Local photographer, Sara Lloyd, grabbed her camera and headed off to Dulwich Park for a guided walk
With all the wonderful parks and gardens on our doorstep, I wonder if like me, you sometimes ponder on what it takes to keep them in order throughout the year. With Dulwich Park, Peckham Rye Park and the Horniman Gardens on our doorstep we are spoilt for choice and to that extent may take them for granted. With this in mind, I decided to find out more and recently attended a guided walk in Dulwich Park.
The walk itself was lead by Head Gardener, Rick Glenn and his apprentice Christina Highman. With the help of four rather grandly named Garden Maintenance Operatives, this surprisingly small group of people have the duty of looking after the 75 acres of the park, and the less enviable task of keeping on top of the litter and dog mess. In addition to the paid staff, a voluntary group called the Friends of Dulwich Park meet on the first Saturday of every month. They implement improvements to the park, rather than maintenance, such as the recent Winter Garden, which was bursting with colour in the darkest of seasons.
Attending one of these walks gives you a wonderful opportunity to meet the people behind the parks, with the added incentive that you can find out details that would normally go unnoticed or hidden from the casual glance. A typical example of this was the Roseberry House project behind one of the gatehouses. This educational project is in its infancy and will provide the local community with an allotment site that you can imagine school children will devour in every sense of the word. Nothing has been wasted and trees cleared to make way for this site have been put to good use making a dead hedge paradise for insects and bugs. Rick also pointed out land boundaries marked by oak trees dating back to when the primary use was agricultural, as well as oddities such as aerial tree roots normally seen in tropical countries.
What you come away with having attended one of these walks is the overwhelming number of functions that the park is performing. Not only does is serve different sections of the community from dog walkers to power walkers with prams, but diverse areas of the park are serving a variety of purposes – from the rare urban Little Grebes breeding on the lake to the conservation areas designed to promote diversity. Southwark Community Outreach Officer, Niki Efstratiou, also pointed out how open Southwark Council is for all sections of the community to share in the facilities of the park and increase it usage. This really is a park for all people.
Guided walks are held every season, so there is plenty of opportunity to fit one in at some time during the year. Even well behaved dogs are welcome!
Additional images can be seen at www.saralloyd.co.uk.