut-leaved Alder and the Swamp Cypress.
Many thanks to the 6 volunteers who also conducted a general tidy-up.
4 x Hornchurch Country Park Rangers finally erected the owl box on a Horse Chestnut tree near the bridge earlier today.
Its been very wet and boggy the last couple of months but we've still managed to plant further bulbs and keep everything tidy. We've also acquired some power tools which will help keep the brambles at bay. Hopefully next month will bring better weather.
14th February 2018
Some of the gang planting some Black Polar saplings which were kindly donated by Thames Chase
10th January 2018
Despite the fact that our oldest tree, the Black Poplar, which was over 300 years old and blown down in the recent storms was being cleared away, It was a wonderful sunny start to the year. A great turnout from our reliable team enabled us to start clearing and tidying up the park ready for the spring.
6th January 2018
It has sadly been reported that during the recent storm we have lost the oldest tree in the park. The Black Poplar which was over three hundred years old fell into the park and thankfully not across the road hurting anyone.
A great response to our appeal for extra help today 14 volunteers this morning got all the 50kg of Daffodil bulbs for next spring planted in 1hr 30mins. A Big thanks to everybody who made the effort. Also please check out the link below for a great surprise for one of our volunteers.
Parklands progress meeting:
Working Party organiser (Andy Brett) and Chairman (Roy Brand) met council representatives Nigel Oxley and Richard Cottam, at Parklands on 17 October, to progress some outstanding issues. The following is a summary of the discussions:
Nigel confirmed that daffodil bulbs would be delivered before the next working party on 15 November.
Nigel would ascertain the price of bluebells and snowdrops and recommend a supplier. The best time to plant green bluebells is early spring.
The council representatives weren't in favour of planting shrubs at the Corbets Tey entrance. They thought they would spoil the open view from Corbets Tey Road.
Richard agreed to arrange for the wild flower area to be mown or strimmed. A larger area would be prepared for next year.
The council representatives said there was a very tight budget for removing dead and diseased trees. If there was still money left in the budget, towards the end of the financial year, consideration would be given to felling the 2 diseased horse chestnut trees.
It was noted that pennywort had started to reappear in the lake, especially near to the bridge. A volunteer had cleared most of it over the weekend and the park rangers were on site on 17 October to continue the clearance.
Nigel said arrangements had been made for the piles of cuttings to be cleared by the end of the week.
Richard confirmed that a litter bin was available and that he would identify a suitable site to install it.
Nigel agreed to arrange for the muddiest areas of the Corbets Tey path to be infilled before winter.
The council representatives expressed concern that identification plates affixed to trees might damage them. Roy commented that all the trees in the Botanical Gardens at Cambridge appeared to have identification plates affixed by screws and undertook to make further enquiries.
Nigel said he could provide a lectern style information board. The permanent information would be silk-screen printed onto an A1 size (841mm x 594mm) strong corrugated board. The board could contain council information (e.g. Welcome to...., prohibitions, warnings, parking, fishing, parks protection) and Friends of Parklands info (e.g. aims, invitation to join, working parties, a brief history, website details). All parties would need to consider the precise wording they wanted for each section before design of the layout.
A good turnout today where we cleared the path along the stream that runs up to the bridge and lake from the Corbets Tey Road entrance. Great work was especially undertaken by Phil who took on the task of clearing the Himalayan Balsam. Further work on this very evasive plant will continue in September.
· A committee meeting scheduled for 26 June 2017 was cancelled as not enough Committee members were available to form a quorum. In lieu, a meeting was held with council representative, Nigel Oxley, to progress outstanding issues. The following is a summary of items discussed:
· Hornchurch Country Park Ranger, Mick Greenslade, has been tasked with installation of the last remaining owl box
· Nigel will remind Richard Cottam of his commitment to install a litter bin near the exit to Parkland Avenue
· Nigel will look into providing materials to improve the path from Corbets Tey Road to the bridge
· The plan to provide a pond-dipping area has been abandoned as no suitable safe site could be identified
· Nigel and Linda Hawthorn will pursue with James Rose the idea of providing a notice board
· Nigel will arrange for another coat of lime-wash to be applied to the bridge as soon as funds are available. A certain amount of weathering is to be expected
· Parks protection are liaising with the bailiff to try to identify persons illegally fishing at night. Any evidence residents can supply, e.g. car number plates or photos, would be appreciated
· The council's tree officer, Tim Goldrick, has been asked to ensure that none of the dead or diseased trees present a safety hazard
· The wild flower area has only been a limited success. Steps will be taken to ensure that seeds are sown earlier next year
· Nigel will provide comments on the draft risk assessment for working party volunteers
· Assurance has been given that the council will supply daffodil bulbs for planting in the autumn
· Nigel will ask Martin Haskell (Havering Council) to make a firm commitment to collect the heaps of cuttings that have accumulated. Nigel asked that the working parties heap cuttings in places that are easily accessible for the grab lorry
· The news that Becmain Angling Society have once again taken over fishing rights for the south bank was welcomed
· Nigel undertook to consider replacing any tools which were reported to him as being no longer fit for purpose. He would also consider whether a long litter-picker would help in clearing debris from the lake
Many thanks to Andrew Griffiths, our former Chairman, for preparing an article about the background to the bridge restoration. The article can be read in full by clicking onto the History page.
