FoEP: Improving the Park for the benefit of the whole community
Achievements & Plans ....
Waste Bins: Five new waste bins were installed in Eastfield Park in Jan-uary. The exact locations of these were given in January News. While we are hoping to get more waste bins, missing or damaged dog bins will not be replaced or repaired. This is because it is now permissable to put bagged dog mess in ordinary waste bins.
Play Area: Phase 2 of the new Junior Play Area was completed during March when three more pieces of equipment were added. The FoEP will not now be creating a garden around the play area, at least not for the time being, preferring to concentrate on other improvements to the Park. Also, since the new play area includes equipment for older children, we will not be seeking additions to the equipment in the older play area though we will be asking for the equipment to be maintained in good working order.
Click on any picture for larger view with caption.
Surfaced Footpaths: Northampton Borough Council have now given the FoEP estimated costs for three of the four all-weather footpaths that we would like to see provided in the Park. The total cost of these three paths is in excess of £100,000 and we are now looking into possible funding sources. The fourth path, the boardwalk around the Lake, has not yet been costed because additional survey work is required.
Gardens: The FoEP work on two gardens within the Park. The 'Crescent Rock Garden' was a rockery during the early years of the 20th Century when the Park formed part of the grounds of Weston Favell House. However, by the time the Borough Council obtained the land for a public park in the late 1940s the rockery had been neglected. It continued to be neglected until the FoEP decided to restore it partially in 2011. Some stones were replaced, the area was weeded, compost added and various spring flowers planted including snowdrops, crocuses, dwarf daffodils, cyclamen and primroses. Work continues on the garden most years but growing conditions are far from ideal, the area being heavily shaded from sun and rain by conifers. The FoEP have removed a number of weed trees from the area, and would like to remove more, but the conifers are valuable and important features of the Park. In recent years work has commenced clearing the south side of the garden facing the open parkland and planting it mainly with daffodils.
The 'Insect-friendly Eleonore House Herbaceous Border' was begun in 2014 as a small sunflower garden created next to the fence separating the park from Eleonore House where no previous garden had existed. Each year since then the garden has been extended and improved. During 2018 the FoEP intend to designate this border as a 'Garden of Remembrance' in line with Northampton in Bloom's theme for the year, marking the 100th anniversary since the end of World War I. The Friends will be inviting local residents to remember loved ones, particularly those killed in conflict, by planting a small wooden cross bearing the name of the loved one, somewhere in the garden. Please contact us if you want to know more.
Informal (Unsurfaced) Footpaths: Numerous unsurfaced footpaths run through the wooded parts of the Park and the FoEP want to keep the most important of these open to walkers. Parts of the path that runs through Lakeview Spinney north of the football pitches had become completely overgrown with nettles and brambles. This path was opened up by volunteers from the FoEP in June and July and it is now possible to walk along the path all the way from from the Booth Lane entrance to Skiddaw Walk. The pathway through the 'Buttermere Scrub' was also cleared of obstacles and various groups of volunteers, including a group of cub scouts from Parklands, helped to put wood chippings on the muddier parts of the path that runs close to the park perimeter north of the ponds. It is our intention to tackle the paths that run through the Booth Lane Spinney early in the New Year.
Meadow Creation: The FoEP are turning a semi-circular area next to the north-facing fence separating the Park from Eleonore House into an artificial meadow. The area was sprayed with herbicide late in 2016 and sowed with meadow seeds in 2017. Because of adverse weather conditions, the project has had only moderate success so far but things should improve as the meadow matures year by year.
Elsewhere in the Park the FoEP have arranged for areas to be 'set aside' from the normal mowing regime to allow the Park's natural meadow flora to develop. Both projects are being monitored with the help of the local Wildlife Trust and detailed reports are available from the FoEP.
Litter picking and rubbish clearance: The FoEP continued to organise litter picking and rubbish clearing activities during 2017. These included the annual spring and autumn clear-ups as well as one-off activities with groups such as children from Headlands Primary School. Additionally, individual FoEP members regularly collect litter as they walk through the Park. In 2018 the FoEP will again be joining in the Great British Spring Clean on 3rd March. (The event runs from 2nd to 4th March.)
Park Events: During 2017 the FoEP continued to organise public events on the Park, including a kite flying session during 'Love Parks Week' and carol singing in the week before Christmas. For the first time since 2008 there was no 'Easter@Eastfield' event but this may be resurrected in a new format for 2018.
Scrub Clearance & Habitat Creation: The FoEP has continued to cut down undesirable self-seeded bushes and small trees from various parts of the Park. We are particularly keen to remove all the low woody vegetation and large weeds from the 'Lake Slope' (the area between the lake and the 'Eastfield Monster' play mound). Although work on this area stopped for a while to allow us to clear pathways, it remains a high priority for 2018. The aim is that this area should contain a few large trees with a ground flora of colourful plants including spring bulbs, primroses and cyclamen. We have also continued to prune larger trees especially the removal of epicormic growth from trees in the parkland (particularly the lime trees in the Bullring). The FoEP never export green waste from the Park. Instead it is either composted for use on the gardens we are creating or else used to create habitats for wildlife such as hedgehogs.
Achievements & Plans cont. ....
Research: The FoEP continue to carry out research regarding the history and wildlife of the Park although this often takes a lower priority than our other activities. The results of our research are often described on this website or written in articles published in local magazines. A recent example is the article on prize fighting in the Bullring published in all five Northampton Magazines (https://northamptonmagazines.com/).
Clearing pathways in Juy.
Planting trees in October.