Somehow “unprecedented” doesn’t quite cover the present dilemma for us all. We had been hoping to see many of you at our public meeting on April 29 but that was, of course, cancelled and we are replacing it with this newsletter. We hope to have our usual public meeting in October or November with another newsletter before that.
Trent Country Park is proving an oasis in the middle of the current crisis and Nature is encouraging us with new life springing up in our Park. It’s been a spectacular start to the season. The Water Garden is especially beautiful this year, full of flowers and flowing with water now the lake has returned to its normal level.
Berkeley’s work is progressing so we can see again the broad spread of the lawns emerging. When the new limes walk is installed it will be magnificent. The mansion is being painstakingly curated to better health under its lattice of scaffolding and new residents are moving in to the estate – welcome all. We have much to be grateful for.
The Friends have pressed hard to keep the park open during the emergency and to publicise the new rules and regulations. We trust car access will be reinstated as soon as it is within guidelines to do so. We understand that work is commencing on rebuilding Cockfosters Grade 2 listed gate, smashed last summer by events trucks.
Trent Park Animal Centre Unfortunately the valuable animal sanctuary has suffered since February through lack of customers and support – an appeal is out now to help the Smithermans keep going with the vital work they do. You can learn more on their Facebook page: WRAS-Enfield
Go Ape and the cafe are strangely silent and the kids’ play areas empty when they should be bustling. Spring will come late for them but the Friends are keeping a close eye on developments and will do our best to support recovery and restoration wherever possible.
Mega Events One boon for this year is that the destructive commercial events planned for high summer are most unlikely to take place whilst social distancing continues. But we cannot take a breather because Enfield Council is not relenting in its mission to commercialise our park. A review of the Council’s events strategy was completed in February but the Council is denying us sight of its recommendations.
The Council has also not responded to our calculation, based on its gross figures, that the revenue from commercial events does not even cover the costs of managing them, so makes no net contribution to revenue. This is not a healthy situation and bodes badly for the whole community as well as the park’s many visitors.
Cockfosters Station Car Park development Our next hurdle is the 4 massive housing towers (up to 14 stories) proposed by TfL on the Cockfosters Station car park. These have the potential to ruin the skyline from key areas of the park and to decant commuters into Trent Park’s car park when the station car park is closed. We are working with all sections of the community to mitigate this development.
News from Tree House Friends
To celebrate the restored pond’s first generation of ducklings, Tree House Friends have come up with a fun idea. Once they re-open, you will be able to exchange an ‘act of kindness’ to the park, such as picking up litter or donating British wildflower seeds, for some eco-friendly, healthy duck food. More on this when the project is launched.
There are also ducklings in the pond by the Cockfosters gate and a good crop of tadpoles in the Water Garden. Nature is busy doing its thing.
Tree House Friends are also looking for good locations for beehives and volunteers interested in helping with them. You can contact Stef via the website: https://www.treehousefriends.co.uk/
News from Thames21 The majority of the 2100 trees planted in 2019 are doing well. Some cherry trees and willow planted in March 19 are already popping out the top of the tubes. Unfortunately some were lost to theft, vandalism (removal of the guard so the deer ate them), and natural causes. When volunteering events resume, Thames21 hopes to arrange volunteering sessions to help with general maintenance of the trees and more leaky dam building. Keep an eye on the Friends Facebook page for more information.
Volunteer citizen scientists are also needed to monitor the Natural Flood Management [NFM] project. No experience is required and Thames21 can provide training over Zoom for either the digital (using an app on your phone or tablet) or paper versions.
Thames21 is still awaiting the outcome of the planning applications for the three flood water retention and habitat ponds within the park (a joint project with Froglife and Enfield Council). If granted they hope to start the works ASAP to minimise disruption during the busier summer months.
News from Enfield’s Parks Department Parks staff are continuing to maintain the park during these times. Parks Patrols, who are advising park users about social distancing and gatherings, will continue until at least 15th May 2020.
Car Parks remain closed to support government guidelines regarding unnecessary travel, while all pedestrian gates and access points remain open and the park is closed as per normal timelines at this time of year.
Staff levels are good within the parks department across all areas, allowing them to operate as ‘business as usual’ to the best of their ability, with the safety of the staff and park users being paramount.
Membership Thanks to those of you who renewed for 2020 and to our Lifetime members. If you have not yet renewed or joined, please take this as a gentle reminder to visit our website, where you can renew or join via PayPal and find instructions for doing it by post.
Membership is open to all – a person or family, a local club, school, business, association or other group with an interest in Trent Country Park. Your membership dues of £4 per year are used for the basic running costs of the organisation, such as hall rental, printing and postage.
Website and Social Media Please visit our website for information about the park, its history, ecology and much more! https://friendsoftrentcountrypark.org.uk/ You can also join the Friends there via PayPal. And please Like us on Facebook and join our Twitter feed too. We’ll keep you informed!
Contacts Please feel free to contact us if you have any concerns about the park or would like to join or help the Friends committee. You may also want to share your concerns with the three Cockfosters Ward Councillors, as follows:
Park issues can also be reported via the Council website at: https://new.enfield.gov.uk/services/leisure-and-culture/parks-and-open-spaces/parks/
Wishing you good health and many happy visits to Trent Park!
The Friends of Trent Country Park committee