Park has helped us through a difficult year

December 22 2020
Park has helped us through a difficult year

News from the Friends of Eastville Park. Picture: Neil Green

"IT means everything to us to have this park on our doorstep.

"Somewhere so special that as soon as we walk into it, we feel a sense of relief at leaving all of our worries and concerns behind and embarking on a journey through a place so wonderfully diverse with so much wildlife and lovely walks beside the river."

It’s always lovely to receive messages like this one from last week. It likely resonates with many who are lucky enough to live close by and those from further away who enjoy a visit to East Bristol’s ‘jewel in the crown’.

Over the last month or two we have seen a marked increase in visitors, who have been treated to a spectacular array of wildlife around the lake, in the woods and along the river.

Although the otters have not made many appearances of late, the arrival of cormorants and an influx of many visiting bird varieties have been a big draw, and attracted many photographers who have managed to capture some incredible images which are all displayed on our Facebook group page.

The picture shown – one of our herons with eyes much bigger than its belly – is a great example of those special moments that stop you in your tracks!

The Friends of Eastville Park would like to thank everyone who has visited the park through difficult times during the past year. Everything considered, we have come through until now as well as could be expected, and with very few exceptions, we’ve all used the park well and responsibly.

It’s been very noticeable how many more families are around, come rain or shine, and it’s lovely to see children really learning to appreciate the natural surroundings the park offers.

As we approach winter, with autumn behind us, we are beginning to see the signs of the new season, when the park takes on a new look and, with temperatures dropping, we’ll all be wrapping up well against the cold!

Although our group activities have been limited this year, we haven’t been idle by any stretch of the imagination. We managed to get a Pop-up Café in before lockdown and have spent a lot of time on renovations at the Nissen Hut, with some great support from the Young Rangers.

When the cafes start up again, we shall be without our driving force in the kitchen, June Pugsley, who is (unfortunately for us) moving away from the area. We wish you all the best, June, and want you to know that your expertise, management skills and loveliness will be sorely missed.

Our volunteering sessions, though limited in size and scope during the year have managed to continue with great results around the Community Garden thanks to regular weekly sessions with GoodGym and members of our community.

Our 2021 calendar is doing very well, with around 700 waiting to be displayed on walls in the New Year! We have also linked up with Frenchay Christmas Tree Farm again and are delighted that so many of you have chosen to buy your trees from us, which raises much-needed funds for our work. The farm has been very generous in their support, so a big thank-you to Simon.

A local community-led effort to make improvements to the Old Swimming Pool is being planned for the near future, so we should start to see some changes there going into the New Year and Spring.

In lieu of our annual Santa's Grotto, we are busy preparing for a Christmas-themed Community Garden display, with lots of lights and fantastic characters as you’ve never seen them before. The display will open from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day, until 7pm each day. We’d love you to come by and get just a little bit of the magic of Christmas.

We hope everyone has a lovely Christmas and New Year and send you all our best wishes.

The Parkie