Chairman’s Report [Peter Gibbs]
If there is an upside to the coronavirus it has been to give our park a very welcome respite from damaging commercial events this year. As a result, all our meadows are green and undamaged – open for visitors in their thousands to enjoy any day. We continue our campaign to restore the peace permanently and remove these profitless events from TCP.
We also look forward enthusiastically to welcoming back the community activities that make TCP such a community hub. Covid 19 has proven again that our open spaces are vital in reuniting us with nature and providing places to relax, exercise and socialise, albeit in smaller groups. A unique contribution to the quality of life for everyone in our community.
The water features are in much better shape this year. The lakes have recovered from the accidental draining of 2019 and the refurbished Limes Avenue pond has been full for most of the spring with plenty of wildlife. The Water Garden was particularly attractive in its spring plumage; the bulbs planted by the Friends injected a delightful splash of early colour, with frogspawn wriggling in the pools. Flowing water ceased in the height of summer but the Parks Department has been active on maintenance, so visitors continue to enjoy the unique serenity of our “secret” garden.
Over the water, the Berkeley building works have continued at pace. The north lawn is now largely clear of construction works. The mansion is shrouded in scaffolding and we have no doubt will later emerge in great shape, a focal point preserved for all to enjoy and value from every point in the park. More residents have moved into the campus and we welcome them all to the unique heritage of Trent Country Park.
Unfortunately, another cloud has arrived on our horizon, the proposed closure of the nearby Cockfosters station car park where TfL wants to build 350 dwellings to bolster its finances. Detailed plans will be revealed shortly but the 4 towers rising to 14 stories will cast more than a shadow over our park if permitted. The Friends are campaigning with Save our Cockfosters to stop this unnecessary project, which will contribute nothing to Cockfosters, remove park-and-ride for local and distance commuters, decant commuter parking into our park and neighbouring streets, and impact negatively on our community.
More than ever, the price of maintaining quality of living in the suburbs is constant vigilance and vigorous intervention from the whole community.
Your committee looks forward to the day when we can resume meetings and exchange views on enhancing our great park.
Vice Chair’s View [Carol Fisk]
Peter mentioned a possible upside to the Covid crisis. Another has been having the time to explore every corner of the park with no ambient traffic or plane noise to drown out the birdsong. The first few weeks of lockdown as all the blossoms burst out were quite magical. It was lovely to meet so many people taking their permitted exercise in Trent Park, many of whom hadn’t ventured into the park before. I enjoyed all our socially-distanced conversations and hope everyone will continue to visit – and hopefully play a role in advocating for the park. It’s been great to have so many emails and messages about the park [compliments, parking, toilets, fishing, froglets, etc.] and to see our Facebook page liked by so many people. We welcome your comments and concerns either via Facebook or email, so please keep them coming. We’ll help wherever we can.
Several people have been in touch offering to volunteer on projects. Thank you! We don’t have anything planned at present, but we’ll contact you when we do. A special thanks to those of you who just went out and picked up litter on your own! Thames21 will have some volunteer opportunities in the park soon [see below].
A note about Snakes Lane and the car park. Berkeley informs us that the car park is still filled with construction traffic most days so there are no immediate plans to reopen the road or car park to the public.
We are exploring whether or not an online Friends meeting will be possible in two or three months. We’ll let you know.
News from the Wildlife Rescue Ambulance Service [WRAS] [Barry Smitherman]
The pandemic hit the animal centre hard. We had trouble getting food supplies for the animals and being closed to visitors meant that we lost the main source of our income. We were very pleased that so many people came to our aid with donations of food and we were very lucky to be able to do an appeal on ITV that soon had donations of funds coming in. We have been open every day to receive casualties of injured wildlife and found ourselves more busy than at any other times because other animal rescue centres were closed or not taking in any animals. We are still very busy but as visitors are coming along we are managing financially for now – but we still need to raise more to survive the winter months . https://www.wras-enfieldwildlife.org.uk/
News from Thames21 [Stephen Haywood]
The Thames21 Natural Flood Management [NFM] project on the Salmons Brook continues work in Trent Park, reducing flood risk to parts of Enfield downstream. Three new flood retention ponds, that will help to reduce flood risk downstream and improve habitat space, are still in the planning stages with the Council, but proposals have been agreed for more leaky dams to be built within the existing woodland. Look out for the next volunteer leaky dam building days led by Stephen Haywood, which will be advertised on the Thames21 and Friends websites and social media platforms in due course.
If you would like to help right now in your own time, Thames21 are looking for help surveying the effectiveness of the current leaky dams and the changes that happen over time. This is done using a simple smartphone survey app – Contact Stephen.Haywood@thames21.org.uk for more details.
Thames21 is also involved in the large-scale woodland creation scheme to restore part of Enfield Chase. Volunteer planting days will start in November. Over the next two years the plan is to plant 100,000 trees that will link Trent Park to Chase Hospital and the edges of Whitewebbs. This will follow the London Loop with much needed access improvements and will also host many NFM features such as swales and ponds. More information can be read here: https://new.enfield.gov.uk/news-and-events/thousands-of-new-trees-to-give-enfield-green-lungs/
News from Tree House Friends [Stef Thann]
Tree House Friends is a fully outdoors based nursery and preschool. We use the weather conditions to plan our day, so when it’s windy, we make kites, when it’s raining, we play with water and when it’s sunny, we explore the woods and nature around us. We place a high value on mental well-being and want to connect people within our community with each other. If you would like spend some time outdoors but don’t want to do it on your own, feel free to get in touch with us. We welcome all ages and ethnicities and we are certain, this will be an unforgettable experience for you. We cook over the fire, read and play stories and build whatever we need for our day. All of us are first aid trained, so you are in good hands. You can contact Stef via the website: https://www.treehousefriends.co.uk/
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 renew or join here via PayPal. You can also 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 explore the website while you are here for information about the park, its history, ecology and much more! 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