11th May 2017
A large bough fell from one of the diseased chestnut trees, near to the bridge, on 6 May; narrowly missing 2 ladies walking a dog. The incident was reported to the council by one of our members and arrangements made for council contractors to clear the debris on 9 May .They have made the tree safe and we await a report from the council of what further action they propose.
12th April 2017
Preparing our Wild Flower garden was the main project of the day.
30th March 2017
A big thank you to all those who sponsored the bird boxes. The latest 12 bird boxes have been positioned along the lake and in the woods by the bridge. There are a few open boxes, which have been hidden in the ivy, which should attract Robins, Thrushes, Blackbirds, Hedge Sparrows and if we are very lucky Spotted Flycatchers. The closed boxes will attract Blue/Great/Coal Tits and again if we are lucky Nuthatches. We have already installed one Owl Box and we have another one, designed for Tawny Owls, which will be going up very shortly.
If you see any activity in or around these boxes, please post on our facebook page.
Big thanks go to Paul Chapman and Philip Turner for obtaining and installing these boxes.
24th March 2017
Friends of Parklands have been selected to take part in a national initiative to encourage wild flower meadows across the Country. We have received a complete planting kit, including 19x 3g packets of 5 different types of seeds - each packet covers up to 2 sq.m., so enough to plant around 40 sq. m.
We also have an edible fungus kit !
Supported by The Big Lottery Fund and led by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew : Grow Wild is the UK's biggest ever wild flower campaign, bringing people together to transform local spaces with native pollinator-friendly wild flowers and plants.
We urgently need one of our 'Friends' to come forward to take a lead role in supervising this exciting project.
We are meeting Richard Cottam, from the Havering Parks Department on Monday 27th March to agree the area to be rotovated in preparation for planting. We are meeting in the car park at 2.30pm and if any of you feel moved to take on this role, please let me know and join us on Monday.
We would ask you to give this request your serious consideration, many of us already take on various responsibilities in the work of the 'friends' group and it is an opportunity to show your support and get involved.
Friends of Parklands
15th March 2017
Eight volunteers turned up today to continue the general tidying of fallen branches and litter etc. The entrance at the Corbets Tey end has also been spruced up and the Daffodils are now in full bloom.
Parklands is beginning to shed her winter coat and signs of Spring are bursting out all over. If you appreciate the work we do to keep our park a pleasant and beautiful place, why not become a 'Friend of Parklands'
Annual subscriptions, per household, are just £5.00 and we need to raise a certain amount of money each year to cover the cost of insurance and purchasing flower bulbs and shrubs etc. to continually enhance the area.
You will notice from the photographic collage that we have started installing bird nesting boxes ...........why not sponsor a small/medium box for £10.00, or if you are feeling generous, an owl box for £35.00.......Any other general donations will be gratefully received.
If you would like to be involved, please leave a message on our Facebook page or from the Contacts tab and we'll get in touch with you.
15th February 2017
Nine of us turned up this morning and continued tidying up around the car park end and along both banks of the lake. The bridge was also swept clear of the autumn leaves. Our work was also being overseen by our frequent visitor the Egyptian Goose.
19th August 2016
Eight members of the Havering U3A digital photo group recently spent a morning in Parklands, as one of their occassional open photoshoots.
A selection of images taken on that day may be viewed below :
26th March 2016
The late afternoon sun reflecting off the bridge, showing the newly completed footpath.
16th March 2016
The bridge is looking great, the restoration is now finished and the scaffolding has been removed this week. All that remains, when the weather improves is a final coat of limewash, plus the resin bonded surface for the path.
