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Midsummer Fayre – from midday Saturday 25th June, 2022

The fayre is run by the Brockley Society, if you wish to have a stall, you need to contact them on on the link below.

The Friends will have their regular stalls, a chance to come say hello, see our plans for future years, come with your ideas, sign up to our volunteer list and try your hand at the annual quiz.

If you don’t have time to volunteer, you can support the work in the park by purchasing our bags, cards and postcards.

Stories and Sea Shanties: this coming Thursday, 23rd June, 2022

Dawn Chorus Walk

We will be holding our first dawn chorus walk since 2019 on Thursday 31 March. Meet outside the cafe at 6 am. If you have binoculars, please bring them. We’ll do a circuit of Hilly Fields and and identify common bird songs and calls such as those of the blackbird, robin and wren, as well as the song and mistle thrush and the migrant warblers blackcap and chiffchaff if they happen to be vocal. If we’re lucky, we might hear a great spotted woodpecker drumming or a nuthatch calling. We’ll point out as many birds as we can whether they’re singing or not!

In past years, we’ve been able to extend the walk to include the Brockley and Ladywell cemeteries. With council permission, a member of the Friends Group would admit us at 7am via a gate on Brockley Grove. That seems unlikely to happen this year as the gate was blocked with an earth bank during lockdown and that is still in place. The walk will finish therefore by 7am. If by any chance, we can gain access to the cemeteries, finishing time will be 7.45 approx. People can drop out at any time though if work calls.

We will have a few copies of our Birds of Hilly Fields booklet for sale if anyone has not yet bought a copy. These are £3.50 and all profits go to the Friends of Hilly Fields.


Big Garden Bird Watch 2022

bird watch details


Hilly Fields Quiz 2021

As usual, the Friends of Hilly Fields produced a Hilly Fields Quiz for the BrocSoc Midsummer Fayre on Saturday. And as usual there were ten tough(ish) questions. Nobody got all the questions right but three people got 9 out of 10 right and will share the prize vouchers for the Hilly Fields Cafe.
We thank everyone who showed the have-a-go spirit in tackling the quiz. It’s actually an opportunity to learn stuff about our local park and its connections as well as to show off (or not) your existing knowledge.
If anyone didn’t get round to it on Saturday, here’s your chance to try the quiz now. The questions are below as set out on Saturday. Try to do it without scrolling down to the answers at the bottom of this post and without recourse to your smartphone.


1. The Hilly Fields stone circle has two tall stones of Caithness slate to the east of the main circle which act as ‘gates’. After which saint are they named ?

(a) St Englebert; (b) St Herbert; (c) St Norbert; (d) St Wilbert.

2. Hilly Fields has a basketball court alongside the tennis courts. In which country did the game originate?

(a) Canada; (b) England; (c) Mexico; (d) North America.

3. The Hilly Fields cafe belongs to a chain of park cafes named after nuts. Which nuts?

(a) Peanuts; (b) Pecans; (c) Pine Nuts; (d) Pistachios.

4. There is a Brockley running club named after Hilly Fields. What is its full name?

(a) Hilly Fields Harriers; (b) Hilly Fields Hellhounds; (c) Hilly Fields Hill Runners; (d) Hilly Fields Hobblers.

5. Which well-known author lived as a child on Eastern Rd facing Hilly Fields?

(a) Emily Dickinson; (b) Blake Morrison; (c) Samuel Richardson; (d) Henry Williamson.

6. One of the suffragettes who used to address meetings on Hilly Fields was killed by the King’s horse at the 1913 Derby. What was her name?

(a) Emily Davison; (b) Emily J Harding; (c) Emmeline Pankhurst; (d) Emily Spender.

7. The Nuthatch, a small bird which nests and breeds on Hilly Fields, has a talent unique amongst British birds. What is it?

(a) It does the splits; (b) It turns somersaults; (c) It walks backwards; (d) It walks upside down.

8. The Bowls Club on Hilly Fields is named after which famous sailor and privateer?
(a) Charlie Drake; (b) Emmanuel Drake del Castillo; (c) Sir Francis Drake; (d) Ludwig von Drake.

9. The London plane is a common tree in the park. Why were so many planted in London in the nineteenth century?
(a) Queen Victoria liked them; (b) to provide timber for ship building; (c) they are easy to grow; (d) they could survive the pea souper fogs.

10. What distant chain of hills can be seen to the south of Hilly Fields?
(a) The Chilterns; (b) the High Weald; (c) the North Downs; (d) the South Downs.


  1. (c) St Norbert; 2. (d) North America; 3 (d) Pistachios; 4. (a) Hilly Fields Harriers; 5. (d) Henry Williamson, author of Tarka the Otter and many other books, some set locally; 6. (a) Emily Davison; 7. (d) The Nuthatch can walk upside down on a tree trunk (see here); 8. (c) Sir Francis Drake; 9. (d) Pea souper fogs. Bad fogs and smogs block the pores in the trunk through which trees breathe, but London Planes shed their bark so were able to survive; 10. (c) The North Downs. They’re not north of Hilly Fields but north of the South Downs which run from Eastbourne to Winchester.

The summer fair is on..17th July, 2021.

Start at 12midday and finish is at 5pm.

We are helping bring some new events for this year’s fair, but the event is organised by the Brockley Society volunteers. Should you want a stall, here it their information:


THIS IS A VOLUNTEER RUN EVENT, if you want to help out with this community event, you can contact


Friends of Hilly Fields stall at a previous midsummer fayre

Wild Flower Hunt

Nature and our mental healthhttps://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week?fbclid=IwAR16cGn5KzWXqapwBj0zXXbZMYeUCbfhakLiqfPqovcHoitgnig_8M9V5Ng


“Nature is so central to our psychological and emotional health, that it’s almost impossible to realise good mental health for all without a greater connection to the natural world”.  Perhaps on your healthy walk you’d like to try out our plant hunt. It was prepared in a year when the mowers were less keen, so apologies if you have a long search.

Blue bells in flower on the lane

Following extensive work clearing the encroaching brambles we are being rewarded with the view of the bluebells. The existing seed bank is also getting a chance to flower along with the more recently added primroses. We are hoping to see invertebrates thrive along with foraging birds. Listen out for the black cap, they nest locally in the thicket of adjacent brambles.

Work to the Lane


The mature hawthorns along this lane are probably the oldest trees in the park. Mentioned in the Edwardian tales of “Young Philip Madison” by local author Henry Williamson

‘Away [from the crest] in the distance, under much-climbed thorn trees, played the hatless children.’

We have dug out a width of the brambles and planted new hawthorn trees and sown hedgerow seeds, comprising of: garlic mustard, hedge cranesbill, hedge woundwort, pink musk mallow, sweet cicely, sweet violet, tufted vetch and white campion.

We have built new stag beetle loggeries. Stag beetles are Britain’s largest native terrestrial beetle and nationally are endangered, so we are lucky to have a healthy population in SE London, but they don’t travel far so it’s important to make sure they have lots of suitable habitats.

The self sown ash is competing for sunlight and hence is growing very tall and spindly. Some has been laid and we have inter-planted with native hawthorns, hazels and wild crab apple. The ash tree is under threat from ash die back, so if our ash should succumb, we will have a diverse range of established plants to take its place. We are also giving space for a few selected ash to fulfil their growth potential.

The introduction of different species will support more insects and supply pollen and a variety of berries over a long period.