Friends of Burgess Park

Find out more about events in Burgess Park.

Wild Burgess: birds, butterflies, moths and crows

Photo of pale blue butterflyFind out about the latest wildlife sightings in Burgess Park. Ornithologist Dave Clark is thrilled to find more Burgess birds than 10 years ago.  Guest blogger Simon Savile of the Butterfly Conservation organisation tells us where to look for butterflies and moths in Burgess Park. Regular FOBP blogger Jenny Morgan urges us to appreciate crows and the more subtle changes in the park.

Poster for 6 June 2019 3:30 pm lake activities

From Africa to the Old Kent Road: Bird species in Burgess Park
Wednesday 19 June 2019, 9 am – 10.30 am
meet at Chumleigh Gardens

Dave Clark, ornithologist, will lead the circular walk (approx 1.3 hrs) finishing at Chumleigh Gardens café for further informal discussion. FREE – Donations to FOBP welcome. Read Dave Clark’s blog

Read about Burgess Park in the Camberwell Quarterly

sample CQ pageFOBP members toured the park with Marie Staunton CBE who wrote the article. Thank you to the editor of the Camberwell Quarterly, Margaret Powley-Baker for letting us include a copy here – From dawn to dusk – Something’s going on in Burgess Park.

It gives a tremendous picture of the park from the Community Garden at one end to the tennis courts at the other celebrating the wide range of activities in-between – rugby, BMX, children’s nurseries, play groups, art clubs, theatre groups to name a few. It is all enabled by park workers and many dedicated volunteers.

2019 Development planning

Southwark Council is holding the next Old Kent Road Forum on open space on Saturday 19 January 2019 from 11am to 1pm at Christ Church Peckham, 676-680 Old Kent Road, SE15 1JF

Sports Hub consultation
20 November 2018

Help shape the future of Burgess Park – Southwark Council wants your views on the sports centre hub. Come along to the drop-in session (20 November) between 4–7pm at the Burgess Park Sports Centre SE5, or have your say online.

Report wildlife sightings

screen grab of the wildlife report pageLondon is home to a diverse range of animals, including everything from bats to reptiles, and Southwark Council is trying to find out which species can be found where in Southwark.

On the Council website you can click on an interactive map, zoom to the location of your sighting and an email link will appear on the left. Enter your email address and click send.

Your records will help the Council to manage wildlife in Southwark and gain a better understanding of what lives where.

Sightings will be collected and shared with the London Biological Records Centre, Greenspace Information for Greater London (GiGL).

Peckham BMX club in Burgess Park

CK Flash with brothers Tre and Kye Whyte were interviewed by the BBC about the value and benefits of the BMX club. See the BBC video shot at the track in Burgess Park. The brothers are both in the British Cycling Academy and Kye just won silver at the 2018 European Championships.

New art installation “Silent Raid” opening events

Photo of three houses with posterWednesday, 17 October
The new art work by Sally Hogarth commemorates the Zeppelin raid on Calmington Road (now part of Burgess Park) in 1917 with ten houses representing each of the people killed in the attack. Read Sally Hogarth’s blog on creating the sculptures.

The launch will be exactly 101 years after the attack and is part of the Zeppelin 1917 programme of events in Burgess Park about the First World War.

Location map of the sculptures and more information.

Supported by Southwark Council, the Friends of Burgess Park and Theatre Deli.
Photos of the sculptures by Alexander Christie   Instagram   Twitter

Friends of Burgess Park win Mary Boast History Prize

We had great news on 30th September 2018! The Mary Boast Prize, which is organised by the Camberwell Society, has been won by an essay from some of the Friends of Burgess Park ‘Zeppelin 1917’ team. A big thank you to all the volunteer authors including the essay editing team of Judith Barratt, Joan Ashworth and Susan Crisp. Find out more here.

First World War Victoria Cross commemorative stone unveiling

Monday 3 September 2018, 11am, Old Kent Road entrance, Burgess Park

In September 1918 local hero Jack Harvey was awarded a Victoria Cross for bravery. One hundred years on a commemorative paving stone will be unveiled with a civic service led by the Mayor, Councillor Catherine Rose, with the Army in attendance. All welcome.

Jack Harvey, was born at 2 Canal Grove (just off Old Kent Road) in the old borough of Camberwell. This is why the site chosen for the commemorative paving will be the Old Kent Road main entrance to Burgess Park.

The Victoria Cross commemorative paving stones programme is a national scheme that will see all 627 VC recipient of the First World War commemorated. More information.

