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Hainault Forest Country Park is in the early stages of a £6m restoration project which will see it undergo a programme of work focusing on four key areas – investment in biodiversity, landscape and buildings, works to re-focus the popular children’s zoo and to improve the range of activities on offer for visitors.

Nature walk

On 9 December 2017 a group joined Francis Castro, Senior Ranger and Project Manager at Vision Redbridge Culture & Leisure, for a guided winter stroll around Hainault Forest. In beautiful winter sunshine, over the course of two hours, they learned about the flora and fauna, as well as the restoration plans.

In January 2017, the HLF announced support of £4.5m, including development funding of £218,800, for Hainault Forest Country Park’s “Hainault Ancient Forest – a Landscape for the Future” project. The Council will also contribute £1.25m to the project with a further £250,000 from Vision Redbridge Culture & Leisure. This brings total investment to £6m. When the project is complete, it is envisaged that Hainault Forest Country Park will be enabled to become financially self-sufficient, and the current Council subsidy will end.

Tree walk

Covering a total of 800 acres, Hainault Forest includes 250 acres of greenbelt, ancient woodland and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). It is the last fragment of a medieval Royal hunting forest established by Henry I that included Hatfield and Epping.

The forest is also pivotal for local and regional wildlife. To date, 158 species of bird have been recorded in the forest including turtle doves, bullfinches, and three species of woodpecker. There are also more than 940 species of invertebrates such as butterflies and dragonflies, 79 of which are nationally scarce.

Friends of Wanstead Parklands member Richard Arnopp, who went on the walk, said –

“Hainault Forest is important both as a haven for wildlife and a much-needed recreational space for Redbridge’s growing population. It is also a historic landscape with ancient trees, including many pollards, which bear witness to its long management as wood-pasture”.

Richard continued –

“Francis Castro (Vision RCL), the London Borough of Redbridge and the HLF are to be congratulated for this initiative. We hope that the “Hainault Ancient Forest” project will guarantee the future of this special place for many years to come”.

Camelot Path Hainault Forest Country Park is managed by Vision Redbridge Culture & Leisure on behalf of the London Borough of Redbridge.

 

 

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Reasons to Vote for ‘Riding the Roding’

The Friends of Wanstead Parklands strongly support the “Riding the Roding” project. This is not only for its direct aesthetic and ecological benefits but because it would complement plans for the regeneration of Wanstead Park, which are currently under development.

Redbridge and the Wanstead Park stakeholders have been working closely on both projects. In particular, the new riverside cycle path will improve local connectivity and restoration of the much-missed Coronation Bridge will make the historic landscape of Wanstead Park much more accessible to Ilford residents.

riding the roding

Vote for Riding the Roding now in the Big Green Poll

Visit the Redbridge-i website for more information

Author: Richard Arnopp, Friends of Wanstead Parklands


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A vote for ‘Riding the Roding’ is a vote for wildlife and nature!

Riding the Roding is one of the shortlisted projects for the Mayor’s Big Green Fund. Tim Harris, chair of the Wren Wildlife and Conservation Group, tells us why it needs your support.

As chair of the Wren Group, I’m really excited about Redbridge’s Riding the Roding project. It has wildlife and conservation at its heart, and I really hope it is successful in its bid for the Mayor’s Big Green Fund. Already we’ve got many supporters, particularly from local wildlife and conservation groups like ours.

We care passionately about the nature of the local area. That’s why we’re very excited by the habitat improvement proposals. They’ll undoubtedly improve biodiversity along the Roding Corridor. By ‘softening’ the river banks and introducing a more graceful water flow, it will also create a series of quiet pools.

Roding-Valley-River500px

Apart from looking more attractive, these areas of gentle water flow will encourage a richer variety of vegetation, as well as more breeding invertebrates (like damselflies and dragonflies), and more amphibians, fish and kingfishers. With otters also present not far upstream, surely it won’t be long before they reappear on this stretch of the river. We might even see water voles and water shrews. We’ll also be building bat boxes to help these summer visitors to thrive.

As this stretch of river is also near the popular Wanstead Park, the cycle route and wildlife together will help attract new visitors. I believe this project will be great for Redbridge. It will also be great for conservation and great for walkers and cyclists. Please give it your support.

Vote for Riding the Roding now in the Big Green Poll

Visit the Redbridge-i website for more information

Post Author: Tim Harris, Wren Wildlife and Conservation Group

 

 


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Improve cycling opportunities by voting for ‘Riding the Roding’

With many set to benefit from improvement works along the Roding Valley Way, it is no wonder that cyclist and local campaigner, Gill James is backing the Riding the Roding project in the Mayor’s Big Green Fund.

