Thursday, 1 November 2018

Penge Green Gym November 2018 Newsletter

Penge Green Gym Newsletter

4th Green Flag award and much more at Winsford Gardens

For the fourth year running Penge Green Gym are a Green Flag Award Community winner.  They have recognised the continuing work that all the volunteers do in the park.  We have scored highly with the Green Flag 'secret shopper' who inspected the park anonymously and found it welcoming and well kept, speaking to locals who use the park every day.  And the awards continue with a commendation from Bromley In Bloom.  The category is for the Best Community Environmentally Friendly Project.

We are also very excited to announce that Penge Green Gym have been nominated for a Queens Award for Voluntary Service.  This is a very prestigious award and is normally awarded to much larger groups.  The process involves sending a detailed report of the work done by PGG and an assessment by and member of the committee.  We await with baited breath the results which will be announced in May 2019.  Thanks to Peter Hutchings at TCV for putting us forward for this award, it is very exciting!

Work at Winsford Gardens
Back down to earth and summer has turned slowly to a fairly warm and dry autumn and then into a more mixed winter season.  Ongoing work includes coppicing the hazel bushes at the Garden Road entrance.  We had hoped to use a lot of this to replace the hazel fencing around the gravel garden and wildflower but as the hazel has not been coppiced for some years there are not many straight whips.  But we have been liaising with South Norwood country park who will be coppicing their willow and hazel very soon and are happy for us to use what they cut.

We have also installed a new bench in the children's play area.  We had applied for funding from the Skipton Community fund which paid for most of the bench with a little more used from the Waitrose fund.  Thank you to both.

Work continues in the gravel garden, and it is slowly maturing.  It is interesting to see which plants thrive and which plants are not so happy in this spot.   The only problem is keeping the larger stones that define the path in place!  They seem to walk around the park every week!  

Projects for Winter 2018/19

Winter means lots of leaf raking and collecting to make lovely leaf mulch for next year.  We are also continuing to maintain our natural seating benches as some have started to decay.  We have also been given lots of bulbs by Penny Read at Idverde which will make a colourful splash next spring.  Thanks Penny!    

Saturday, 8 September 2018

The Benefits of Street Trees

Having a tree outside your house can be annoying; blocking the light through your windows, roots which damage pavements and garden walls, and there are those leaves to clear every autumn. Nonetheless, there are huge benefits to having street trees that you may not be aware of. Trees improve air quality by trapping pollen and dust, and by absorbing pollutants. A single large tree can supply the Oxygen used by four people. They retain water that would normally run off the soil, reducing water use, and help prevent flooding and soil erosion. Deciduous trees shade the summer sun and create more amenable microclimates around them, reducing air conditioning costs in buildings.

Mature urban trees make neighbourhoods more pleasant by screening unattractive views and softening the most brutalist architecture. Trees absorb and block noise; in the right position reducing noise by 40%. Shoppers linger for longer and spend more where trees are present. Trees have even been shown to reduce reported crimes, car speeds, and cars parking on pavements. It is no surprise then, that having trees on your street can increase your house price by 15% or more and make it quicker to resell.

People living in urban areas now outstrip those in rural, and urban areas are the fastest growing form of land cover. Trees are also important urban wildlife refuges. A mature tree is an ecosystem providing habitats and food for a wide variety of birds, insects and other animals. In the urban environment they increase biodiversity where it is most needed.
Together with Parks, our mature street trees are a great legacy of Victorian Britain, and need to be defended from development and neglect. We are fortunate in South London that our local authorities see the benefits of mature urban street trees and wish to protect and encourage them. A recent report showed that Newcastle, Edinburgh and Sheffield cities fell the most trees. In these times of austerity, mature trees are replaced, favouring varieties that will not grow as tall, or damage pavements. However, small fast growing trees have shorter lifespans, and many saplings will not survive the urban environment, and may need to be replaced again.

Surely, we should protect those trees that have already proved themselves to be suitable? Pollarding and engineering solutions to kerbs are far better alternatives to felling.

Why not become a LB Bromley Tree Friend or volunteer with Trees for Cities?

Friday, 7 September 2018

8 Walks that will change how you view London’s Parks

8 Walks that will change how you view London’s Parks

Hiking in the UK’s many National Parks is great, but now that London is becoming a National Park City, have you ever thought about walks through the many fabulous London Parks? The chances are that you visited some of the biggest parks as a tourist, or maybe with your parents when you were a child, but that you have never been back since. That should change as soon as possible. We are certain that there are parts of those parks that you have never seen before – Rose Gardens, Wildflower Gardens, Boardwalks, Sunken Gardens, Mazes, Lakes and Ponds, Japanese Gardens, American Gardens.

These walks are all within the Oyster Card Zone, so no expensive journeys. They are also predominantly in South London, but we make no apology for that, as South London Parks tend to be quieter, and further away from the motorways and duel carriageways that dissect parks North of the River Thames. We are also just extremely biased. Apologies to East London. We like Victoria Park and the River Lea Valley too but just not enough.