More development plans around the park:

  1. Southwark Council is holding the next Old Kent Road Forum  on Saturday 20 October from 11am to 1pm at Christ Church Peckham, 676-680 Old Kent Road, SE15 1JF
    The theme for this forum will be Transport with ward councillors – Evelyn Akoto, Michael Situ and Richard Livingstone and Johnson Situ (Cabinet Member for Growth, Development and Planning). Find out more about the development schemes in Old Kent Road.
  2. Burgess Business Park/Camberwell Union Update Peachtree (the developers) have amended their proposals following community objections and discussions with Southwark Council Planning. The revised planning application is open for comments.  The key documents showing the changes and draft FOBP response here. To put in your comments go to the planning application 17/AP/4797  by 21 October. More information
  3. 37-39 Parkhouse Street (Hunnex site) is a proposed mixed use scheme of commercial rented accommodation including on-site 50% affordable housing.  This substantial site backs onto Burgess Park.
  4. Old Kent Road redevelopment continues with plans for the ARGOS and DFS site opposite Burgess Park OKR entrance. Details of proposals include a hotel, cinema commercial, tall private block and rented housing. Comments wanted by the end of July for a planning application in the autumn.

Zeppelin – the podcast

Graphic of Zeppelin over cityWe are pleased to announce the publication of the latest edition of the Bridge to Nowhere podcast!

This episode is an audio adaptation of the Animated Walk from the Friends’ Zeppelin 1917 season which ran throughout October 2017. It tells the story of the Zeppelin Raid on Camberwell, in the industrial and residential area that existed before the creation of the park itself, and puts the tragic events of that night into the context of local life at that time.

And if you subscribe (it’s free), you will also receive future episodes automatically, as soon as they are released.

photo of fish just caught in the lakeWild Burgess at the Fishing Lake

What is going on above and below the lake? Find out more about the plants, insects, birds and fish.

Photo of Lime blossomWild Burgess in May

Any day now, the Lime trees (Common Lime or Linden, Tilia Europea) will come into bloom. They perfume the air with one of the most delightful scents of summer. Walk along the main avenue by the tennis courts … Read more about the flowers, the butterflies and bogs of Burgess.

Parent Egyptian goose with chicksBurgess goes wild about waterfowl

Despite the terrible weather (28 April 2018) the Friends of Burgess Park were out at the lake finding out how much people knew about the birds on the lake; their names; what they eat and the problems of feeding bread to the ducks. Read about the birds we saw and counted and what we should be feeding them.

The identification session was part of the international City Nature Challenge with 70 cities  competing to see who could make the most observations of nature, find the most species, and engage the most people in the worldwide 2018 City Nature Challenge.

Unleash your wild side

Find out more about the wildlife in Burgess Park over the next few months.

All through June we are doing #30DaysWild #wildaboutburgess part of the London Wildlife campaign. The perfect excuse to share your favourite photos @BurgessPk.

Saturday 21 July – 4.30 to 6pm Pond-dipping by the lake. Part of London’s National Park City Week.

 

Photo of Albany Road and Wells WayGoing wild

Find out what to look for as spring comes to Burgess Park – the sights, sounds and scents.

 

Community Hustings on planning and regeneration

Monday 22nd October 2018 7-9pm
Assemble from 6.45pm at St Philips Church Hall, Avondale Square, SE1 5PD, near Asda on Old Kent Rd.
Help to improve existing neighbourhoods and existing communities’ health and wellbeing.
* Cllr Rebecca Lury, Council deputy leader and Cabinet member for
Culture, Leisure, Equalities and Communities
* Cllr Johnson Situ, Cabinet Member for Growth, Development and Planning
* Professor Kevin Fenton, Strategic Director of Place and Wellbeing, the
Chief Officer for the new Council department, which has brought together
planning, regeneration, public health and community engagement.
Please register through eventbrite here: https://bit.ly/2KYEA1M
Organised by the Southwark Planning Network (SPN)

Park developmentsBurgess Park developments map

Find out more about developments planned in and around Burgess Park

 

 

Burgess Park South

Burgess Park South map

Southwark Council are looking at ways to improve the streets south of Burgess Park, with a view to making the area safer and healthier for all road users.

Workshops to help Southwark design the future look and feel of these streets.

  • Session 1: Tuesday 30 January 6pm
  • Session 2: Tuesday 13 February from 3pm
  • Session 3: Wednesday 21 March from 5.30pm to 8pm

At St Luke’s Church Peckham, Chandler Way, Peckham, London, SE15 6LU.

First session: for residents and road users to tell us what the issues are in these streets.

Second session: Walking tour of the area to look at the some of the issues identified and co-design workshop where residents will work with a specialist street design team to come up with ideas for improving the roads.

Third session:  local people will have a chance to comment on the design proposals and help make further changes.

Further information, or contact highways@southwark.gov.uk, call 020 7525 2347, or write to FREEPOST RSCT-BHXK-SCAJ, Highways Division (Transport Projects) Floor 3, Hub 2, Southwark Council, PO BOX 64529, London, SE1P 5LX.

Revised plans for the Burgess Park Community Sports Centre Jan 2018New sports centre and pitches consultation

Thursday 11 January 2018, 4.00 -7.00pm
at Burgess Park Community Sports Centre, Cobourg Road, SE5 0JD

Southwark Council with match funding from Parklife Funding Partners (The FA, the Premier League and Sport England) are presenting draft design proposals for developing the community sports hub . Who will run the new facility? Will there be more fencing of sports’ fields? Will Cobourg Road and Neate Street be closed? What will the provision be for access to Cobourg School? Will there be through routes for pedestrians and cyclists? What about parking? Will  trees be cut down? Please come along and say what you think about the new plans.  Download a pdf of the latest plans. Email your comments to Southwark by 19 January 2018.

