Monday, 1 March 2021

My litter picking adventure by Matilda

 The Friends of Mayow Park committee found out that some of our younger park users care enough about the park that they decided to do something about the litter problem. Read Matilda's report below. Would you be willing to take part in Matilda's suggestion for a monthly litter-pick?

We welcome posts from children who want to improve Mayow Park for everyone to enjoy.

My name's Matilda and I live very close to Mayow Park in Adamsrill Road. It's my favourite park because I know all of the names of most of the dogs, everyone in the park says hello to you, and there are lots of places to explore.

But recently I noticed that there has been more and more horrible litter being dropped, particularly in the areas where me and my friends like to explore, in the trees along the sides of the park.

So I decided to do something about it. First of all I asked for a litter picking stick for Christmas, which I got, and then I got a group of friends together who were also annoyed at the litter. This group was made up of twins Rosanna & Zander, Jessica, Prue and Barnaby.

Matilda's Christmas present
We collected 5 big bags of rubbish just from one side of the park alone, in the beautiful green trees, and 2 refuse sacks full. 

I think there should be one day a month when everyone who enjoys the park should come and pick some litter up, at least one bag. You don't even need a litter picking stick, my Grandad says you can use a stick with a nail in the end.
A small selection of rubbish collected
Oh and also, please stop walking on the lovely flowers, my brother is 2 and gets very upset and recently started an argument with a grown man about it!

Matilda. 6.

Saturday, 6 February 2021

A rill in the park

My previous post highlighted the lake in Mayow Park created by weeks of heavy rainfall, a lake that rises or soaks away, very much dependent on the weather. And the post referred to Adams Rill that flowed in past history. 

After  heavy rainfall overnight 4th/ 5th February saw the return of a very shallow lake, it seems a new rill has found a route to the lake.


Wednesday, 3 February 2021

Mayow Park's lost stream?

Black poplar in middle of lake

After reading Pippa’s blog about the temporary lake  which arrived in Mayow Park in the last week of January and the fun it brought to park users, people asked how it came to be and why in that location?

I’ll try to explain.

Weeks and weeks of heavy rainfall, with occasional drier days; that’s how 2020 ended and 2021 started, continuing right through January. The spongy ground was saturated, unable to absorb more precipitation.  In Mayow Park the paths were muddy, the grass was muddier and some of the drains were mud-hidden, no longer visible or able to do what they were designed to do.

Deep puddles everywhere

Then the snow arrived, just for one day, but heavy snow. Sunday 24th January. For a few short hours people went into the park, played with the snow,  made snow people; dogs, children and adults enjoyed the novelty. But by the end of the day much of the snow had melted and the rain returned.

Water flowed in rivulets along the paths and down slopes, creating deep puddles in places, towards the shallow river valley to the eastern side, where once a rill* flowed. 

Local people may be aware that Mayow Park sits atop very heavy clay which is slow to absorb heavy rain so the water flowed and flowed following downhill routes. It flowed to the lowest level, down into the meadow opposite the cafe and into the scrub area just below Mayow Road. Small lakes have formed here before, lasting a couple of days, but the lake this time was larger than many of the folk round here can remember. It seemed wider and deeper than ever. Dogs had swimming fun. Children came in waterproof boots to have a splashing time.  And Barney brought his paddle board to add to the entertainment – see photo by Pippa in her blog.

The water could not go far.  It slowly soaked away over the next few days. As water receded, the black poplar, which had stood in the middle of the now shrinking lake, gradually moved to drier terrain. The story of the lake was the buzz of local social media. For a few days it brought some joy in these times of social distancing and remote socialising.

With warmer, wetter winters in southern England predicted into the future due to our changing climate, we can expect to see this occasional lake to return when weather conditions are right.

The lake slowly drained away

*NOTE: A rill is a shallow brook or stream. The rill (Adamsrill) no longer visibly flows but it seems likely that,  in bygone times, it travelled via Mayow Park through culverts to Bell Green and the River Pool.  Nowadays after heavy rain, it revives in back gardens along Adamsrill Road - named after Mayow Wynell Adams (1809 – 1898). He was the local dignitary who offered the site that is now Mayow Park. (Street names Mayow Road, Wynell Road and Adamsrill Road honour his name).

For more info on Adams’ Rill, here is a blog written by 'Running Past' in February 2018 that is worth reading.

A.S Friends of Mayow Park

Monday, 1 February 2021

New Lake in Mayow Park

 Since the snow melted Mayow Park has been getting a bigger and bigger lake in the dip in the meadow area, not far from the cafe. Dogs and kids have loved having a paddle in it. I’m not sure the poor tree in the middle (a black poplar) is having such a fun time though - hopefully it’ll be OK. Our new lake is a really lovely brown colour surrounded by mud but in a lockdown anything can appear exciting and having such a large amount of water and a paddle board in the shed...well we did start joking about it. 

Our relatives in Australia on the morning Zoom call (who have warm weather and turquoise sea at their disposal) were very keen for us to do it. So on my morning dog walk I saw my husband stroll into the park with the big backpack on and couldn’t quite believe he was actually going to do it.

Anyway it’s a great board that you unroll and pump up and it comes on all our seaside trips.

People started wondering what he was up to as he got inflating. Anyway off he went to have a paddle round Mayow lake (with no fin clipped on in case it was too shallow). The dog was very excited and soon was on the board too!

So exactly one week after the snowy snowman Sunday we had paddle-board (or puddle-board?) Sunday.

