London is famed for it’s vast array of parks. Indeed, I’d not be surprised to find out it has more green space than most towns and cities in the UK’s southeast. It’s one of the many things I love about our capital city. Whilst providing green space for the many residents who have none of their own, you can also (depending upon the park) run, jog, walk, and stroll, ride a horse, row a boat (or float your toy boat), see deer, ducks and other forms of wildlife, cycle, play football (and softball), sit on a park bench to read or people watch, and run the legs off your energy-laden children and/or dogs.
One of the joys of moving to Sussex has been the abundance of surrounding countryside, but one unexpected gem is my little local park. Although we noticed it when viewing the apartment, it was more in a “oh look, a children’s playground – that’ll be handy for visits from the grandchild” manner. But what a boon it has proven to be. I am better – both physically and mentally – for a daily walk, so it’s been perfect to have somewhere other than pavements (sidewalks for those across the pond) to pound along.
Despite being small – really quite pocket sized in fact – it manages to provide space for everyone. Regular users include an extremely elderly lady who rides her mobility scooter into the park, before taking herself off for a very slow stroll with her walking stick around its perimeter. Right alongside her parked scooter is a basketball/football court where the pre-teens and young teens hang out, together with a covered pavilion where they gather in less clement weather. Families and young adults tend to congregate around the picnic tables, some using the BBQ area, and the two playgrounds are well used by those with young children. With the number of apartments and homes with no outdoor space hereabouts, it must have been a real lifeline of late to more than just me. And of course, there’s the many dog walkers, including the poodle whose owner has been visibly struggling with the bonding process. although I am pleased to report that there’s now been success 🙂
This is in the larger portion of the park, but off to the side is my favourite section. Smaller and separated by walls covered in decorative planting… is the quiet bit. Many more benches, a couple of bridges over a small (planted up) ditch, a winding pathway, multiple fruit trees, lovely seasonal underplanting, and a vast area filled with fresh herbs. As I walk past, I brush my fingers over the herbs to release their scent – who couldn’t love having access to free aromatherapy? Today, two groups of women were enjoying a coffee and a chat sitting outside in the sunshine – and how much more pleasant must that have been than at a busy roadside cafe? The other day I was overtaken by a young woman carrying a yoga mat, who took up space in the corner to do her exercises. Whenever I’ve experienced cabin fever during the pandemic, a quick stroll to the park for a read under large oak trees proved to be the ideal solution.
The gardens are managed by volunteers and this year there’s been a lovely display of irises…
There was also this bee busy pollinating apple trees providing a welcome of the summer to come…
I love how this small space manages to cater for all age groups in our little community.
What do you love in your local area?
© Debra Carey, 2021