Zeppelin Memorial Artist's ImpressionWWI Centenary Memorial 

A new public art installation is being planned for Burgess Park. Ten small replica houses will be placed close to the site of the 1917 Zeppelin bomb. More details and locations are on the application for planning permission.
Friends of Burgess Park Zeppelin 1917 project.

 

Burgess Park West closures

New Church Road is being permanently closed from 4 December as part of the Burgess Park West project. Lighting on New Church Road is being switched off as well as the lighting on the pathway that leads from Albany Road to New Church Road. This is for safety reasons as Southwark do not want people to follow a lit route from Albany Road into the park since it is a dead end. Southwark urge you not to travel through the park after dark until the new lit pathway is open. The new Quietway 7 cycle pathway which will cut through the park will be built as an alternative route. It is expected to open in spring 2018.

Two sections of Burgess Park West designated on a mapThe plan shows which areas of the site Southwark intend to close and for how long. Read more about the closures here.

Trees earmarked for removal in Site A (see map) will be felled in the week starting February 5th.

This is the latest stage in the implementation of the Burgess Park Masterplan. More information on the project can be found here: www.southwark.gov.uk/burgessparkwest or contact John Wade (020 7525 0141) or Pippa Krishnan (020 7525 5133).

Consultations on the Burgess Park West new play area will take place on:

Tuesday 28 November 3.30 to 5pm Chumleigh Gardens play area, next to the Park Life café, off Albany Road. If the weather is poor the consultation will be inside the Chumleigh West building, which will be signposted from the play area.

Monday 4th December 6pm to 8pm Southwark Council’s offices 160 Tooley Street, SE1 2QH

Drop by to see the emerging design which has taken into account previous consultation results, and tell the designers your ideas and opinions.

If you cannot attend either session and are still interested in the play area design, please get in touch with Pippa Krishnan pippa.krishnan@southwark.gov.uk

Burgess Park Cafe catering arrangementsBurgess Park Café

A new catering company will be taking over Burgess Park Café.  The café will be closed on Monday and Tuesday, 30 and 31 October 2017. Southwark Council apologise for the inconvenience and thank Prestigious Catering Ltd trading as Park Life Café who will cease operations on Sunday, 29 October 2017. A Fuorvito & Sons will take over on Wednesday, 1 November 2017.

Friends of Burgess Park Meetings

First Tuesday of each month
All welcome from 7-9 pm
Burgess Park Community Sports Centre, 106 Cobourg Road, SE5 0JV.

Bridge to Nowhere history project 

The Bridge to Nowhere heritage project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund involved loads of people to learn more about the history and heritage of Burgess Park. The project included the Wells Way underpass artwork – a reminder of the main feature of the area which lead to the creation of the park – the Grand Surrey Canal. And we have launched the new Burgess Park Heritage Trail. Look out for the blue plaques around the park.

Find out more about the history of the park and
download your own map 

Bridge to Nowhere - long logo

Burgess Business Park development

Diving into the details

Burgess Business Park planning inquiry appeal #BBPInquiry

By Susan Crisp, FOBP Committee

I’m in at the deep end of the planning world. Over the last five months I’ve been preparing evidence and fundraising so that local groups can be represented at a planning appeal inquiry for a new development.  There are a multitude of community concerns about the large-scale mixed-use scheme on the Burgess Business Park industrial land. For me the specific issues are the impact on the local park and the wider scene setting for future development (emerging context).

Burgess Business Park development
Burgess Business Park development

Community groups can be given permission to join the planning appeal and take part in the presentation of evidence and questioning of witnesses.  Formally known as a “Rule 6 party” we are imaginatively called “The Local Group”.  The six groups involved represent the local park, residents, campaigns on affordable housing and loss of industrial space.

To prepare for the appeal inquiry we’ve had fantastic support from Southwark Law Centre. They’ve been on top of the vast number of reports produced by the appellant (the developer) and the council (defending their decision to refuse planning permission).  The Local Group has also had to provide evidence for the issues we want to be discussed covering industrial land, design, density, height and transport. Local people have provided a lot of useful information to help make our case.

I have written an “environmental proof” as a formal paper for the appeal, setting out environment related planning policy and relating this to my local knowledge about the park and my opinion on the impact of the scheme. It has been incredibly empowering to realise that as a local person with knowledge about the area I am in a position to provide both factual information and opinion about the impact of the development.

The Local Group raised over £5.5k to pay for a barrister and expert witness costs. We used a crowdfunding approach with CrowdJustice, who specialise in raising funding for legal cases. Our fundraising campaign launched in June. Six groups working together was very effective; each group used their own networks to raise awareness and ask for donations. Some of the local community groups were able to make large donations and we reached our first mission critical goal of £2.5k in a month.

This planning appeal inquiry runs for at least seven days. This is detailed behind the scenes look at the planning system in action, covering both planning policy and the specific merits of the scheme.

