Thursday, 30 April 2015

Iona Orchard volunteers plant wildflower seeds

On Sunday eight or so volunteers came to the Iona Orchard nature reserve (see separate tab above for more information) for a short work session.  In only a couple of hours we cleared more ivy and  undergrowth from the centre  of the site where four new fruit trees (traditional apple varieties) were planted last year, and sprinkled around wildflower seeds provided free by Kew Gardens.
While we were working three separate people spotted from Ladywell Fields that the gate was open and walked up into the site for a chat.  All were interested in the project and two had memories of the site stretching back 50 years or so, when it was a garden belonging to an old couple who lived in one of the villas on Ravensbourne Park Road.
Some of our (less camera-shy) volunteers
Thanks to all those who took part.  There will be more volunteer sessions and open days during the next six months, so keep an eye on this website for updates.
Robert Sheppard

Fallen/unsafe trees in Ladywell Fields

Earlier this week I wrote to the Council’s Parks Team asking about a couple of trees which park users have reported as needing attention.  Council officer Vince Buchanan has today replied as follows:

“Our Tree Officer has completed an inspection of Ladywell Fields - please see responses below.

(i) across the River close in the vicinity of the Adventure playground - the tree has fallen parallel to the bank and does not entirely block the river and so does not really present a flood risk and certainly has not done so in the time it has been down; and
(ii) across the path leading between the bottom of the Prendergast School site and the River - There is a multi-stem willow which seems to be on the School site.  One stem has been applying pressure to the steel fence and has been like it for a number of years.  More recently a smaller stem has split away from the bole but is resting firmly on the fence and has done so for at least a year and a half but is not impeding the footpaths in the Park.  This stem is still attached to the bole.  Perhaps as it has again been brought to our attention it would be worth getting this stem removed and the tree owner to inspect and deal with the remaining tree.  I am unsure who would be responsible for any of this work as it is a School site."
Vince has undertaken to contact Prendergast Ladywell Fields College to make them aware of this issue.
Please email if you spot any trees that seem to need arboricultural attention.
Robert Sheppard

59 Ladywell Road 'arches' currently being marketed

CGI from the marketing pack of possible future use
For more see the Ladywell Village Improvement Group blog at

Robert Sheppard

Friday, 24 April 2015

Glendale help on Iona Orchard project

This afternoon Glendale colleagues Darren Budden, Angus Fraser and Chris Thompson helped remove most of one large pile of green waste that has accumulated on-site following volunteer sessions throughout the last three years.
They also helped by clearing some more vegetation at the bottom of the site.  The only reason we had to stop after 90 minutes was because the Glendale van that had been brought along to cart away the arisings was full!
Thanks to Darren, Angus and Chris.
There will be another volunteer session this Sunday 26 April, starting at 10.30am, during which we plan to sow wildflower seeds.


Monday, 13 April 2015

Why not do some Volunteering in Ladywell Fields?

There will be a number of volunteering sessions in Ladywell Fields between now and the Summer holidays, as follows:
Friday 24 April, 2.30-4.30pm - Glendale-assisted workday workday in Iona Orchard (behind Bournville Road - access from Ladywell Fields).  To register your attendance contact   More information about Iona Orchard can be found under the tab above.
Sunday 26 April, 10.30am-12.30pm - Workday in Iona Orchard (see above for location).   To register your attendance contact   More information about Iona Orchard can be found under the tab above.

Wednesday 6 May, 5.30-7.30pm - Take your mind off the General Election the following day at a volunteer river clean-up and talk, organised by Thames 21.  Meet in the Park at the far end of Malyons Road, Ladywell. 
Thursday 14 May, 11.00am-2.00pm - Nature's Gym workday in Iona Orchard (see above for location).  For more details and to register your attendance contact or phone (W) 020 8314 2199 or (M) 07710 359851.  More information about Iona Orchard can be found under the tab above.
Thursday 25 June, 11am-2.00pm - Nature's Gym 'Three Rivers Clean-Up' event.  Meet by the cafe in the northern field, close to Ladywell Road.  At this session we will be tackling invasive Himalayan Balsam and clearing litter from the riverbanks.
Please come suitably equipped, wearing old clothes and sturdy footwear, for all these events.  Adults only please for health and safety reasons. 
Please find here full information on this year's 'Three Rivers Clean-Up' programme, which runs from 20 June to 11 July.
Please find here more on Nature's Gym volunteering events in Lewisham's parks and green spaces.

Robert Sheppard

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Turning Tree sculpture now in place

Some of you may already have spotted that the Turning Tree, a permanent sculpture by Henry Krokatsis, is now in situ in the River Ravensbourne in Ladywell Fields. 
It was fashioned from a section of fallen Black Poplar taken from the park, and appears to levitate within the River, changing direction in response to the wind or current.
This installation was commissioned as part of the Secret Garden Project and has been funded and developed in partnership with Lewisham Council
Robert Sheppard

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Keen to take a lead role in an exciting local environmental project?

Iona Orchard nature reserve is a haven of green tranquility behind a locked gate at the south end of Ladywell Fields (i.e. in the Crofton Park area) just a stone's throw from South Circular.

Iona Orchard is a SINC - a site of interest for nature conservation - because the ancient fruit trees, alive and dead, provide home to some uncommon species of beetles. The site, which is part owned by the Council, part by L&Q Housing Association, used to be the double gardens of the pair of fine Victorian villas that face onto Ravensbourne Park Road - but now it is fenced off and secure without free public access.

The Council's Ecology Manager, in liaison with the Ladywell Fields User Group and L&Q, has drawn up a management plan for the site and for the last few years Nature's Gym and the Ladywell Fields User Group have run volunteer sessions to build a woodchip path, keep brambles and ivy at bay.

Ten fruit trees (of traditional varieties) have been planted with the help and generosity of the Urban Orchard Project and, in time, they will grow into full-sized trees - but they have to be looked after carefully to ensure they survive and thrive.

Now is the time to take this project to a new level so that the site can be declared safe for educational visits during the Summer and Autumn, so might you be able to help - either by coming along to the occasional volunteer session or by joining a 'management committee' for the site. An Interest in ecology, gardening and/or environmental volunteering would be helpful but is not essential.

Families are welcome although parents may wish to keep a close eye on younger kids, especially if and when work is being done one-site, until such time as we're fully confident the site is completely safe (i.e. free of any residual broken glass, cans etc.)

If you're interested, please email and let us know how you'd like to be involved and what sort of time commitment you might be able to make.

Robert Sheppard

Friday, 3 April 2015

AGM update

At its well-attended AGM on Tuesday 31 March, the Ladywell Fields User Group re-elected Tony Rich and Robert Sheppard to serve for another year as Chair and Secretary respectively, and was pleased to elect Caroline Cupitt as Treasurer.
Issues discussed included the adventure playground, the breach in the weir, inconsiderate (and dangerous) cycling, and the impact of the Catford Green development on the Park.  The introduction of the (this!) new Ladywell Fields website was widely welcomed.
The notes of the AGM will be posted here shortly.
The User Group will  meet next on Tuesday 30 June, when we'll start with a short walk through the Park.
Robert Sheppard