Nature Conservation Lewisham

Get involved in Lewisham's parks and nature reserves

Beckenham Place Park – Half Term Activities 2017

Leave a comment


1 Comment

Community Engagement Officer Post at Beckenham Place Park

Media preview

The squirrel at Beckenham Place Park

Be at the heart of transforming Beckenham Place Park

Could you be at the heart of transforming Beckenham Place Park?  A new job is going for a Community Engagement Officer.  More details can be found on the London Borough Lewisham website.

The role

The planned regeneration will physical transform the park, injecting much needed investment and providing a wealth of new facilities. The Community Engagement Officer’s role is to ensure the open space becomes a thriving hub for a wide range of activities, community events and volunteering opportunities.

This role is temporary until December 2021.

What they’re looking for

An enthusiastic individual who is passionate about getting communities outdoors, and can relate easily to people of all ages and from all walks of life. You will also need to be organised, adept at using social media, and able to manage small scale finances effectively.

Closing date

Sunday, 18th June 2017, 23:59pm

1 Comment

October-December 2016 Nature’s Gym programme now available


Please find attached the Nature’s Gym programme for October-December 2016.  There are a couple of site scheduled that we’ve not been to for ages which will therefore probably be new to a lot of you!  Due to the number of projects that we have been asked to carry out, there are quite a few different sites this time and so we’ve not been able to stick to the fewer sites idea that we have discussed. Even so, we hope that you will all find something to enjoy!

The last session of the year will be on Saturday 10th December, the exact location and event will be confirmed nearer the time.  We will return from the Christmas break on Thursday 12th January.

Leave a comment

Clearing the Ravensbourne in Beckenham Place Park

3 Sophie and Jess

Clearing the Ravensbourne

As part of the 3 Rivers Clean Up the Nature’s Gym volunteers cleared part of the River Ravensbourne in Beckenham Place Park.  Their work involved picking up litter and pulling up Himalayan Balsam.  Himalayan Balsam is one of a number of invasive species that you can find along our rivers.  This one however is easy to treat with willing volunteers! There is something quite special about wading in a river while dappled sunlight dances across the water! When you are down there you really would not guess that you are in an inner London Borough.

Along with a number of other local groups we run lots of rivers sessions throughout the year.  This doesn’t always involved pulling Balsam, but if this is something that you would like to get involved in, please visit our Friends at the Rivers and People blog.

The video below, filmed with Tom Morgan of Wiltshire Wildlife Trust hows how to remove Himalayan balsam late in the season where it has been allowed to set seed. Himalayan balsam, a weed, is popular with bee keepers due to its high nectar content and late season flowering. However, research has shown it to negatively impact on native invertebrate abundance. The British Beekeepers Association advise that the plant is removed BEFORE it sets seed.

Leave a comment

Rivers & People Guided Walk 20th July 2pm

BPP walk 20.07.14

‘Rivers and People walks explore urban nature in Lewisham by following our three rivers: the Ravensbourne, the Quaggy and the Pool. They are for anyone who would to see more of the natural world that lies all around us, even in the inner city. And for anyone who would like to experience the physical and mental health benefits of walking and contact with the ‘green world’. We will see birds, beasts, flowers, trees and get close to flowing rivers. The walks will last between 1-1.5 hours, are all on level ground and can be taken at a pace to suit all levels of physical ability. 
The walks are led by accredited volunteers. They are free and no booking is required. Just turn up at the start point. If you can, please print out the online leaflets that accompany each walk and that can be found:


Leave a comment

Dead hedging at Beckenham Place Park

Over the last two weeks a very hardy bunch of Nature’s Gym volunteers have been working at Beckenham Place Park to continue with their project of creating dead hedges.  These hedges not only make use of cut bramble and sycamore, but they can also make great wildlife habitats for a number of insects.  We were careful not to use any established dead wood piles because there were probably already habitats in their own right.

Creating the hedge

Creating the hedge

The earliest record of a hedge in England dates from 547 AD.  This first recorded hedge was in fact a dead hedge. This ‘dead hedge’ was constructed from cut branches, woven between stakes pushed into the ground (just like we do today). This type of ‘dead hedge’ would gradually have been colonised by live shrubs to form a hedge as we know it today.

A dead hedge is a barrier made from cut branches and foliage.  They are very useful habitats because they provide shelter for small animals and birds.   They also provide a suitable habitats for  saprophytic fungi to grow They are very easy to create and there are a number of variations of how they can be done, but the outcome can still look fantastic.    Our approach is to create two staggered lines of vertically driven stakes – and then to fill the space between these two lines with horizontally placed cut material – the long bits of material can be weaved in between the steaks (see above).   

Here's one we made earlier!

Here’s one we made earlier!

Over time the material in the hedge breaks down and sinks, so there are always more cuttings to add.  This is probably the only maintenance that you will have to do, so they are very simple to construct and maintain.  If you have any examples of your own ‘dead hedge’ work, please feel free to email them to us and we can feature them here!  Be sure to remember to tell us where you put them!