On the 12th we were fortunate to be joined by the girls from Marymount School in Kingston, which significantly boosted our ability to make a difference. The girls got to work clearing rubbish from along garden fence lines and then cut back brambles which were encroaching on the meadow area.
Another group worked to clear a fallen willow tree at the entrance to the park and removed a shopping trolley and other rubbish. An old pond liner was also uncovered in the bushes and was deposited in the trailer provided by Quadron Services.
With all the heavy and prickly tasks over, there was time to spend some time by the small pond which is alive with tadpoles, as well as to revisit the young woodland area where trees were thinned out last autumn. Already trees are sprouting side branches as a result of the increased light levels created by thinning the trees, and seedlings are emerging from the woodland floor.
Sadly, the park has been blighted by the insensitive actions of a private landowner. With total disregard for the integrity, wildlife value or aesthetics of the park, the landowner has uprooted and burnt trees. As such, it is hard to see how any Green Flag judge in their right mind could give a favourable review of the park in its current state, despite the hard work of Quadron and the Kingston Greenspace Volunteers. A key concern is the proximity of the area to the pond which is a wildlife haven. The creation of the allotments may alter the hydrology of the area, and if pesticides are used on the allotments this could decimate the amphibians who call the area home.
Thankfully, the section of the woodland that is still part of the park is thriving. All concerned local residents are urged to contact their local councillor regarding this matter - Cllr. Howard Jones (firstname.lastname@example.org ), Cllr. Priyen Patel (email@example.com ) or Cllr. Ken Smith (Ken.Smith@councillors.kingston.gov.uk ).
The Marymount girls clear bramble suckers from the wildflower meadow.
Then investigate the pond.
Elliot and Gerrard armed with litter pickers.
The tranquillity of the pond with the fenced private land in the distance.
An old pond liner found amongst the bushes.
The message is clear.
Where once there was a mature woodland, now only stumps remain.
No, it's not burnt rainforest in the tropics cleared to make way for palm oil plantations, it's Manor Park in New Malden cleared to make way of allotments.
Bluebells defiantly blooming amongst the ashes.
In the neighbouring area of woodland, an alder tree responds to increased light following last year's tree thinning.
And, an ash seedling emerges from the leaf litter.
Older patches of woodland dominated by elm suckers can be found bordering the railway line.
Ivy-leaved speedwell (Veronica hederifolia) in woods near the cricket pitch.
A robin (Erithacus rubecula) sings in the area of young woodland at Manor Park, New Malden.
May 12th 2013.