After a few sessions I’ve seen how the specific wording of a planning policy influences the development proposals. Balance has been a key factor so far — meaning balancing the demands of different planning policy objectives across the scheme as well as balancing the merits of the scheme details and identifying where it falls short not meet planning policy. In other words, there is always an exception to the rule; but deciding when this can happen seems to me to be very subjective. It is down to professional opinion and judgement as to what is the right balance for the scheme.

At one point the council planning officer was asked about the new local plan and the impact of consultation responses on a specific policy. It was very powerful to hear the planning inspector ask that question and see the importance of responding to local consultation since most of the time the process of influence is invisible.

More expert witnesses will be called as the inquiry progresses, including experts for The Local Group on transport, daylight/sunlight impact on local neighbours, and townscape and character. It must take nerves of steel to be an expert witness; it’s a formal process of presenting evidence with tough questions and then cross-examination on written statements and professional opinion. There is quite a bit of point scoring from what I’ve seen so far. Inevitably the main point is to demolish the other side’s position. However, even bearing this in mind, the inquiry is really getting into a lot of detail covering the issues identified as most important or most contentious. It is far more detailed than any planning committee discussion or council officer’s report.

Inquiry Day 1 with our legal team
Inquiry Day 1 with our legal team

The appeal inquiry is open to the public, it’s taking place at 160 Tooley Street SE1, starting at 9.30am running to Friday 30 August. Anyone can come along.

The six groups are:

  • Friends of Burgess Park
  • Wells Way Triangle TRA
  • Brunswick Park RA
  • Camberwell Society
  • Vital Old Kent Road
  • 35 Percent

 

Photo of bird with open beak

Burgess goes wild: Sparrows, Starlings, Whitethroats, Warblers

From Africa to the Old Kent Road

by Dave Clark, Ornithologist

10 years ago I did some bird surveying for the council at Burgess Park and last week I had a revisit. Wow I was impressed! Blown away by the positive changes that have occurred in the interim. 

photo of plants
Burgess Park meadow

Wildflower and meadow areas buzzing and singing with life, amenity grassland merging seamlessy into nature friendly areas. People working out with butterflies dancing around their feet.  No inaptly named so-called ‘eco-zones’, just a park working with nature.  All this in an urban area close to the centre of London.

The beloved Cockney House Sparrow which has lost 60% of its urban population since the 1970s is thriving here, not just picking up scraps from around the cafe but flitting amongst the meadowlands for live food for their hungry chicks.  

photo of bird on a branch
Whitethroat

I found at least 30 (last time just a pair) and to put this into some kind of context there are no Sparrows in Peckham Rye Park nor Dulwich Park.  Similarly the Starling population, compared to  other local urban spaces, is abundant. This lovable roguish street urchin of a bird, once so common it was deemed a pest, has suffered 66% losses since the mid-70s and is now a red-listed species, i.e. a species of highest conservation concern.

What was really exciting was finding seven different breeding territories of birds that had flown all the way from Africa. Five male Whitethroats busily displaying amongst the meadows and two Reed Warblers, guess where – in the reeds surrounding the lake. Both of these species travel from the Sahel, a region between the Sahara desert and the Savanna, to breed here in the UK. To find them so close to the centre of London is uncommon and a pleasure. The scratching sound of the Whitethroat and the gurgle of the Reed Warbler is deeply resonant of the exoticism of a faraway continent. Their joyous life affirming songs showing that nature can survive despite what obstacles we throw at it.

photo of bird on a reed
Reed Warbler

Well done, you should be proud. Burgess Park is an example of what can be achieved in an urban inner city area when ecological concerns are placed at the forefront of the agenda and not left at the bottom of the priority pile. Nature does not pick nature reserves. Nature is all around and can flourish with some care and attention. Praise should be given to Greg and his gardening team for being a large part of this environmental success despite having only limited resources and despite having to battle the conflicting interests that public parks bring.

So is this just a nature lover banging on …

Er … nope … the maintenance and improvement of the health of urban green spaces is paramount for all of us not just nature. 80% of us live in cities for a start and we also know that access and proximity to nature is beneficial to our physical and mental well being, reduces stress and reduces crime. By making nature more visible and audible the easier it becomes for people to engage with it.  Engagement with nature not only brings joy but also increases our care for our environment.

We can deny nature but we can’t get away from it, it’s the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink. It’s incumbent on all of us to maintain its health.

Well done again!

 

Photo of orange butterfly with spots

Burgess goes wild: Butterflies & Moths

Nature under our noses in Burgess Park

by Simon Saville
Chair of the Surrey & SW London Branch of Butterfly Conservation

I suppose that most people don’t think of butterflies when they think of Burgess Park. But they should! Already this year (by late March) I have seen a Small Tortoiseshell, a Small  White, a couple of Commas and a couple of Brimstones.

Over the past few years, I have spotted no fewer than 16 different types of butterfly in the park. On one spectacular sunny July day, I saw more than 160 butterflies of 10 different species, plus a couple of day-flying moths.

