Sunday 10 September saw the much-anticipated Foraging Walk take place at Shrewsbury Park. Around 35 local people attended the walk to learn which hedges, plants and trees to forage from, but also those to avoid. The park offers a huge array of plants which can be used as food in a raw state, cooked, or in the form of teas. Amongst others they sampled cherry plums, hops, sloes, ground elder, burdock, horseradish, yarrow and raspberries.
Kevin Godby, a local expert who works for Greenwich Co-operative Development Agency (GCDA) on their Growing Greenwich Project demonstrated how to find the seeds, berries and fruit and how to safely consume them. He shared home-made jam and produce that he had made from berries found in the park, pointing out where they grew as he went along the trail.
Kevin said: “It’s important to remember that foraging is about eating a little from a range of different fruit and not lots from one place, as the body needs variety and too much from one place can tip the balance the wrong way.”
Kris Inglis, Chair of FSP said “we have all learnt so much about what we can and can’t consume from the hedgerows. It is amazing to find so much in one space, which will change with every season. Until today we knew little of this intriguing aspect of the park.”
Michael Stuart, a keen forager from Kilburn also attended to offer his experience; his key advice is to observe an area to get to know it and see how it changes through the seasons which will lead to a deeper appreciation of the environment. He recommends winter and spring for the variety of fresh leaves available to add to salad.
An FSP member and dog walker has taken up the role of Hedgehog Guardian after discovering there is a growing population of ‘hogs’ inhabiting Shrewsbury Park. This is her initial idea that we hope to support and put in place – with your help.
Michelle says: “This hot and arid weather is a real problem for them. They can’t dig for food because the ground’s too hard, and of course, water is in scarce supply. One of the key things I was thinking about was putting ‘water stations’ (i.e.pet water bowls) in strategic locations in the park. If we can get people on board with helping to keep them regularly topped up with fresh water, then this would be fantastic. I’m happy to do this when I go out with my dogs of a morning, but if we can maybe get some ‘hedgehog champions’ on board, then that’d be great.”
Those of you who came on the May Bat Walk will know firsthand that hedgehogs are about in the night – we met one who simply froze when spotted in torchlights until we crept back to the path and let it get on with foraging for dinner.
Keep your eyes open and report any sightings. There will be a Hedgehog Stall at the Summer Festival to learn more about their habits and how to get involved in their welfare.
The long-awaited day arrived on 29 March – work began on the installation of a new drinking fountain for the benefit of all Park users. Steve and Jack struggled with the geology of this hill, but four holes and a lot of sweat later they managed to successfully lay the pipework from the pavement at the Plum Lane entrance.
Formed in 2006, the Friends of Shrewsbury Park encourage the use of Shrewsbury Park and support the development of facilities for recreation, education and amenities for local people and to encourage a sense of community around the park.