Robert Sheppard writes…
IONA CLOSE ORCHARD is a wonderful pocket of undisturbed wildlife in the heart of Catford (behind Bournville Road) – but it will deteriorate quickly if not carefully looked-after. It remains quite overgrown, but retains some fine old fruit trees. In common with most old orchards, the site is of high nature conservation value.
A diverse group of local people of all ages has already been involved in efforts to restore this ancient orchard – and the London Orchard Project has helped plant some new fruit trees. There is a lot of enthusiasm about keeping this project going and safeguarding the site and its conservation value.
But to encourage these voluntary efforts, some more, quite modest, funding is needed. We’re asking for £1,500 and with this we will run four volunteer sessions in 2014 and will: complete some essential tree works to make the site safe and improve wildlife habitat; buy a secure tool store and a few key tools for volunteering sessions; and buy some saplings and more fruit trees to plant.
At least 50 local people will, we expect, be directly involved in one or more of these four volunteering sessions. However the beneficiaries in the longer term will be a much wider group than this.
For example, when the site is clear of rubbish and safe, probably as soon as September 2014, it can be made available as an ‘outdoor classroom’ for local schools.
PLEASE SUPPORT LOCAL PEOPLE TAKING THE INITIATIVE!
Bird populations are a great indicator of the health of the countryside. That’s why it’s so important to take part in surveys like the Big Garden Birdwatch to keep an eye on the ups and downs of the wildlife where we live. The Friends of Blythe Hill Fields are taking part in their own great bird watch, but if you would like to take part by counting birds in your own garden, it is easy to register. You can also find more information about last years BGW here.
Lewisham Council is currently working on a Heritage Lottery bid for Beckenham Place Park.
Have a look at some of the preliminary ideas to improve the park. Have your say and talk with the landscape architects to feed back on the ideas and to provide some of your own suggestions for improvements.
The consultation event is taking place on Saturday 18th January at ‘The Green Man’ in Downham, from 1pm – 3.30pm.
For map link press: Here