10th March 2016
Lovely to see these two Canada Geese on the lake this morning.....haven't seen them for ages.
26th January 2016
The Park Farm Road entrance to the car park is now effectively blocked by a number of substantial tree stumps, installed by Havering Council.
The car park will remain closed, probably until April at the earliest, when a more sturdy gate, with a height restriction, will be installed along with surveillance cameras.
It is hoped that this action will bring an end to the problem of fly tipping in the park.
24th January 2016
The new balustrades, glistening in the morning sun, looked magnificent this morning, not much more to do now, we'll soon be able to celebrate one of the most attractive 18th century bridges in the area.
Does anybody know why a large crater has appeared at the back of the car park?
14th October 2015
We were very pleased, at our working party this morning, to see that the bridge restoration is now progressing well, we understand that it should be completed before Christmas.
Not so pleased that a huge old tree, between Corbets Tey Road and the bridge has been felled. - Presumably because it was diseased or unsafe ?
10th October 2015
We are now seeing some progress being made on the bridge, and the photos below start to give an indication of what it will look like once fully refurbished. Lets hope progress continues and the weather is kind.
16th July 2015
We now have a new lifebuoy and thanks to our friends at Harwood Estates, there is now a clear path along the back of the lake.
When the bridge restoration is finished, it will be possible to walk all the way round again.
All the surveys and permissions have now been completed and work has started on the bridge....Hoorah.........should be all over sometime this Autumn.
11th June 2015
This afternoon we were taken on a walk of tree discovery by Mary Smith, a well known local botanist.
We were introduced to many important and unusual species, including the Cut Leafed Alder, the Indian Horse Chestnut, the Swamp Cypress, the Lucombe Oak ( a hybrid of the Turkey Oak), probably the only example in Essex and a Water Poplar.
We are very grateful to Mary for such an interesting insight to the arboricultural history of Parklands.
10th June 2015
We had a very productive working party this morning, managing to clear a large area of nettles and bramble from behind the car park. To compare the before(when the undergrowth was over a metre high) with the after two hours hard labour picture is quite extraordinary and really gets some welcome light back in to the glade.
Big thanks to Dave, Bert, Annette, Roy and Richard
26th May 2015
Last week, a builders truck fly tipped 3 loads of rubble, having driven through the open gates heading onto Corbets Tey Road.
The bridge contractors were on site, but working elsewhere!
It is incredible to think that such action can be taken in broad daylight and again how selfish some people can be, just to save themselves a little time and money.
15th April 2015
Below are three photos showing work on the bridge. It’s good to see those horrid grey railings have now been removed.
25th March 2015
A walk through the park this morning revealed that the contractors have almost completed the scaffolding around the bridge and should be getting the restoration work under way in the next few days.
The daffodils, which we planted last Autumn are looking magnificent and the huge amount of general clearing undertaken by our own working parties and also teams from Becmain fishing club are beginning to return Parklands to its former glory.
Huge thanks to everybody who has given their time and energy to achieve this result.
18th February 2015
It was a glorious day for a bit of 'forestry' this morning and 10 friends spent time clearing the area behind the car park, including the bottom end of the pathway from Parklands. We have also started cutting back unruly growth along the bank of the lake.
The council have been busy over the last few weeks, severely pruning the willow trees which had started to take over the waters edge and lifting their aprons to make it easier for walkers.
The Bridge restoration is underway and should be completed in 5-6 months, the daffodils and shrubs which we planted in the Autumn are showing signs of life and Spring is just round the corner, so get out and enjoy it.
If you would like to join our monthly working parties (listed on the homepage), just turn up ,or contact us for further information.
29th December 2014
What we've all been waiting for..........
24th November 2014
Over the weekend a bunch of louts fly-tipped this huge amount of rubbish in the car park.
It's infuriating to think that a few volunteers spend months trying to keep the park a pleasant place and in a matter of minutes it can be ruined by this sort of mindless and selfish action.
20th November 2014
Great news, at last we can report the refurbishment of the bridge will start in January. Initially the lake will be dammed, and a week later work will start on the bridge, with the project lasting 4 months.
Its been a long wait for this upgrade to one of our historic structures, lets hope the weather co-operates and does not spoil the party.
