The Management Committee have been working on plans to improve the entrance to the Park at Garland Road and Dothill for several years. (Dothill is the former road that ran from Garland Road to Plum Lane). We wanted to prevent flooding across the path, and to stop motorcycles accessing the park.
The path across Dothill flooded regularly, making it very difficult for school children on their way to school, and other park users. To provide drainage, members of the Friends of Shrewsbury Park first dug a trench, and lined it with stones. This initially stopped the huge puddle forming when it rained. However, this was not a permanent answer, we needed to get the puddle sorted out permanently, and stop motorcyclists accessing the park via Dothill. We were successful with a bid to Veolia Trust, and were awarded a grant to pay for the kissing gate, path drainage, bird boxes and notice board, with a commitment from the Royal Borough of Greenwich to help with the shortfall.
We wanted a kissing gate that allowed wheelchair users to access the park, but stop motorcyclists. The Council contracted out the work, and it took several months to get it right. The first gate was not wheelchair accessible, however this was eventually resolved. To improve drainage on the path, Alan Scott and his team from Complete Ecology Ltd dug a trench, put in a pipe with holes and layered gravel on top of it. This work was completed quickly so as not to disrupt park users. Ron, Kris, Clive and Simon made 13 bird boxes and children at Timbercroft Primary School painted them. The children came to the Park to help the Council’s tree gang put the boxes in the trees along Dothill. John Beckham, a Park Ranger, told the children about bird boxes.
Later, after the breeding season had finished, John arranged for the bird boxes to be cleaned. One of the boxes had been damaged in the storm, but seven of the remaining twelve had been used successfully, although one of these contained eggs that had failed to hatch. He thought it was a successful first year.
Kathy was approached by Amber Poppelaars, the Project Manager with Interfaith Action, who offered volunteers to help with reclaiming the path through the former Nature Reserve. Amber and a number of teenagers (Miranda Brown, Tadhg Crowley, Ankit Dhakal, and Kostas Voukelatos) came to help Kathy Ron and Sonja cut a path through the brambles and nettles.
This took place on 29 November 2013. The Mayor, Councillor Angela Cornforth, and her consort, Brian O’Sullivan, came to cut the ribbon that “opened” the Dothill celebration. The children from Eaglesfield Primary School, who were involved in making the bird boxes, came with their teachers. They arrived early to check out the bird boxes to make sure they were OK. Kathy explained the reasons behind the project, making the Park safer for users by preventing the motorcyclists from using the park, and making the Park more accessible, by getting rid of the huge puddle that hindered access for a number of children on their way to school and other park users.
The Mayor praised the project, adding it was a blueprint for other Parks to use, and she then cut the ribbon. Carol thanked the Veolia Trust, not only for the grant, but for their help with publicity of the project and help with the monitoring forms.
We were lucky that the morning remained dry and were delighted that many of the Friends of Shrewsbury Park (and others) could join us in our celebration.
We will continue to strive to improve Dothill, if you would like to help, please contact us.