Redbridge Cycling Campaign sees the Riding the Roding Project as completing the most important cycle route in Redbridge. It finally offers the opportunity to cycle and walk off-road. It will link cycling residents of Ilford, Barking and Newham with Essex. It is ideal for families with children wishing for healthy exercise, being nearly all off-road and following a pleasant river route. It will offer people in a busy urban area safe access to a riverside environment. With sporting facilities such as Ashton Playing Fields and green areas such as Wanstead Park and Ray Park becoming easily accessible.

Local cyclists have been campaigning for many years to have the Roding Valley Way finished. The route is ideal for cycle commuters wishing to reach town centres such as Ilford and Woodford, which avoids busy and polluted roads. It is also the access point for those wishing to travel east towards the Redbridge Cycling Centre and West towards the City.

Therefore we urge you to vote so that everyone can benefit from the regeneration of this beautiful area.

Vote now at www.london.gov.uk/biggreenpoll and select ‘Riding the Roding’

Post Author: Gill James
Redbridge LCC (London Cycling Campaign)


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Children Go Crazy About Bats At South Park’s Latest Fun Nature Event!

Ever wondered what it’s really like to be a bat? No? Well, these kids certainly did and after the event at South Park, Ilford on Wednesday, they knew all the secrets of a bat’s life! I went along to their Let’s Go Batty event to brush up on my bat knowledge!

When I arrived, I just had to spend a few moments sitting by the pond listening to the sounds of nature and the wildlife that surrounds it. Despite the radiance of the bright blue sky, the topic of the day was the dark and often ominously portrayed bats. But, park ranger Julia was determined to debunk myths about bats by shedding light on the facts. The most common misconception that she quickly put right was the incorrect statement that bats are blind. Bats can see, they just use a different spectrum because they are always out in the dark and they don’t even need their eyesight as much as echolocation – which is when they shout and listen to their surroundings.

It was clear that the young children were all eager to become bat experts as they filed into the wildlife education and information centre. As they did so, park ranger Anne began to explain how the very roof of the centre is bat friendly. The park itself also offers the opportunity to join in on a bat walk when it becomes dark as there are many bat boxes hanging in the trees and each box can hold up to 50 bats! In Redbridge, you can find up to 7 different kinds of bats and a special bat detector is used to listen out for their calls – this nifty device was on hand during the presentation and was passed around to all the children as they gawked in amazement.

Julia began the session by testing the audience’s knowledge on bats and they were all extremely enthusiastic and knowledgeable! Hands kept shooting up to give examples of different bats and to inform everyone that bats like to feed on mosquitoes, which is why they come out mostly at night.

It was then time for some arts and crafts which meant a lot of glue, coloured paper and of course googly eyes! During the process, one young man declared that his creation was “going a bit donkey wonky!” meaning, it was time to ask mum for help. The result, however, was an abundance of awesome bats hanging from sticks and being waved around the room.

During the hubbub of the arts and crafts, Anne told me more about the park and its plans for the future. It’s admirable at how dedicated the teams are to South Park as much of it has been transformed from previously unfortunate conditions. Being built in 1903, the park has a lot of history and Anne highlighted the importance of its heritage being preserved. As well as this, there are plans to create a new basketball court and to have pond dipping introduced by 2016. The success of the park is clear as the walls of the centre are plastered with photos and information about the park and the wildlife that lives there. It’s a hub of information which has led 150 children to visit the park during the summer term.

The final activity of the day involved actually getting out on the grass and enjoying the fresh morning air. A very clever game was devised to physically demonstrate how bats work. Some children pretended to be bats while others pretended to be moths. The bats would be blindfolded to replicate the dark conditions that bats venture out in and the moths would be whizzing all around. When the bat shouts, the moths would stop and the bats would have to use echolocation to try and pinpoint where the moths are. This resulted in a great deal of fun and squeals of laughter, especially when the mums joined in and became moths!

Guest Author: Raeesa Mukhtar


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Help needed at ‘Mulching Bonanzas’!

In February 2014 The Nature Conservation Rangers, in partnership with Trees for Cities, undertook a project to plant 7,500 new trees atBroadmead Recreation Ground. With the help of hundreds of volunteers all of the trees were successfully planted! However, this was the easy part…

The next step is to spread wood chip (also known as mulch) around the base of all these trees in order to stop weeds growing – a mammoth task indeed! We are looking for volunteers to help us on these workdays – and it really is a case of ‘the more the merrier!’ We already have some ‘Mulching Bonanza’ dates scheduled for Summer:

  • Tuesday 6 May
  • Thursday 3 July
  • Thursday 17 July
  • Thursday 7 August 
  • more dates to be confirmed

blog photo

We provide all of the tools, tea and coffee, and of course lots and lots of biscuits! The events last from 10am to 2.30pm and we will meet at Broadmead Recreation Ground, the entrance on the corner of Navestock Crescent and Broadmead Road. The site is near Woodford Underground Station and free parking is available in the area.

