FoEP: Improving the Park for the benefit of the whole community
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The new Heritage Board in Eastfield Park was installed on the morning of Sunday 27th October. During the afternoon of the same day it was dedicated to the memory of Bernard Kelly (1930-2019) a founder member of the FoEP. It was then unveiled by Richard and Susan, Bernard's son and daughter. The new board has an anti-graffiti covering so we hope it will be spared the damage done to the earlier temporary 'mock-up' of the new board.
Fourteen adults and a child took part in the FoEP's Autumn Tidy-up of the Park on 5th October. The group put in more than 28 hours of community effort collecting over 20 sacks of litter plus an assortment of other rubbish including a golf club, two garden umbrellas, a wooden pallet, a bike frame and one bicycle wheel, a full set of sofa cushions, an office chair, a motorcycle luggage box, wire mesh, buckets, recycling boxes and the inevitable shopping trolley! We give a big 'thank you' to everybody involved. The rubbish was collected by Veolia the following Monday.
On 3rd October a group of volunteers from Mars-Wrigley carried out some important tasks in Eastfield Park. The first task was to rake up grass cuttings from the main set-aside area. The grass is mowed by idverde as part of the environmental contract with NBC but this does not include removing the cuttings. The cuttings were removed by the volunteers to prevent them from decomposing on the set-aside area and adding nutrients to the soil. The nutrients would favour the growth of grass whereas the wildflowers compete best under low nutrient conditions. The second task was to remove as much of the low woody vegetation (bushes and self-seeded 'weed trees') from the lake embankment as possible. This is being done to improve the visibility of Mallard Walk as it passes by the Lake and, hopefully, to reduce antisocial activity in this area. Two cage loads of green waste were removed from the Park. The FoEP wish to thank the volunteers for all their hard work.
Some time ago, the FoEP requested the Borough Council to repair the badly eroded and dangerous stretch of lake embankment where Mallard walk passes close to the water. As a short-term measure, the Council erected a wooden fence along the dangerous stretch. The FoEP are concerned that the fence is not strong enough to resist vandalism and one timber strip has already been pulled away from the fence and replaced by the Council. We will continue to press for both the bank and the footpath to be repaired.
Our 'Conservation Morning' on 26th October had to be cancelled because of heavy rain. However, we continue to carry out conservation and maintenance work in the park on an ad hoc basis.
The pines in Lakeview Spinney are coming to the end of their lives and the we have permission to plant broad-leaved native trees to gradually replace them. As we do not have permission to cut down trees, we can only plant where there are sufficient gaps among existing trees. During the month, one of our members planted two oak whips in the spinney. They will need some care and attention from the FoEP as they have to compete with the trees and other plants already there, but they will be less susceptible to damage (from wind and people) than trees planted in the open parkland. (We hope that idverde will soon start planting larger saplings in the parkland zone.)
Other work in October included hedge cutting, adding wood chippings to paths, planting the top of the ha-ha and clearing Chicory from the planted meadow ready for mowing.
The FoEP received a 'Gold' award in this year's Northampton in Bloom presentations at the Guildhall on 3rd October. However, we were even more delighted to achieve a Level 5 'Outstanding' verdict in the Royal Horticultural Society's 'It's Your Neighbourhood'. This is the second year that we have been awarded 'Gold' but the first time that our efforts have been regarded as 'Outstanding' by the RHS (it has usually been Level 4 - 'Thriving').