Friends of Eastville Park: We're going to be on TV - again!

October 04 2019

News from the Friends of Eastville Park

EASTVILLE Park has had some fantastic positive media exposure over the last couple of years, including Springwatch, CountryfileandRomeo and Juliet at the old swimming pool, among others. It has done a great job of celebrating what is so special about our park and have reached huge audiences nationwide. So imagine our excitement when we were approached by BBC Gardeners' World to ask if we’d be happy for them to come along and make a programme with us about our Community Garden project at the Nissen hut! The current series is featuring gardens that have been designed and created to promote well-being and value for the local community, and focuses on the role that volunteers play in making them work so well. The garden compliments so well our ambition to regenerate this sadly neglected space and establish a ‘social hub’ alongside a thriving bowling scene in the park. This is a great opportunity to celebrate our volunteers, so we’ve spent the last couple of weeks preparing for the programme - filming was taking place on October 1. There is still uncertainty about the long-term future of the bowling club, the buildings and the space around but we are working hard having the conversations that we hope will lead to some positive outcome and an exciting future.

Nissen hut renovations are coming along well and the building has a whole new look. The amazing wall murals are attracting a lot of attention and admiration from park users. Our summer season of pop-up cafes has come to an end and we’d like to thank everyone who helped to make it such a success. We are always open to ideas for activities at the hut.

At the car park, work is nearing completion at Bristol’s first electric vehicle rapid charging hub. We anticipate it being fully operational sometime in October, including toilets, which will be free to use. Lighting and CCTV installation is in progress and the parks catering department is considering options as an alternative to installing a refreshments kiosk – we’ll keep you informed of developments.

We have launched a survey that will only take five minutes of your time but will be a great help to us in our efforts to apply for our Heritage Lottery Fund bid. You can find it on our FB page or Your voice matters, so please give us your views.

We are also gathering as much information as possible about the history of Eastville Park. We’d be delighted to hear from you, especially if you have anything that helps us to build a picture of the history of the bowling pavilion, including any photographs or other material from the 1920s up until the Second World War.

Following the Tokyo World weekender opinion is, as ever, divided about the impact of large events on our park. The organisers have always responded to complaints as best they can and introduced changes to meet local residents' concerns and improve facilities at the site.

It’s a sure fire way of knowing that the year is moving on when we start talking about Christmas, so no excuses for announcing that this year’s Santa’s Grotto is happening on Sunday December 8. We’ve brought the date forward by a week and have changed the location from the lake to the old bowling green, next to the playground. It’s enclosed, has all the services near to hand and easier to get to. With everything under cover in giant marquees, there’ll be no queuing in the rain.

The Friends of Eastville Park 2020 calendar is at the printers. Each year Paul and Mo Lewis spend a lifetime poring over hundreds of photographs taken by local park users and whittling them down to those final 12 that will adorn the pages that hang on walls all over the world and remind us all just how lucky we are to have this glorious park on our doorstep. The calendar will be available from a range of outlets across the area later this month.

There’s still plenty of wildlife to see in the park. Recent sightings of little grebe and teal on the lake, a few bats making the most of the warm nights while they lasted and a remarkable family of kingfishers putting on a fabulous show along the river. We’ve not seen much of the otters this summer: they’re certainly being sighted further upstream, though so at least others are having the joy of watching their antics.

Talking of antics, Eastville Ernie, our beloved boat on the lake, was ‘taken’ for an adventure downstream and ended up below the M32, near IKEA. Thanks to sharp eyes from the top deck of No 48 bus, we were able to bring him back to us without any damage and he’ll be back at the lake soon.

As winter approaches, take yourself down into the park and along the riverside to watch the colours and the sounds change all around you. Find solitude or peace, share the path with fellow travellers and make friends but most important of all, take a little piece of the spirit of the park home with you.


The Parkie