Burgess Park has been managed quite sensitively for wildlife, and there are lots of good places for butterflies. Some of them are shown in this map:

Map of Burgess Park showing where butterfly species have been seen

1 – Elm trees, supporting some very elusive White-letter Hairstreaks
2 – Nature area, being redeveloped. This could become a nature hotspot in a few years’ time
3 – The big mounds, home to the Common Blue butterfly
4 – By St. George’s Way
5 – Grassy area with brambles
6 – South-facing slope
7 – Wooded area north of the lake
8 – Grassy area by the lake
9 – Grassy area and hedges between Waite St and Oakley Place
10 – Glengall Wharf, start of Surrey Canal Walk

Photo of orange spotted butterfly

The Comma is a harbinger of spring, often seen in April. They spend the winter hibernating as adults and they reappear as soon as the weather warms up. This one was in the wooded area north of the lake – a favoured spot. The caterpillars used to feed on hops, but now have a taste for nettles and this has helped them increase their range and abundance in recent years. 

Photo of a orange, black and white spotted butterfly

The Small Tortoiseshell also hibernates as an adult. This one was spotted in the middle of the Park by some brambles in April. The caterpillars feed on nettles, so it’s important that we don’t tidy the nettles away! We used to see a lot more of these butterflies. Nobody really knows why they have crashed in numbers so quickly.

Photo of a dark grey butterfly with spots

A Speckled Wood in the Glengall Wharf area in April. They like the semi-wooded areas and enjoy dappled sunlight.

Photo of gold moth

A Sitochroa verticalis moth (this has no English name) on one of the big mounds in June when many of the flowers were in bloom. Also around at that time were lots of Burnet Companion and Silver-Y moths. The latter is a migrant that can appear in London in big numbers.

Photo of pale blue butterfly

One of many Common Blue butterflies seen on the big mounds in June last year. The caterpillars feed on Bird’s-foot Trefoil which is present here.

Photo of flower meadow

The big mounds are often teeming with insect life, a result of the many wild flowers present.

Photo of striped moth

The spectacular Jersey Tiger moth can be seen flying in the Park in July and August. This photo is from Kennington, about a mile away. This used to be restricted to the south coast, but is now spreading rapidly. It can be seen all over south London. Because it is colourful and flies by day, it’s often mistaken for a butterfly.Photo of trees in winter

Elm trees by New Church Road. If you are lucky, you might see pairs of male White-letter Hairstreaks spiralling in mock combat at the top of the canopy.

Butterflies seen in Burgess Park      Larval foodplant

Brimstone                                                      Buckthorn

Comma                                                           Nettle

Common Blue                                              Birdsfoot Trefoil

Gatekeeper                                                   Grasses

Green-veined White                                  Crucifers

Holly Blue                                                      Holly (spring), ivy (summer)

Large Skipper                                              Grasses

Large White                                                  Brassicas

Meadow Brown                                          Grasses

Orange-tip                                                    Garlic Mustard, crucifers

Red Admiral                                                 Nettles

Small / Essex Skipper
(not separately recorded)                      Grasses

Small Tortoiseshell                                   Nettles

Small White                                                 Brassicas, crucifers

Speckled Wood                                         Grasses

White-letter Hairstreak                          Elm

I haven’t seen any Painted Lady, Peacock or Ringlet butterflies in Burgess Park, but I would be surprised if they were not present, as they have been seen at Nunhead Cemetery (3km away). The Painted Lady, which is a migrant species, was also seen at Walworth Garden (1km away). There may be Purple Hairstreaks on the oak trees by Waite Street.

Moths present include: Jersey Tiger, Six Spot Burnet, Burnet Companion, Silver-Y and Sitochroa verticalis.

All this goes to show what a wonderful place Burgess Park is for butterflies. I know that Southwark Council are keen to make it even better.

Butterfly Conservation has started a ‘BIG City Butterflies’ project, supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. This aims to get people to engage with the green spaces near them and to discover the wildlife that’s under their noses. We’ll be using Burgess Park as one of our key sites in SW London. It’s early days, but you can read more about Big City Butterflies here. 

Graphic of a butterfly

27 March 2019

www.butterfly-conservation.org 

 

 

Lichen on a tree trunk

Burgess Goes Wild: Winter 2019

 

Crows in trees in Burgess Park
By the Bridge to Nowhere – a murder of crows

A murder of crows
Perhaps, if crows were brightly coloured, they would be loved instead of feared. Part of the Corvid family which includes magpies, ravens, jays and jackdaws they are arguably the most intelligent and fascinating of all birds. I have watched them fly off with a chicken’s egg, wash the salt off a chip in a puddle before eating it and mobbing a fox. Set aside an hour to watch this brilliant documentary which will make you view crows in a whole new light. 

Grass tussocks in Burgess ParkJust a piece of unkempt turf on the common that is providing shelter, protection and food for next summer’s butterflies, grass-hoppers and maybe the odd frog.

 

 

 

Burgess Park path 2
Inviting new pathways in the Nature Area in Burgess Park west.

Burgess Park path 3

We don’t hear so much about acid rain these days, but it’s still there, scrubbing clean the tree trunks of moss and lichen, so a treat to see this.

