Saturday, November 29, 2014

Nature News and Edible Redbridge

The Redbridge Nature Conservation Team are very pleased (and so is Barkingside 21) to announce that they've secured funding for several projects around the borough, which will be starting in the New Year. Please see below for details:

1) Happy Valley Enhancement Project
We’ll be transforming the southern end of Happy Valley, an area of woodland scrub, which sits between Seven Kings Park and Goodmayes Hospital. Planned works include the removal of old concrete and barbed wire fencing, re-landscaping to open up access to Seven Kings Water and improve sight lines, in-river enhancement works, the creation of a new wildflower meadow and a new community orchard. The works will make the area much more appealing to walkers and cyclists, whilst also significantly improving the space for wildlife.

2) Redbridge’s Edible Networks
The aim of this project is to give residents the opportunity to freely harvest locally grown fruit and nuts and buy locally produced honey. It builds on the work we've done in the borough over the last few years restoring and expanding the orchard at Claybury Park, as well as planting fruiting and foraging copses in Goodmayes Park, Ray Park and Broadmead Recreation Ground. The three elements to this latest project are:
  • Honey Production at Ray Park We will be storing bee hives within the walled garden at Ray Park. Funding we’ve received will pay for maintenance of the hives and 3 wildflower meadows within the park, which will provide the honeybees with plenty of nectar. 50% of the honey produced in the hives will be sold to members of the public from the James Leal Centre café.
Existing hives at Redbridge lakes
  • Edible Tree Trail at Loxford Park We will plant an “edible tree” trail of 30 large trees along the eastern boundary of Loxford Park. All the trees will produce edible fruits or nuts or leaves and park users will be encouraged to pick their own through on-site interpretation. We will also be working with local primary schools to carry out the project, creating an education pack for them to use when teaching students about where our food comes from.
  • Hainault Lodge Local Nature Reserve Orchard Restoration We’ll be restoring a much neglected orchard over at Redbridge’s only local nature reserve. Working with experts from the Urban Orchard Project, we’ll be re-discovering some lost trees (including some enormous pear trees), carrying out restorative pruning and planting some new varieties.

3) South Park Lake Enhancement
This project will add to the works already undertaken by amphibian and reptile charity Froglife, who have installed an aquatic curtain within the lake at South Park to create a pond sub-habitat. The additional funding we’ve received will go towards working with the South Park Users Group to build habitat rafts, made of pre-planted coir mats, and to buy submerged and floating aquatic plants. The combination of the aquatic curtain and the addition of vegetation should allow invertebrates to flourish (as a similar project in the Norfolk Broads has proved), which will enable the South Park Users Group to run successful pond dipping sessions with local primary schools.

Volunteers Needed!
Many of the above projects would not be possible without the help of our wonderful volunteers. We’re always looking for new recruits to our very friendly group. If you have some spare time on your hands and would be interested in helping us out, please get in touch via the details below. In particular we are looking for community orchard leaders so if you live near Seven Kings Park/Happy Valley or Hainault Lodge Local Nature Reserve and are interested in helping to maintain fruit trees, please get in touch. There’s no minimum commitment and we can arrange free training from orchard tree experts.

Nature Conservation Ranger Team
Vision Redbridge Culture & Leisure (VRCL)
In partnership with London Borough of Redbridge
Nature Conservation Ranger Team
James Leal Centre, Ray Park
Snakes Lane East
Woodford Green, Essex IG8 7JQ
Tel: 020 8559 2316


  1. It's so refreshing to read something like this and to get away from civil strife, commerce and politics ( although I believe nuts were mentioned). A wonderful dedicated team working hard to save what's left of our countryside is much more satisfactory to hear about than,say, the petty machinations of local government. Brilliant!

  2. As one of the regular volunteers with the Conservation Team I can thoroughly recommended the activities that are provided. You get a free workout in the fresh air, good company, and a sense of satisfaction of a job well done plus training and free tea and coffee! What could be better!
    Chris Gannaway

  3. This is really good news from so many aspects; enhanced access to improved natural areas; orchard restoration work; honey production and wildflower meadows; increasing bio-diversity & more work for volunteers to become involved in. We should, however, recognise that this is a political decision and reflects the underlying philosophy of the new labour controlled council. Keep up the good work.

    1. Looking forward to all the biscuit trees they will be planting on the edible trail ...

  4. Did the HappyValley project ever happen? I was there today...