Grove Park Community Group
Postal Address:
268 Baring Road
Grove Park
SE12 0DS
Telephone: 020 8857 7980
Registered Charity No.: 1046082
Chris Blake
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Grove Park Nature Reserve

About the Reserve


Grove Park Nature Reserve 1 Grove Park Nature Reserve 2 Grove Park Nature Reserve 3Grove Park Nature Reserve 4 Grove Park Nature Reserve 5


The Nature Reserve which is adjacent to the Ringway Centre contains a variety of habitats, supporting many plants and animals. Its position, near to the railway and other green spaces, adds to its historical and wildlife value.


A good range of birds, including chaffinch and willow warbler, use the site, and ant hills of the yellow meadow ant are dotted throughout the grasslands. At the northern end of the reserve is a plum thicket that produces a fabulous crop of fruit in autumn, which is greatly appreciated by birds, wasps, foxes and local people. (For birds observed at the Ringway centre see The Great Ringway Birdwatch.


Part of the Reserve was a Victorian garden which stretched to the railway line from the near-by house where Edith Nesbit, author of The Railway Children, lived from 1894-1899. Inspiration for her writing and that of colleagues like George Bernard Shaw, Beatrice Webb and HG Wells, who sometimes met at her house, may have been drawn from these views and from local children of the area.


The Reserve is managed by Lewisham's Nature Conservation Service in partnership with volunteer conservation groups and the local 'Friends of' group.


Nick Pond

(Additional information on the Nature Reserve is to be found on the London Borough of Lewisham website. Click Here. )


Report - October 2011 by Mark Ingleby, Chair - Friends of Grove Park Nature Reserve


Grove Park Nature Reserve wins Green Pennant for 3rd successive year!


Friends of Grove Park Nature Reserve are proud to announce that we have won their first hat-trick of the coveted Green Pennant Award – now called the Green Flag Community Award. This is an outstanding achievement in Lewisham Borough, only matched by Mayow Park (who are mainly a park rather than a nature reserve). We are hoping to display the flag on or near our new railway-traveller friendly banner at the bottom of the embankment, down from the peace sculpture, so that commuters are alerted to the achievements and opportunities of the Nature Reserve.


The quality of all our efforts and imagination are perhaps reflected in the unusually small number of recommendations for further enhancement that the judges made. They were particularly impressed by our new audio guide, which was launched on our Open Day in near rain-forest conditions on Saturday, July 16th by Deputy Mayor Cllr Alan Smith and our MP, Heidi Alexander, capably aided by a brave group of young singers from Baring School with their teachers, who celebrated the launch and their inclusion on the audio guide with some specially prepared songs for the occasion. Many thanks to our volunteers who maintained a roaring trade in teas and cakes, bird boxes and even story-telling under the canopies as the heavens poured forth.


Don’t forget, the audio guide still runs 24-7 and you can access it at any time from 020 8588 1283, followed by pressing – after the beep - whatever number of the six waymark posts you are standing by or wish to hear. There is a slight pause before the beginning of each presentation.


Jungle conditions of a more blackberry/bramble kind persist at the top of the ‘horse meadow’ land, where we have been given permission to build a wheel-chair friendly path from the grounds of the Ringway Centre to the Railway Childrens’ Walk entrance to the Reserve. We are grateful to the local Assembly for voting us the required funds for this project, which will make a much easier and more pleasantly rural approach to the Nature Reserve for visitors from the centre of Grove Park, as well as increasing the use and attraction of the Ringway Centre to Nature Reserve visitors, particularly school parties and less easily mobile pedestrians. Work is planned to commence over the late autumn.


Finally, many and special thanks to our retiring Treasurer, Diana James, for all her unstinting patience and efficiency with our accounts and transactions over the last 4 years.


Report - Summer 2011 by Mark Ingleby, Chair - Friends of Grove Park Nature Reserve


Thanks to the continued efforts of our small but dedicated groups of volunteers, Grove Park Nature Reserve (GPNR) continues to enhance both its excellent conservation record and its visitor amenities. We will shortly be competing for a record consecutive third Green Pennant Award, and some of the improvements we have been making stem from their last recommendations:


Firstly, we have been able to purchase and install a secure on-site container shed and a substantial amount of tools and equipment with money from the Council’s Locality Fund. Secondly, we have been looking for ways to raise the profile of the Reserve in the local community, and so we are launching two innovations this summer – bee hives (to create GPNR Honey) and a unique mobile phone accessed audio guide, spoken by a mystery celebrity British actor (we think it’s Sean Pertwee), to guide visitors round the site.


Our Pilot Audio Guide will be accessed by a landline number dialled from a visitor's mobile, from which they will be able to hear two minutes of commentary and sounds spread across all six of the strategically placed waymark posts in the Reserve. This is an audio system used for example in Central Park, New York City, and in the Alcatraz museum in San Francisco, but not, to our knowledge widely used in the UK, if at all.


This will certainly be a first for Lewisham and South East London, so we are inviting our mayor to officially launch the system at our Open Day on Saturday, July 16th from 12 noon to 3pm. We hope to hear again from some of the local schools’ singers whom you can hear on the mobile audio guide in the section by the Tutu Peace Sculpture, as recorded at its unveiling in September 2009. There will also be opportunities for bat and bird box making, guided walks, story telling and consuming locally baked teas and cakes.


Thanks to the imagination and sensitivity of our volunteers, we have also been able to develop informal trails and desire lines into some of the less explored parts of the Nature Reserve, which are always popular with younger, accompanied children, so there will be plenty to do...


Thirdly, we are approaching the Local Assembly for a grant to help create a more direct and wheel-chair friendly path from the grounds of the Ringway Centre to the Railway Childrens’ Walk gate of the Reserve, to make a much easier and more pleasantly rural approach for visitors to the Nature Reserve from the centre of Grove Park. Come and have your say and use your vote...