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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. 

BGBW survey results for Hilly Fields

The bird champions set off for this years RSPB annual survey in a torrential down pour, but it seems that is a plus when it comes to spotting gulls. Full update can be found on the bird champion blogspot. http://hillyfields.blogspot.com/

Birds of Hilly Fields

The RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch is going ahead between 29-31 of January (see info here). To take part, you have to register on their website, we have set up a bespoke sheet for the park. This year people are being encouraged to do it from home because of Covid-19. We have contacted them however and they will still accept results from parks. So if you want to combine an exercise walk with a bit of birdwatching whilst following the lockdown rules, then Hilly Fields awaits you!

Normally, the Friends run a bird watching event in the park to run alongside the BGB, but we cannot do that this year. However, as luck would have it you could use our handy  ‘Birds of Hilly Fields’. This is a new 32 page booklet produced by the Friends of Hilly Fields. Based on regular surveys since 2007, it includes a list and ‘pen portraits’ of all 51 species recorded during that time, as well as selected photographs, habitat description and advice on learning more about birds and helping them to flourish. As we cannot be there in person to sell it, it can be purchased online for £3.50 or with a bundle including booklet, bag and postcards for £10.

booklet and bag sales

bespoke for Hilly Fields.
Hilly Fields Bird Watch Sheet

Bunting project

First free workshop this Saturday, 5th September, 11-3pm. You’ll find them near the café at the top of the hill.

Bags at Magi Gifts

You can now help support our work by purchasing one of our hand screen printed tote bags. Magi Gifts on Brockley Road has a small selection on sale for £6 each. Many thanks to Magi for taking the trouble to display and sell.

Tote Bags £6 each on sale at Magi Gifts, Brockley Road

Tree saplings update

We’ve had huge support for our new tree plantings during lockdown: lots of thanks and praise and even better still, new volunteers are adopting and watering them. Deep watering is one of the keys to healthy future survival as it encourages roots to grow downwards where they are best placed to find water in future droughts.

We are working on our autumn volunteering programme now and will update when ready.

tie a scarlet ribbon..
adopt a tree sapling
early morning waterers

April update

We managed to complete most of our new planting of tree saplings and perennial hedgerow plugs. As we can no longer organise our sociable volunteering sessions we are just sticking to incorporating tending to our park during our daily exercise.

If you are local and fancy helping, you can bring water from home (we can’t really use the park taps either) in plastic milk bottles (other containers can be used!) and choose a lonely plant to water. Probably most in need are the larger new shrubs interspersed along the boundary from the top of Vicars Hill to the Bothy. Don’t be tempted to share the water…one good dousing of 5L plus is best or none at all! THANKS IF YOU CAN MANAGE THIS.


Ongoing maintenance events

As spring is upon us and we have some tasks that need completing promptly: we have been having well spaced maintenance events! Thanks to everyone who came to help this weekend. We will continue to weed the new tree planting, mulch and plant the newly layered hedge. We have more plants on order for the Vicars Hill entrance and Cliffview boundary. These include hedgerow perennials and hedging plants.

Big Bird Watch

Winter morning

Following receipt of a tree plan from the council we went on a walk around the park, to check the impact of the proposed tree planting. Four of the new trees are proposed along the path that runs along the south meadow.

Looking towards the south meadow.
Looking towards music block at Prendergast School
Within the Friends’ tree strategy we hope to create a ‘ride’ and infil the trees either side. Maybe we could start planting bulbs along the edges?