Welcome to Newham Green Gym, the East Ham Nature Reserve Conservation Volunteers
Please note that Green Gym will not be meeting until further notice. In the meantime, stay well and come and join us when the difficult times are over.
The nature reserve is open every day, so please visit. It is looking wonderfully wild with lots of flowers in the lawns round the church because they have not been mown. Please don’t pick any flowers. The bees and butterflies need them much more than you do.
If sweaty gyms are not for you, why not join our friendly group to exercise in the open air, giving nature a helping hand at the same time? We work to maintain the diversity of habitats at the nature reserve. We do a variety of tasks from digging out brambles to planting wildflowers and clearing ivy from gravestones and paths. We also do more specialised tasks like hedge laying, coppicing and scything. There is something suitable for everyone and you can work at your own pace.
During the winter we cleared some areas of woodland and meadow so that we could plant wild flower seeds in the open ground. You may have been out in woods and seen cut back trees and wondered why – at first glance it doesn’t look a lot like conservation! This is called coppicing, and it is a very important conservation practice. Coppicing is only carried out in winter as the trees are dormant and there are no birds’ nests that may be disturbed. We have coppiced hazel trees, which have grown too big. By cutting them near the ground we can get them to grow as straight poles, which we use for woven fences.
Come and meet some of the inhabitants of the nature reserve. Our slow worms and common lizards are back now the weather has warmed up. You may notice squares of roofing felt around. These are refugia for slow worms. If you lift them you may find slow worms underneath, but make sure you put them back in exactly the same place. If you look under logs there are plenty of minibeasts like wood lice, slugs and snails to find.
Plants are growing fast at this time of year. The bluebells have finished and the tall cow parsley, also known by the prettier name Queen Anne’s lace is dying down. They have not lasted as long as usual because it has been too hot and dry for them. Summer flowers are appearing in the meadows. Look out for red and white campions. We have a small patch of yellow rattle, which is semi-parasitic on grasses. We are trying to grow more of it to suppress the grass and allow other flowers to grow.
Here is a list of animals and plants featured in our old newsletters Animals and plants
We have a commissioned art work, a willow circle near the bridge. The second work started to decay so it has been removed to the compost heap. Other works have been added by members of the public and Green Gym members.
The idea is that the works will gradually decay, becoming habitats and food for animals and plants, which will themselves decay. It illustrates the cycle of life that is essential to existence. Come and see what you think.
Our address is East Ham Nature Reserve, Norman Road, London E6 6HN.
We meet every Wednesday 10am-1pm. Even if you don’t want to work, come along at 11.30am for hot drinks, biscuits and chat. We make a small contribution of £1, or whatever you can afford, to cover our costs.
If you would like to join our group, just turn up wearing suitable clothes and shoes (there are a lot of brambles and stinging nettles on the site). We provide gloves and tools.
Please note that, as all our tasks involve using sharp tools, we cannot take responsibility for under 18s. Children are welcome, but must be supervised at all times by a responsible adult.
For more information Contact: Judi 020 8470 7680 or Frances 078 4597 3156 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
We are an independent community group, which is a member of the TCV Community
Network, but is not run by TCV leaders.
There is a second Newham Green Gym, which is the Greenway Orchard Project, run by trained TCV leaders. They focus particularly on mental health issues. For information go to http://www.tcv.org.uk/london/green-gym-london/newham-green-gym