Photo of tree trunk
Lichen on Horse Chestnut bark near the underpass.

Not one organism, but two, a fungus and an alga that can’t live without each other. The fungus provides the structure and the algae make the sugar. There are many different species of Lichen. It’s not feeding on the tree, but is affected by the acidity of the water running off the bark . You will find Lichen on brick and stone, glass, metal ,leather surfaces too.

Lichen is used to make Litmus paper. Dies are extracted and added to filter paper so that it turns red in acid conditions and blue in alkaline. Some lichens contain Usinic acid which is anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and attacks cancer cells. Unfortunately, it also damages the liver.

Seed heads

Still some lingering seed heads from last year’s spectacular display in St George’s Gardens. Many seeds have a protective coating and won’t germinate until they have been exposed to frost. This keeps them fresh and hydrated ready to send out new roots into the warm moist spring soil.

photo of fish just caught in the lake

Burgess Goes Wild: The fishing lake

bridgenewBurgess Park fishing lake was redesigned in 2012/13 and opened to the public along with the rest of the park after five years.

Nature and caring people have made the lake as you see it today with reed beds. The very tall reed is Norfolk reed mace. The shorter reeds are Phragmites. We also have Yellow Flag Iris, Bulrush and Water Mint in places.

In 2016 we received 6 rolls of coir matting which were planted with various water plants. These you can see between the bridge and the bird sanctuary. So have fun finding out the rest of the names of the plants for yourselves.

Birds
nesting on the lake
Mute Swans

Waterfowl or birds that live on the lake are Mute Swans, three different types of goose (Canada Goose, Greylag Goose and Egyptian Goose), Coots (black body, white beak and head dress), Moorhens (brown body, red beak with yellow tip), and Tufted Ducks (males – black and white and females – brown).

Parents and babies
Egyptian Geese

Sometimes there are Common Pochard (grey body with reddish head), a pair of Great Crested Grebes (on Burgess lake in July 2018) and also the Little Grebe.

nesting on the lake
Coot

There are many other birds that visit the water to feed – Kingfisher, Grey Heron, Cormorant, Common Tern and different types of Sea Gulls.

Have a look at these pages to help you identify the waterfowl on Burgess Lake.

Underwater

There is as much that lives underwater as above. The most common plant seen is Blanket Weed, next is Najas Minor which is growing in the non-fishing side of the lake, and some patches of Silk Weed out towards the middle of the lake. The lake bed is made up of areas of mud, rubble and rubbish that have been covered in silt. In the pockets of silt can be found Bloodworm (larvae of the non-biting Midge – the little flies you see over your head sometimes) Dragonflies, Damselflies and other types of water insect, too many to list.

Friends of Burgess Park will be pond-dipping by the lake on Saturday 21 July, 4.30 to 6pm as part of London’s National Park City Week. Come and join us.

photos of fishermen with the fish they have caught
Fishermen at Burgess Park lake
 Fishing

There are many fish in the lake. Carp is the main species found, Tench is next, then Bream, Roach, Rudd, Perch, Dace and Catfish. Carp can be divided into sub species Common, Mirror, Linner, Fully scaled, Ghost and Koi.

When fishing at Burgess Park lake you must have a rod licence before you fish. You will need to purchase a day ticket from the council web site. The Environment Agency, Southwark Council officers and community wardens come around regularly to check on licences.

While fishing you will need to have a landing net 36 inches minimum and unhooking mat as there is a chance of a large carp or more.  You must fish from the swims only. Swims 1 to 6 are concrete. There is a dirt area at the side to put up a shelter and they are on the school and toilet side of the lake. Swims 7 to 10 are on the other side of the lake and are dirt covered.

If you’re lucky and catch a fish then you must return all fish back to the water. 

 

 

 

Lime tree flower closeup

Burgess Goes Wild: May 2018

Linden blossom time

Photo of Lime flowers
Lime or Linden blossom by N P holmes [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)
Any day now, the Lime trees (Common Lime or Linden, Tilia Europea) will come into bloom. They perfume the air with one of the most delightful scents of summer. Walk along the main avenue by the tennis courts, especially in the evening and enjoy. This tree wants to attract bees and moths to pollinate it, so gives off most scent in the evening. The flowers are not showy, but worth examination as they are grow directly out of a leaf-like structure; this acts like a helicopter later on in the year when it separates from the tree and floats away to spread the seeds.

Lime blossom produces lovely honey and bees also collect honey dew to add to their honey. Honey dew – that sticky stuff on car windows is what the greenfly pass, they eat enormous quantities of sap to gain small amounts of protein and excrete the surplus sap.

Many types of moth and their caterpillars also feed on the heart shaped leaves and the nectar, Lime Hawk Moth being the most spectacular. May and June are the time to find them on a warm evening.  It’s worth looking in lime trees outside the park as the park trees are kept trimmed at the base, look for a tree with arisings (Twigs growing from the base.) and you may spot a caterpillar with a spine on its tail. You may also find some strange red things on the tops of the leaves, lime nails which are produced by tiny mites.

