July saw the Friends mount their first events since the May 12th launch. We wanted our inaugural venture on the Common to have a ‘green’ theme (though the heat wave and parched grass told a different story) but also celebrate what the Common has to offer in the way of light touch activities.
So we timed it to overlap with both Love Parks and London National Park City weeks. We began quietly, with a family ‘quiz trail’ round the Common, a primer for a bigger event in September. Then what proved to be a highlight – a tree walk led by Peter Fiennes, looking at some of the Common’s oldest trees and recalling the folklore of trees and woodlands based on Peter’s book ‘Oak and Ash and Thorn’. Not surprisingly, we ended up in the wildest area of the Common – the Scope. So popular was the walk that we had to turn people away, but decided to put on a second walk, led by Richard Fox, Friends co-chair, which identified some of the ‘specimen’ trees highlighted by the tree team at Enable. We’ll be adding a tree section of the website ready for the autumn, when we hope to schedule another tree walk.
For the slightly more adventurous, Lindsay Burrows of ‘MeSpot’ gave six novices a taste of Nordic Walking. Lindsay holds regular classes on the Common and may well have found some new recruits to judge from the smiles in the photograph. Rose Harley then took people on a ramble, reminding them of when the Scope was just empty heathland, with a football pitch in the middle! We keep finding people who remember when there were rangers patrolling the Common - so-called ‘Parkies’, based in Neal’s Lodge. Those were the days! Last but not least, Billy and Tim from Bellevue Bicycle Workshop came to sort out peoples’ bicycle issues.
The climax of the day came after we’d taken down the gazebo and de-camped to the bowling green, where John Hort and Alan from the Bolingbroke Bowls Club taught us the rudiments of the game. We were very pleased to be joined by several young bystanders, who not only joined in, but wanted us to repeat the event every Sunday evening. Well there’s an idea in anticipation of the club’s centenary in 2019.
Thanks to all who helped plan the event and who helped on the day and for those of you that came along to meet us. That was one of the best parts - meeting those of you who’ve joined the Friends and those who are interested to. We found the same interest and enthusiasm the previous weekend when we took part in the very successful Northcote Road Summer Fete.
We plan a similar dual event in September, with family fun and games on the 9th and a stall at Bellevue Road Fair on the 16th. Get involved in the community who love the Common by helping with the organisation or helping on the day. Many hands make light work.