Some of these walks use parts of the Capital Ring, a 78 mile circular walk that is, itself, predominantly through London Parks, and consists of 15 sections between Woolwich and Becton District Park: 
In South London, the Capital Ring flirts with the Green Chain Walk, but there is much more to the Green Chain than that:
Some of these walks are from the Inner London Ramblers Self-Guided Walks website:

8. Osterley Lock to Greenford

This walk is Section 8 of the Capital Ring and takes in a number of parks and green spaces in West London along the Grand Union Canal and the River Brent.

7. The Wandle Trail

This Trail mostly follows the River Wandle from Wandsworth to East Croydon or to Carshalton Ponds connecting a number of parks and green spaces in South West London including Merton Abbey Mills, Mordon Hall Gardens, Carew Manor, The Grove and Deen City Farm. It is part of the National Cycle Network Route 20 to Brighton.

6. The Waterlink Way

The Waterlink Way connects a number of parks and green spaces in South East London while following Ravensbourne and Pool Rivers, from Deptford Creek, through Ladywell Fields and the Pool Linear Park, to Cator Park and beyond. It is now established part of the National Cycle Network Route 21 to Newhaven.

5. Brixton to Crystal Palace Park

This walk takes in Brockwell Park, Ruskin Park, Dulwich Village, Dulwich Park, Sydenham Hill Wood Nature Reserve, Dulwich Woods, Sydenham Wells Park and Crystal Palace Park.

4. Hampstead Heath Circular Walk

This circular walk takes in Hampstead Heath, Parliament Hill (with best views of London), Kenwood House, Waterlow Park and Highgate Cemetery.

3. Highgate to Stoke Newington

This walk takes in the Parkland Walk, Finsbury Park, Stoke Newington Reservoirs, Clissold Park and House and Abney Park Cemetery. It is section 12 of the Capital Ring.

2. Hyde Park and Holland Park

This circular walk around Kensington takes in all corners of Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens and Holland Park. You will discover the Kyoto Japanese Garden, Sunken Garden and Rose Garden.

1. Wimbledon Common and Richmond Park

Walking across Wimbledon Common and Richmond Park you would be forgiven for forgetting that you were even in one of the world’s largest cities. This walk is Section 6 of the Capital Ring. However, make sure you detour from that official route to take in the Isabella Plantation within Richmond Park; an ornamental woodland garden that you will never believe can actually be free to visit.

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Penge Green Gym Summer Newsletter

Penge Green Gym Newsletter

A Fantastic Open Day and an exciting visitor!

What a wonderful, sunny day we had for our 7th annual open day.   Lots of local families came to help us celebrate another fantastic year in this wonderful park.  The children enjoyed getting their faces painted by our very talented volunteer Ching who also made balloon animals!  They also ran around the park finding clues to the treasure hunt.  We had fabulous music from Musica Medioca who we thank for their continued support, and the wonderful harpist Iona Duncan.  It was our best open day yet and we look forward to welcoming the local community to many more.  

Deputy Mayor Matthew Ryder and

Team London visit Winsford Gardens

As part of his tour of all the London boroughs deputy mayor Matthew Ryder and his colleagues from Team London came to visit Penge Green Gym at Winsford Gardens.  He toured the park, met our volunteers and learnt about the work Penge Green Gym does in the park.  He even planted a geranium for us.  We have named it Matthew Ryder!



We are sending out notification for our next AGM on Wednesday 11th July 2018.
WEDNESDAY 11th July 2018, 12.30pm

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Penge Festival Events

Our Open Day on Sunday 3rd June is just a very small part of the 3-week long 46th Annual Penge Festival which kicks off on Saturday 2nd with the Penge Fete in Royston Recreation Ground. More details of all the other events here:

On Wednesday 6th June, the Deputy Mayor of London [social integration, social mobility and community engagement], Mathew Ryder QC is visiting Winsford Gardens, Penge, between 3-3.45pm. Our Gardening session will be re-arranged, to run from 12.30-3.45pm. We hope you can come as he wants to hear your views on volunteering. 1st - 7th June is also the national #VolunteersWeek

We are also going to be in Winsford Gardens on the following Sunday 10th as part of the London Parks &Gardens Trust's Open Garden Squares Weekend. More details on that here:

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Early Summer Newsletter

Penge Green Gym Newsletter

1 Week to go!

Preparations are well under way for Penge Green Gyms annual open day on Sunday 3rd June.  Come along with friends and family and enjoy a lovely day out in Winsford Gardens!

Open Garden Squares Weekend

If you can't make along next Sunday we are also a part of the Open Garden Squares Weekend on Sunday10th June.  You can come along and have a chat with one of our volunteers about the garden and the work the volunteers do there.  Tickets for other gardens can also be bought from us.

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Winsford Gardens Annual Open Day 2018

Penge Green Gym is delighted to announce our annual Winsford Gardens Open Day will be held on Sunday 3rd June as part of the popular Penge Festival activities.

Starts at 11am and finish at 4pm.

Penge Green Gym has now been running for over seven years, and this will be the seventh time we have held an Open Day to show off our many achievements and aims. 