As a child, I used to place a leaf over my pinched index finger and thumb, then pop it with the palm of my other hand – goes off like a paper bag.

Cravat carved from Lime Wood by Grinling Gibbons. © Victoria and Albert Museum
Cravat carved from Lime wood by Grinling Gibbons © Victoria and Albert Museum

Lime blossom is made into many perfumes, cosmetics and medicines. You can easily make a tea from them to treat a cold but the flowers must be freshly opened or they become narcotic. You preserve them by drying them so that they are available to use all year.

The inner bark layer is very fibrous and is used to make paper and fabric in Japan. The timber is soft and almost grainless so easy to carve. The Cravat by Grinling Gibbons will be on display at the Lost Treasures of Strawberry Hill in Twickenham, 20 October 2018 – 24 February 2019.

Butterflies and bogs

The nearby mounds are a good place to spot butterflies at this time of the year. There are several small blue butterflies which are difficult to distinguish, the one called ‘Small Blue’ has a sooty, dusty blue appearance, so I didn’t spot that one, there were either common blue or holly blue. The mounds are not mown, so the clover is able to bloom and provide food for butterflies and other pollinators.

Photo of sedge flowers
Pendulous Sedge by AnemoneProjectors [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)]
See how the vegetation changes on the mounds. At the base, the plants are bigger and you will find clumps of sedge. This plant seeds itself all over the area and tells us about the soil and terrain. It is a plant that likes poorly drained or even boggy soil and Burgess Park can get quite boggy. if it were not for the Thames Barrier, it would be subject to flooding as it is quite low lying and used to be on the banks of The Earl’s Sluice (One of London’s lost rivers). This ran from Ruskin Park to Rotherhithe cutting across a corner of the park by the junction of Albany Road with Camberwell Road. It now feeds into the sewer system, what a shame!

http://diamondgeezer.blogspot.co.uk/2010/10/earls-sluice.html

Pendulous Sedge (Carex Pendula) looks like a grass, but feel the stem. It is a most unusual triangular shape with sharp edges, almost like something engineered. Find some grass to feel the difference.

Do send in your nature observations to: friendsofburgesspark@gmail.com

photo of Egyptian goose and gosling

Burgess Goes Wild: Learning about Waterfowl

On a drizzly Saturday morning in April, Burgess Park was bright green with new growth on trees and shrubs. Despite the terrible weather the Friends of Burgess Park were finding out how much people knew about the birds on the lake; their names; what they eat and the problems of feeding bread to the ducks.

Most people could name a few of the species we have on the lake  but did not know that feeding bread is bad for the birds’ health, pollutes the water and encourages rats.

We tested out lettuce as one of the alternatives to bread. At first the geese and coots ignored it but after a while and a few pecks the Hooper geese ate lots. They like small pieces of lettuce and the smaller birds like it quite finely shredded.  Some were eating out of one of our volunteers Tom’s hands.

Regular dog walkers told Susan about the lone pair of swans who for the last three years have laid a clutch of eggs, but none have hatched. This year there are five pale blue eggs in their next, so we will have to wait a few weeks to see what happens this year. Fingers crossed there will be some baby cygnets wandering around soon!

Park users made a number of suggestions about what they would like to see:

  • Signage explaining about the wildlife on the lake
  • Temporary signs when food like rice is left for the birds
  • Some system for swapping bread for alternative bird food

As well as educating people about what should and shouldn’t be fed to birds, we also undertook a waterfowl bird count. Despite the awful weather, there were still a lot of birds. Here’s what we saw:

2 Carrion crows

4 Coots

4 Canadian geese

5 Mallards

6 Moorhens

17 Egyptian geese

3 Greylag geese

17 Swifts

6 Tufted ducks

2 Starlings

3 Green parakeets

2 Swans

1 Carp

1 Herring gull

Download the WATERFOWL ID sheet

This was the first of several events we have planned under the theme of ‘Burgess Goes Wild.’ Check out the events page for more information.

 

Maker:S,Date:2017-9-25,Ver:6,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar02,E-Y
Coot makes an ingenious nest

 

Maker:S,Date:2017-9-25,Ver:6,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar02,E-Y
Nesting Swans

Egyptian Geese
Egyptian Goose Family

 

Photo of Albany Road and Wells Way

Burgess Goes Wild: March 2018

Unleash your wild side

Find out more about the wildlife in Burgess Park over the next few months.

Saturday 28 April  Find out more about the bird spotting by the lake

All through June we doing #30DaysWild #wildaboutburgess part of the London Wildlife campaign. The perfect excuse to share your favourite photos @BurgessPk.

Saturday 21 July – 4.30 to 6pm Pond-dipping by the lake. Part of London’s National Park City Week.

Chumleigh Gardens

Daphne Odora
Daphne odora

In a corner of the English Garden you’ll find Daphne odora. As the name suggests, it has a gorgeous perfume.