We would also be interested in hearing from corporate groups who would like to give time to this good cause – so please spread the word!

For more information please contact the Nature Conservation Rangers on 0208 559 2316 or email nature.conservation@visionrcl.org.uk

Post Author: Tess Pettinger


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Are we a disposable generation? Team v Redbridge promote sustainability with our clothes.

As part of the charity vInspired, which aims to provide volunteering and support for young people, Team v Redbridge are a group of young volunteers from their national programme Team v. The young volunteer’s first campaign was about ‘Building a Sustainable Generation.’ Young people have often been accused of being the disposable generation and so Team v are trying to raise awareness in local communities about how to reduce waste and promote sustainable living by Upcycling unwanted clothes rather than throwing them away.

According the Marks & Spencer’s 10,000 items of clothing are thrown away every 5 minutes! So Team v set about changing that! The idea behind the campaign was to promote sustainable living, asking people to pledge a promise to be more sustainable in one simple way. Also to encourage schools to upcycle old t-shirts to make them more appealing, wearable and as if brand new and also to get the community involved learning about customising old clothes.

Team v Redbridge held two workshops at Woodford County High School for Girls trying to raise the awareness about how the UK disposes of clothes and the alternatives available. The hour-long workshops involved a short introduction, a game (involving finding out where your clothes come from), a video promoting the campaign, a short quiz, a discussion about a school’s impact on waste and a petition to be part of People & Planet’s Green Education Declaration and finally a customising session on the students’ t-shirts that they bring to the workshop.

One of the workshops was optional during lunch time and the other to a Year 10 class, which was catered to cover the sustainability section within the GCSE Graphics syllabus. The girls discussed in groups about packaging and how the design of a product can result in wasted materials when it comes to boxing up the goods. With 76 million tons of waste coming from packaging alone, that is 30% of all trash, it is vital for the future generations of designers and entrepreneurs to understand the contribution the industry has on waste.

Team v Redbridge leader Rebecca Kemal commented “We needed to ensure that what we were offering to schools was flexible and appealing so that not only were the workshops worth-while but that they also would benefit the students’ depth of knowledge within and outside of the current curriculum. Learning about upcycling and re-using our clothes could potentially solve a future waste problem, with predictions of landfill sites being filled by 2020, it is vital that people realise that within 7 years they will be facing a big problem!”

The young volunteers asked people online via twitter and Facebook to send in a pledge for sustainability using the hashtag #planetsavingpledges. In return for your promise to be more sustainable, the team offered to email you a certificate of thanks, plant a seed on your behalf for a loved one  or invited you to upcycle or swap at item of clothing at their Planet Saving Sustainability fete. The team received over 30 pledges from local citizens who pledged to be more sustainable, from making handmade gifts at Christmas, to composting food waste to recycling old cars, phones, materials and clothes, and the premise still remains open to people who wish to take part.

The final event for the team was to host a Sustainability Fete at Frenford Youth Club on the 28th November. Each member of the public were encouraged to bring at least one item of clothing to ‘swish’ or swap with others depending on the quality of the goods. Working on a token system, you could for example bring along a brand new designer t-shirt and in return get back a brand new designer jacket or equally three t-shirts for your designer goods. The more items you bring, the more tokens you have to swap with. The ‘swishing’ trend is getting bigger, with ‘swishing parties’ being held quite regularly throughout the UK. At the event there was also a stall where you could spray paint, customise and embellish items of clothing at the ‘customise & style’ stall and even cut-up your old t-shirt to make blankets for the homeless. Our own photographer volunteer gave anyone who wanted a chance to leave a #planetsavingpledge and volunteers were on hand to talk to you about alternative solutions, upcycling ideas and to take any feedback or ideas. The team were also supported by local group Barkingside21, who took some time out from turning on the Christmas lights on Barkingside High Street to support the young volunteers.

Hopefully Team v Redbridge have managed to change a few views about sustainability and local citizens are keeping their promised pledges to be more aware of our planet. One mantra that was common throughout their campaign was an encouragement of the Six Rs: Re-thinking, Re-using, Refusing, Recycling, Reducing and Repairing. Do that, then perhaps we can become the sustainable generation!

For more information about Team v Redbridge, to follow and support their next campaign or if you’re 16-25 volunteer with them, please get in touch:

Twitter: @vRedbridge

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vRedbridgeTeamv

Email: Rebecca.Kemal@vinspired.com

Sign-up on vInspired http://vinspired.com/activities/188997-volunteers

You could leave them a #planetsavingpledge @vRedbridge or at https://www.facebook.com/planetsavingpledges

Post Author: Rebecca Kemal

 

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