A group of volunteers planted 177 metres of mixed native hedging in 2004/05 alongside the western boundary, the first part of our Biodiversity Hedge to help enrich wildlife habitat in our park.
The original hedge saplings were laid in 2014 and again in late winter 2017/18 to encourage the hedge to thicken and grow nearer the ground so as to provide protection for wildlife. The weather was somewhat wintry during the last week of February: a case of “extreme” volunteering?
One of the highlights in the Brockwell Park calendar has recently become the brilliant lido wildlife slope. 2015 is the third summer in which the wild flowers have added a rural look to the lido front. Jason Cobb, Brixton Buzz, June 11, 2015
This year the slope had some setbacks but it seems to have a spirit all of its own and voila! It rose from the grey sludge of winter like a butterfly from a chrysalis.
It was such a blow in September 2013, to have found the Himalayan Balsam during the last season (this is a DEFRA listed weed nuisance) this obligated us to glyphosate again because of its propensity to spread. This year (September 2014) however there was no sign of it and we could go ahead without glyphosating.
So in October 2014, Vinnie O’Connell and his team came to strim down the last of the flowers, it took us 3 days as we were not great experts with the strimmer’s! We left the flower seed to set, and then raked the dead stalks off three weeks later.
The slope then was left fallow for the winter. As it was exceptionally wet, when the Trust Conservation Volunteers, led by Tom Nandi, came to rotivate and weed in February, it was really hard going. The rotivating day was one of almost relentless rain and bitter wind. Some parts toward the far end of the slope were impossible. Tom did what he could and we hoped for the best. When I lookout out on the grey churned up piles of mud in March I was filled with doom. But we put down the extra seed we had collected the previous summer.
Gradually the slope started to ‘green’ and the first real surprise was the wonderful spread of Campion that bloomed in white, pale pink and a darker pink. Then came the wild marigolds and the Californian poppies. The buttercups, chamomile, poppies, corn cockle and cornflowers were next to bloom. Another surprise is the tiny wild geranium and the purple and yellow clumps of vetch. We have Cecilia, Love in a mist, Toadflax, Scarlet pimpernel and some wild grasses that we added. We are now trying to getting a good mix of grasses and wildflowers.
We also have all the thugs of the urban jungle! Teasel, thistle, creeping buttercup, couch grass, fat hen, dock, and this year’s most prolific – the wild mustard. All of which we want in small numbers as they offer something to the invertebrates such as ladybird larvae, moths, beetles etc. but the trick is to manage them.
Many people joke about this being a ‘wild slope’ when they see us carefully cutting out a number of each of the above each week. But we prefer to call it ‘managed wildness’.
Thanks to The Heritage Lottery Fund and Trevor Uprichard who facilitated the funding to 2014/15; Vinnie O’Connell, founder of New Leaf Dulwich; The Conservation Volunteers with Tom Nandi; The Brockwell Park Community Partners for the funding for 2015/16 – which secures another year of maintenance for the Wildflower slope.
We will be selling the wildflower and poppy seed, plus some cards of the wildflower slope and the popular tree towels at the Lambeth Country Show – all the proceeds go towards community events and projects in the Park. There is an ongoing requirement to maintain the wildflower slope which requires funding, and buying in extra seed from a wildflower specialist as we have to introduce new seed to keep the continuation vigorous.
The planting of an 800 metre biodiversity hedge along the Tulse Hill side of Brockwell Park in 2013 created a new wildlife corridor for native species. BPCP’s Biodiversity Group secured funding of £20,000 from Veolia Environmental Trust and Biffa Award for the project.
BPCP has produced a booklet on the wildlife corridor which can be downloaded here.
You may not know that the new deluxe perimeter hedge that we are planting, is a volunteer triumph. Fund-raised for by us, fought for by us and planted by us. This hedge is to help support birds, bees, butterflies and bats to thrive.
We are on the last stretch – from the top of the playground by Brailsford Road – all the way down to Water Lane. The volunteer numbers have dropped a bit and we have fallen behind schedule. If you have even a couple of hours on any Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday in February – we would be able to get ahead and finish on time. No previous experience is necessary.
The volunteers – led by Richard – will be there from 10am until after 4pm on those days. You just need to see the white van by the side of the path and ask for Richard. You can bring your dogs or children (as long as you supervise them) –or friends and family. The activities are not dangerous or particularly hard. There is plenty to do for everyone.
With just a few more of you – we will catch up and that means our precious last few quid can be spent on ‘establishing the hedge’ which means looking after it for the first year – watering it and replanting plants that get broken (dogs, balls, Frisbees etc) so that it gets a chance.
I have to say – wrap up warm and wear sensible boots or shoes. Richard will supply gloves and all the tools needed – as well as a cup of tea at break time. A Poster is attached and we would be most grateful if you could print it out and stick it up somewhere.
We are getting on with our wonderful deluxe biodiversity hedge slowly but surely – however the volunteer numbers have been low. We are sure this is almost entirely due to the worst weather conditions for many years! Since we fundraised the cost of the hedge – we have to watch every penny and the work is falling behind the schedule that we anticipated.
So, if you have even a spare hour or two on any Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday – of the days on this Poster – you can turn up at any time from 10am until 4pm. You will know where the work is being done by the sight of the white van parked somewhere between the Tulse Hill gate and Half Moon Lane. Theresa Hoare, Laura Morland or Susy Hogarth will be there. Hot tea and biscuits are provided!!