Welcome to Newham Green Gym, the East Ham Nature Reserve Conservation Volunteers
We are back at the nature reserve! We are meeting every Wednesday and the last Saturday of each month 10am – 1pm and there is lots of work to do.
Because Covid restrictions still apply we can only work in small groups of up to 6 people, so numbers may have to be limited. Please contact Penny by email firstname.lastname@example.org to let her know you will be coming so we can organise the session.
The nature reserve is open every day, so please visit. Please don’t pick any flowers. The bees and butterflies need them much more than you do.
There are lots of articles now encouraging people to forage for food. It is OK on a very small scale, but if too many people take too much it destroys the habitats, so our plants and animals cannot survive. Here are the rules:
- Only take a small quantity, maximum 150g – think a small bag of salad at the supermarket.
- Use a sharp tool so you don’t accidentally pull out the roots. You must not dig up plants.
- Don’t pick in one place. Take a leaf here and a leaf there.
- Leave no trace. Don’t trample any plants, and don’t disturb wildlife. Ensure areas don’t look damaged.
- Only pick from where there are lots of plants. If you see bald patches, do not pick there. Collect from more than one spot, and away from footpath edges (it looks bad, and think dog wee…).
If you are ever not 100% sure of what you are picking, please do not forage it. We wouldn’t want you to accidentally poison yourself.
Green Gym is not a gym!
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.
Because we only managed a few weeks work last summer, everything has gone wild. There is a thick carpet of goosegrass in many places. It swamps other plants and prevents seeds germinating. Luckily it is easy to remove, but we need to get it soon before it spread its seeds everywhere. We are constantly clearing paths as ivy and brambles try to block them. Ivy is also spreading across the meadows, which are really important sites for the slow worms and common lizards.
Come and meet some of the inhabitants of the nature reserve. Our slow worms are back, although we have not seen any common lizards yet. It is still too cold for them. 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.
The cherry trees are still in bloom and the other trees are coming into leaf. The woods look beautiful with lots of bluebells. There are also “pinkbells” and “whitebells”, which have escaped from gardens. They look very pretty, although we would prefer to have more of the native variety. Some of the paths are almost hidden by cow parsley, also known as Queen Anne’s Lace. It has ferny leaves and grows shoulder high in places.
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. 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 and the last Saturday of each month 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, please let Penny know by emailing email@example.com so we can organise groups whilst we have Covid restrictions.
If you come to work please wear 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 email firstname.lastname@example.org
or phone Frances 078 4597 3156
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