12th November 2014
This morning, despite intermittent heavy rain showers and with the help of Draz, parks maintenance supervisor, his chain saw and Kenny from the parks department. we were able to clear away many trees that had fallen in previous storms. Unfortunately, rain stopped play before we were able to complete the task, but an extra working party will take place next Thursday.
The parks department recently supplied us with 50 kg of daffodil bulbs which we have planted at both entrances to Parklands.............look out for a blaze of colour next spring.
21st September 2014
We now have a nice smooth drive from Park Farm Road to the car park .......no more broken axles !
Many thanks to the Parks Department for this further improvement.
30th July 2014
Today, the working party reached a milestone in our endeavours to tidy up Parklands.
There is now a clear(ish) view of the bridge from the Corbets Tey Road entrance.
Working in intense heat, but maintaining a stiff upper lip, we dragged several piles of undergrowth and dead trees out of the 'jungle', which alongside more Ivy removal and some gentle coppicing has opened up this area and allows some attractive dappled light in.
Huge thanks to everybody who has helped over the last year or so.
9th July 2014
This mornings working party completed the riverside walk including an interesting obstacle (see illustration)
The entrance from Corbets Tey Road is now looking a lot better and the area around the bridge is a lot clearer.
We are continuing our struggle through the jungle....Still not unearthed any Japanese POW's !.
Parks department have been carrying out tree work around the lake and keeping the grass cut.
All in all, it's going terribly well.
30th June 2014
We are all delighted to see that the Parks Department have planted a number of shrubs at the end of Parkland Avenue, at the entrance to the woodland path leading to the car park at the western end of the lake.
They look very attractive now, what a great improvement this will make to the area as they begin to grow and mature.
Our thanks to Martin Stanton, Richard Cottam and Nigel Oxley, our friends at Havering Council, and to Kelly, Paul, Dolores and Terry who have agreed to keep the shrubs well watered whilst they are establishing.
27th May 2014
We have now scheduled the following dates to take us up to the end of the year. See opposite in red text.
Please note them in your diaries and calendars to avoid disappointment and self loathing if you miss any of these opportunities to do your bit !
The parks department are hoping to get 4 council staff, with serious tools, along to our June meeting which will make a huge difference to the amount we can progress.
Thanks for your help.
7th May 2014
11 friends came along to the working party this morning, 3 of them from Havering's volunteer service and we are very grateful for their help.
We are still fighting our way through the undergrowth toward the bridge. To date, we haven't unearthed any Japanese prisoners of war,but who knows what may turn up?
The woodland walk along the river made another 50m or so and we are hoping that park users will take advantage of this route thereby establishing a permanent track.
Parks department had a big grabber truck on site clearing all the rubbish created over the past few months and we are hoping that this will become a more regular occurrence
10th April 2014
Another busy working party this morning, 6 friends and a new volunteer from HAVCO.
We are now beginning to see some 'glades' appear in areas which have been cleared and work has started to create a natural woodland walk along the river toward the bridge.
26th March 2014
Many thanks to the 9 friends who turned up for this morning's working party.
We concentrated on the area around the stile at the bottom of the path from the western end of Parkland Avenue.
An enormous amount of undergrowth, dead wood, holly and ivy was cleared and the space now looks quite attractive again.
26th February 2014
Good to see that Havering have applied to themselves for planning permission to refurbish the bridge......................Shouldn't be long now.
24th February 2014
One of our local residents, Len Williams, has been photographing Parklands for 60 years, from 1963 to 2013.
His collection, taken in all weather conditions, illustrates the diverse history of the lake and park, including fishing, dredging, tree plating and scenic views. It will, no doubt, resurrect many happy memories.
We are very grateful to Len for sharing these images with us. You will find these on the images page of this site.
13th February 2014
This morning, a much reduced group of 3 volunteers continued tackling the scrub and overgrown / dead trees along the stream leading to the bridge.
It's surprising how much can be done with so few people, hoping for a full turnout for the two days in March.
The Ivy vine wouldn't budge, so Annette and Roy used it as a swing.....such fun!
15th January 2014
On a damp and dismal morning today, we had the most working party volunteers ever, with 10 hardy souls pitching themselves against the seriously overgrown entrance area on Corbet's Tey Road.
In addition to the pavement which had become very slippery and dangerous, we cleared masses of ivy, bracken and unruly trees.
The parks department are looking into planting a range of suitable shrubs at both entrances to Parkland. We are given to understand that the refurbishment of the bridge will now start in April and after a 6 month programme will be completed in October.