I think it made people smile and we got the video to send to the Australians! Honestly though... a muddy puddle-lake compared to Manly Beach... Oh well, it really is the small pleasures these days. I’m actually pretty good at paddle-boarding but for some reason didn’t feel like showing off my skills. I’ll let the husband take the glory this time (and Scooter).

Pippa Moss

Wednesday, 27 January 2021

Mayow Winter Wonderland

 What a pleasure on Sunday just gone (24th January) to head into Mayow after a couple of hours of heavy snowflakes descending, to see the park all white and becoming a snowman art show!

I had headed there with my dog Scooter who was witnessing snow for the first time and rather loving it.

My children, now a tween and teen, were not dressed in time to come with me (at midday!!) but I felt like a kid myself and repaired with great pleasure a head back onto a rejected toppled snowman - Scooter then promptly ran off with the stick arm!

There were some real works of art as you can see in the photos and it was a pleasure to see family groups taking photos next to their achievements. We had all got so tired of the mud and my word it had been SO muddy in the park recently. The white stuff was so much better to see.

It did only last that morning and early afternoon as it then started to drizzle and mostly melted the snow. However it was a magical morning and brought much-needed smiles to everyone.

So good to clear the Covid news-filled head - even so, I’d only been out the house for two minutes when the thought popped into my head ‘The NHS really don’t need anyone slipping over right now.’ In a way, that was a real concern and since Sunday the ice in the park does need watching out for.

Lockdown and what we are hearing in the news cannot help but dampen all our spirits but our dear park, which really does change weekly (even if some weeks it’s just that a temporary pond has arrived!), and all the friendly familiar faces you see as you do the loops is just such a saviour.

But the snowman day was the one which saw real joy back in people’s faces - I wish we could bottle that joy and eek it out over the next weeks - until the snowdrops and daffodils come (with the hope too of entering a lower tier!). Stay safe all.

Pippa Moss FOMP

Saturday, 10 October 2020

New tree map and leaflet (Oct 2020)

 We, the FOMP committee, have just finished producing a very smart 6 page leaflet with a map of the park on the other side. There was a previous map but it was produced some 20 years ago! We feel really proud of this new map/leaflet which will debut in the next issue of the Sydenham Society News as a pull-out centre spread.

We owe so much to Jody McLeish, who designed the whole thing for us. He knows the park from when he lived here but is now living in Kent. (He also designs the Sydenham Society News.)

Using the map people can find out the names of some of the fantastic trees in Mayow Park. For some tree types there's also further information. I loved learning about the Tulip Tree especially. The map includes images of some of the birds often seen in the park too. 
In the leaflet we've given info on the history, facilities and the FOMP group.

Of course people will have opinions on what it could have included but we do hope readers will learn something new from it and appreciate the work that's gone into producing it (and in Jody's case I'm sure a lot of patience as it took a fair few proofs for us to finally sign it off).

It's been wonderful to see the old out-dated map reproduced looking so smart (with the typos gone!) and the basic text we typed up transformed into smart panels with photos.

We can't wait to see how it now looks printed inside the SydSoc magazine. Only compliments allowed...hours of volunteers' time lovingly went into it! Anyway we are confident you'll want to grab a copy! 

Additional copies will be printed within a few months for distribution to the wider community.
Text: Pippa. Photo: Alona

Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Keep Mayow Tidy (and follow the regs!)

 Words by Pippa Moss; Photos A Sheridan

Keep Britain Tidy’s Great British Spring Clean, usually held in March, was of course postponed this year – a pandemic arrived! FOMP had planned a litter picking event for it, which we had to cancel. The postponed GB Spring Clean happened in September instead. Friends of Mayow Park couldn’t organise anything big and official with all the social distancing regulations so we just chose a date and gathered six volunteers. It fell under the permitted Lewisham Covid volunteering category of ‘tending and managing habitats’. Our intention was therefore to clear the woodland and grassland habitats within the park of littered items and make them safer for wildlife. We were able to let Glendale (the team that manages the park on behalf of Lewisham Council) and the Safer Neighbourhood Team know the date so they could separately, but on the same date, be in the park too. Glendale helpfully provided bags, picker sticks and took away the litter!

It went very well. Between the 3 groups we collected 24 bags of litter, a random Hoover and a teddy bear as well! We headed into the bushes and woodland areas that we could access so it was a thorough job! Extra point for me for managing to get a sore shoulder from also carrying around a large heavy hand sanitiser bottle in my handbag!

We were all shocked by the amount of wet wipes - they overtook Haribo sweet packets by far this year. These wipes will sit around for years, they don’t decompose and they certainly don’t help the wildlife in the park.      

 I think we all know wet wipes have their uses. I used to pride myself in the baby days of what I could clean up with just one wet wipe - and I always disposed of it responsibly. The fact we probably collected 200 of them shows they are being used excessively and carelessly.


Next litter pick I plan to collect recycling separately - it is rather depressing when it all gets lumped together. It might involve some bag juggling but I think it will be worth it - cans and bottles are a big part of what we collect.

The community has really been enjoying Mayow Park during these last 6 months - we know this space has been really valuable to all of us to escape our homes, which we have spent so much time in. To be honest after all these months of heavy use, the litter pick could have been a much greater challenge - it just shows that most people really are caring for the park. There is also a growing awareness that any bags left neatly tied next to the bins with the best of intention, do in fact end up shredded by foxes. They need to be taken home.

Anyway the great thing is that there are always willing volunteers to help on these litter picks, and anyone who has never used a litter picking stick always states how great they are to use! I’m still trying to find a handbag friendly one... see me soon on Dragon’s Den with my telescopic handbag litter picker invention!

Pippa Moss September 2020