Last year the weather was kind to us, and we are hoping for some of the same summer sun this year.

This year we won't be changing from a formula that has worked extremely well in the past, so you can expect all the old favourites - plants for sale, cakes and refreshments, treasure hunt, face painting and other kids activities, and live music.

For more information see Facebook 
or Twitter @GreenGymPenge

For previous Open Days see our website:

Monday, 7 May 2018

UK parks boost quality of life by £34bn

Parks and green spaces generate health benefits that would cost more than £34bn if they did not exist, research by Fields in Trust has suggested.
The charity, which protects green spaces, also found that parks save the NHS about £111m a year.
The report coincides with the launch of a five-year plan to protect parks.
Green spaces can improve overall health for all, including "the young, isolated and the vulnerable", said parks and green spaces minister Rishi Sunak.
In the report, Revaluing Parks and Green Spaces, it is calculated that people would need to spend £974 each year to achieve the same level of life satisfaction they get from parks if they were not there.
That individual figure was then multiplied by the adult population, and the findings showed that parks generate more than £34bn of benefits.
The total cost saved by the NHS is based only on prevented GP appointments and does not include savings from non-referrals for treatments and prescriptions.The research comes at a time when 95% of park professionals say they are concerned about the lack of investment in green spaces, and 16% of people believe their local park is under threat of being built on.
Fields in Trust, which protects more than 2,700 spaces in the UK, has also launched a five-year strategy aimed at bringing 75% of the population within a 10-minute walk of a green space by 2022.
"Our parks are precious and I want to improve access to them for everyone," said Mr Sunak.
"These findings will play an important role in informing how we achieve this goal."

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Get to Know us Better - upcoming Winsford Gardens Events in June

Annual Winsford Gardens Open Day 
Sunday 3rd June 2018 from 11 am - 4 pm

Details on our website

Open Garden Squares Weekend 
Winsford Gardens tours on 
Sunday 10th June 2018 from 1 pm - 4 pm

Details on our website

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Spring finally on the way at Winsford Gardens

Penge Green Gym Newsletter

Spring finally on the way at Winsford Gardens

After what seems like a very long, cold and wet winter the warmer weather is finally on the way and that means our projects are full steam ahead!  Not least our so called 'dry gravel garden' which, for the last few weeks has looked more like a pond.  A combination of very wet weather and a layer of sticky of clay has meant the rain has not been able to drain away and left us scratching our heads about what to about the puddle!  In spite of this we have managed to start covering the area with weed suppressant and gravel.  And this week we hope to get it all covered, and the planting can finally begin.

Penge Green Gym at community fundraising event
Members of the committee attended this event at Bromley Civic centre, along with the Mayor Councillor Kathy Bance and Councillor William Huntingdon-Thresher.  Chairperson, Brenda Little spoke about the ways in which PGG have raised money for various projects and the ways that other community groups can take advantage of the funds available in this sector.  The event was covered in the local press and social media.

A big thank you to Waitrose

We would like to thank Waitrose Community matters green token month for raising £256 for Penge Green Gym.  Thank you to all our supporters for dropping a token in our box!

More projects for spring

Other projects that we have been able to get on with in the chilly weather includes finishing our path in the growing area which will make it easier to move in and out of the area with wheel barrows.  We've also made a low hazel fence around our wildlife pond.  We've also seen that we've got frogspawn for the first time, and the tadpoles are now hatching.  We've also planted 10 hazel trees kindly donated by Penny Read at Idverde.

We may have had a chilly start to 2018 but nothing stops the PGG crew!

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

UK to Introduce Bottle Deposit Scheme

It was announced today that the UK to introduce Bottle Deposit Scheme after many years of campaigning by environmental groups, and the obvious success of such schemes in other countries. It only requires a cursory look around parks, streets and watercourses to see that the majority of the litter is made up of plastic bottles and aluminium cans. If you have ever done any kind of litter picking in those places bottles and can will make up most of your haul. In addition, bottles and cans are also some of the most easily recycled items from the waste stream.

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Penge Green Gym Newsletter February 2018

Penge Green Gym Newsletter

A Happy New Year for Penge Green Gym thanks to
Waitrose Community Matters

Penge Green Gym has been fortunate to be nominated once more for the Waitrose Community Matters grant scheme.  If you visit Waitrose Beckenham during the month of February please pick up a green token or 2 from the tills and post them into the boxes.  Thank you, every token counts!

Keeping busy in the chilly weather 
We have been busy with projects such as planting new hedgerow whips in our borders.  These are great for creating habitat for the local wildlife such as small birds and mammals. It was lovely to see Peter Hutchings from TCV on the day we planted these.  Many thanks for your help.   We have also been getting on with our new path in the growing area which will help redefine the paths and hopefully help with negotiating the slippery slope with a wheelbarrow down to the wildlife pond and storage areas.

We are slowly starting our new garden area in the old wildflower meadow but ironically as we are started to dig out the new path for a dry gravel garden it became waterlogged!  Hopefully we will get some dryer days in the coming weeks (like the one below) so that we can start to put hardcore and gravel down.