Spot the frogs in the pond. There is some frogs spawn and probably more to come. Creep up slowly and you may hear them croaking. The tadpoles will emerge over the next 21 days. At first, they stick themselves to plants digesting the remaining egg yolk in their guts, then they swim about feeding on algae. As they grow, their diet expands to include other pond life and even plant material which they grind up with tiny teeth. By 12 weeks, they look like tiny frogs and at 16 weeks, they assume their adult shape and can leave the pond.

photo in Chumleigh Gardens
The Wattle tree which I think is Acacia gunii is just about to burst into bloom.

Between Chumleigh Gardens and St George’s Church

Alder trees

These are native trees that are usually found in boggy ground. Tap one of the yellow catkins and you will see a puff of pollen. These are wind pollinated plants that don’t need insects to fertilise them though you may see bees collecting the protein rich pollen to feed to their larva.

close-up of catkins
Alder tree catkins

There are male and female flowers on the same tree. The female flowers are much smaller catkins which develop into cones. You will find brown cones from last year still on the trees. The leaves are round with a notch cut out at the tip and the bark has small holes in it.

Alder trees fix nitrogen into the soil, so add to the fertility.

Because they grow in boggy conditions, their orange coloured timber will not rot in water so it was used in the foundations of Venice and for water pipes. Above ground, it will quickly rot.

Siskin, Redpol and Goldfinches eat the seeds, several moths feed on the leaves and the bark is used in medicine.

The Dry Garden

Close-up of purple flowers
Hellebore flowers in The Dry Garden behind St George’s Church

Park development

Click on the icons to find out more about plans in and around Burgess Park

Burgess Park Planning and Redevelopment Facts:  Redevelopment around the park

These are important issues for coming local elections. Raise them with ward councillor candidates. 

There are at least six planning application in the pipeline for sites around Burgess Park. All are for tall buildings which will make a significant impact on the park.

Each application is made separately there is no consideration for cumulative impact. Tall buildings have already been approved for the Aylesbury redevelopment along Albany Road.

• Impact of tall buildings
Burgess Park is a very long, narrow park. Tall buildings all around will have a significant impact on the green space; how it looks and feels, if the immediate horizon is dominated by buildings.

The new Southwark Plan does not define a tall building or the amount of green space which would need to be provided for the new residents.

• Pressure on green space
Planning applications for development around Burgess Park (including current applications) all make the assumption that green space and play space can be provided by the park.

No assessment is made of cumulative impact of redevelopment – with resultant local population growth – on existing green space.

Burgess Park is a relatively new man-made park; it has increased in popularity and is well used all year round. It requires high levels of maintenance and repair to keep pace with wear and tear of heavy usage. Areas of the park will be out of use at some time; current drainage improvement works will restrict access to central portions of the park for the two years.

Friends of Burges Park proposals:

• Planning and Regeneration
Cumulative impact of new developments on Burgess Park must be a standard part of the planning application process. A comprehensive development plan which monitors and sets a framework for development around the park is needed. The Southwark Plan should:

  • specify maximum building height for developments bordering the park taking into account the extent of shade from new buildings given the park’s narrow shape and the current tree heights;
  • monitor the park’s capacity to absorb increases in user demand;

• Metropolitan Open Land
The council should compulsorily purchase buildings within Burgess Park Metropolitan Open Land footprint. This would prevent excessive building being proposed (and then having to be opposed by local residents).

• Sunshine ordinance
The council should set up local planning requirements for high standard for green spaces including access to sunshine. The impact of multiple tall buildings on green space must be considered. Sunshine ordinance is already used in places like New York, San Francisco and Japan.

FOBP April 2018

Burgess Park West closures 2017-2018

Southwark Council have announced construction of the Burgess Park West project is due to begin in late October.

Two sections of Burgess Park West designated on a map

The plan shows what areas of the site Southwark Council intends to close and for how long.

Rust Square and the area next to it up to where the road Addington Square crosses the park will be closed for the duration of the project.

Trees earmarked for removal will be felled in Site A during the week beginning 5 February.

The rest of the site will have smaller sites set up within it while works are carried out and Southwark do not expect to close this area all at once.

More information on the project can be found here: www.southwark.gov.uk/burgessparkwest
or contact John Wade (020 7525 0141) or Pippa Krishnan (020 7525 5133).

New Church Road closure

Southwark Council will close the section on New Church Road that runs through the park. The road will no longer be accessible from Monday 4th December. Southwark apologises for any inconvenience caused. The new Quietway 7 cycle pathway which will cut through the park will be built as an alternative route. It is expected to open in spring 2018.

Consultations on the Burgess Park West new play area will take place on:

Tuesday 28 November 3.30 to 5pm Chumleigh Gardens play area, next to the Park Life café, off Albany Road. If the weather is poor the consultation will be inside the Chumleigh West building, which will be signposted from the play area.

Monday 4th December 6pm to 8pm Southwark Council’s offices 160 Tooley Street, SE1 2QH

Drop by to see the emerging design which has taken into account previous consultation results, and tell the designers your ideas and opinions.

If you cannot attend either session and are still interested in the play area design, please get in touch with Pippa Krishnan pippa.krishnan@southwark.gov.uk