Wednesday, 22 June 2016

June 2016 Mayow Park tree walk part 1

On 5th June the Friends of Mayow Park held their first ever family-friendly tree walk, aimed at adults and children alike. A total of 18 adults and 10 children attended the walk.
Mayow Park has quite a few unique and unusual trees within its boundary but this 90 minute walk was only able to take in a few, an introduction to what the park has to offer.
Our walk started near the cafe and first stop was the dawn redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides), a magnificent conifer that sheds its leaves in the winter - so it is a deciduous tree.  It is a fast growing tree and possibly only about 50 - 60 years old. Wouldn't it be great  if someone would  research park records to find out exactly when it was planted and its origin?

Dawn  as she looked in early April before her leaves grew back
Photo of  Dawn on 22nd June 2016
Jon showed us a method of calculating the height of this tree by using a home-made clinometer. This measured the angle from the person holding the clinometer to the top of the tree, then measuring the distance in metres from the person to the tree, drawing a triangle and then using a process of  mathematical calculations. Our calculations gave a height of 20.7 metres high though we should really try this again a few times for accuracy.
The girth of this tree was measured by Mike with the help of some children and came to 3.9 metres.
We gathered round the tree and felt its bark.
distinctive bark of the Dawn Redwood
Next stop was the weeping silver birch - another ornamental tree. When it was planted or why is another piece of research for someone.
weeping silver birch on 2nd April without its leaves.
The photo above (taken with permission of the parent)  is of a girl I spoke to in early April who explained this was her favourite tree as it felt like a spirit tree. In June, with the tree in leaf, it creates a small sheltered area where I have seen people sitting and enjoying the space. See below.
The same weeping silver birch on 22nd June 2016
We also looked at the nearby row of native silver birch trees. These were planted approximately 8 to 10 years ago (I am guessing) when the bowls cabins had been installed  for the bowls club that was active at the time. The cabins were (and still are) rather unattractive so the silver birch trees and the hedgerow bushes were planted to green the space and create a visually more pleasing view.
This row of silver birch partially hides the cabins
It seems that silver birch trees can be used to improve the soil for other plants. Its deep roots bring up nutrients into the tree and leaves and these are recycled onto the soil surface when the tree sheds its leaves. Of course other deciduous trees do the same, so I have yet to find out what is special about the nutrients in silver birch leaves. A distinctive feature of silver birch is the bark, which peels away like paper, making it easier to identify the tree.

To be continued . . .


Most of our regular park users will be delighted to see that work has started to resurface the worst sections of path in Mayow Park. The last major work on sections of path was completed in July 2011; it went from the Recreation Road entrance and the holm oak (the climbing tree)  along past the children's playground and then stopped. It included wooden boards for neat path edging and was very much appreciated. The path was now safer for toddlers and young children learning to ride their bikes.
That was only a fraction of the remedial path work identified but it was very costly. Officers from Lewisham Greenscene had worked hard to find sufficient funds while Glendale discussed with Friends of Mayow Park what was proposed and which stretch of path. Glendale officers organised the works and supervised contractors.  We knew it would be a long time before we would see works to other stretches of path. So this week brought good news when contractors and their vehicles arrived to start work on the path going east from the children's playground.  Other stretches of path will also be resurfaced - look out for the yellow marks at the worst locations.  But there is not enough funding to do the whole park.
Clear signage for park usres

contractor vehicles at the ready

Path edging timber clearly visible on the left of the path

Close-up of path timber edging

Clear view of  curving timber edging board showing path outline