02 May 2016

Garthorne Road Nature Reserve Walk

Saturday 14th May, 2:30pm - Garthorne Road Nature Reserve guided tour. Starting from the end of Beadnell Road

Bitter Vetchling photographed in 2008 in Garthorne Road Nature Reserve. A plant in the pea family which is rare in London.

28 April 2016

Havelock Walk Open Studios

7th,8th & 14th,15th May from 11am - 6pm

Hidden in plain sight, Havelock Walk is home to a community of artists, designers and musicians in the centre of Forest Hill. Come find them and you will discover a cobbled mews with a delightfully incongruous mix of buildings. Wander through the studios, chat with the artists and designers; relax in the sunshine while you take in a live music set or sample some street food.

Havelock Walk is located off London Road, between Santander and M&Co.

25 April 2016

An ode to Forest Hill

By our Ever Living Poet, Mr.William Shakespeare brought back to life in 2016 by the Forest Hill Society

The Forest that did clothe this very hill
My good Queen Liz did chop down for her ships
And left a gap that was just naught and nil,
But soon rose up a place on all our lips:
A magic place of walrus and of pub
Of Shi-shi caf├ęs, wondrous fine boutiques
Now bringing us by Overground to rub
Along in taverns where we all may speak.
We bathe in pools community has saved
And read in lib-ry, view the Havelock art.
The Street on which we walk - edible paved,
South circular where once canal did start.
But it’s the people of good Forest Hill
Who make it special and they always will.
Compiled by actor Mark Stephenson as part of Teatro Vivo's street performances around Forest Hill to celebrate St George's Day 2016.

24 April 2016

Planting in the Town Centre

Gardening volunteers needed on Saturday 30th April, meeting at 2.30pm in front of Forest Hill station to clip, weed and replant to get ready for our entry to the Royal Horticultural Society's "It's Your Neighbourhood" 2016 - and more importantly to make our town centre look nice.

Please bring a trowel, secateurs or scissors and gardening or other protective gloves.  No experience needed, but as we will be working in close proximity to the road this activity is not suitable for children.

01 April 2016

Croydon Canal to be Reinstated after 200 years

Published on 1st April 2016 as a joke:

The Forest Hill Society have been working hard since last April on a great scheme to replace the existing railway line with the old canal as a step towards a speedier and more reliable commuter service.

The basic plan will be to remove the slow and rather cumbersome railway line and reinstate a large section of the Croydon Canal. We know there is a lot of support in the local community for the environmental and health benefits of the canal as a primary means for transportation in South East London.

Some of the details still need to be worked out in conjunction with TfL but along both sides of canal would be cycle paths allowing commuters to cycle to central London without the hassle of traffic or pollution.
One of the early criticism of this scheme was the lack of train services, but commuters will have frequent solar-powered paddle-steamers that will speed them through the South London suburbs at speeds substantially faster than existing train services. To help with speed on these canal services, water flow would be reversed each day to help with the flow of services.

The canal will run from Crystal Palace through to Highbury & Islington and will be the first canal in the world to go through tunnels under a river. Further investigations are required to test the viability for an 'aquavator' which would allow for the canal services to transfer directly to the Thames, for interchange to surface waterways.
The official launch of the first canal transport on the railway line will take place on the 1st April 2017, and during the first two years canal boats and trains will run alongside each other. This may result in flooding of passenger compartments but this will provide passengers with fish pedicures and the opportunity to catch their own dinner on the journey home from work.

* Press release issued by the Forest Hill Society on 1st April 2016. Some of the details in this article may not be valid on any other day of the year.

04 March 2016

What a weird winter – weather-wise!

The warmest and wettest winter on record (at the time of writing) has played havoc with plant life and put environmental issues right at the top of the national agenda. Luckily London was spared the horror of the floods which affected other parts of the country.

But we certainly didn’t expect to see hosts of golden daffodils nodding and dancing in the Horniman Gardens the first week of January (see picture). Our efforts to brighten Forest Hill continue with bulbs we planted last year springing up again in the planters in front of the Job Centre in Dartmouth Road, the tubs on the station platforms, on the corner near Barclays Bank and the Horniman play triangle. However, the colourful cyclamens we planted in the station’s forecourt didn’t last long. By Christmas all but two had – how shall I put it – disappeared... and they were not eaten by squirrels!

Literally, on a brighter note, we are negotiating with LOROL to have fairy lights permanently entwined in the trees in the station’s forecourt to bring a bright welcoming feel on dark winter afternoons and a festive feel in the summer and (hopefully to send a message to all those litterbugs), among the many things in the pipeline for this year to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Forest Hill Society, we are organising a Trash Mob litter pick-up in the town centre and a Flash Mop wash down of the subway planned for Saturday March 5th from 2.00pm. Both activities will link us into Keep Britain Tidy’s national “Clean for the Queen” weekend. If you would like to join in for about an hour we can supply a selection of very attractive plastic tabards bearing a suitable logo, gloves and pick-up grippers. It should be fun!

We are hoping to give the town centre Edible High Road tubs a bit of a spruce up around Easter. With help from Wes Shaw and his Horniman Gardens’ planting team, our free-to-all-comers distribution of edible/food producing plants will happen again on Saturday May 7th from 2.00pm in Forest Hill station’s forecourt. If permission is granted for us to install brightly painted car tyres as plant containers on the pavement between the Perry Vale station exit and the entrance to the car park, we will extend our neighbourhood planting by working with Rockbourne Youth Club to brighten up this area. Watch the Forest Hill Society’s on-line newsletter for more details about when this happens.

Since Shakespeare and St George share a celebratory day on Saturday April 23rd and the Bard is in the news as 2016 marks 400 years since his death, these events, together with the 10th anniversary of the Forest Hill Society, mean we will be organising some delightfully exciting things - possibly combining the Shakespearean, Georgian and Foresthillian in April.

Watch this space...

03 March 2016

BakerLewisham 2030

It seems that most of our recent newsletters have mentioned the Bakerloo line extension, despite the fact that it won’t actually come to Forest Hill. However, there is little doubt that the Bakerloo extension would mean a lot for South East London, and particularly north Southwark and Lewisham.

At the end of 2015 TfL announced the preferred route would go to Lewisham via two stops on the Old Kent Road and New Cross Gate. At New Cross Gate there would be an interchange with Southern and Overground services to Forest Hill.

In reality this line would make little difference in journey times for Forest Hill commuters, as the interchanges at London Bridge and Canda Water would continue to provide better connections.

TfL have decided that the case for extending beyond Lewisham has not been made successfully, but that should not delay the extension to Lewisham.

The Forest Hill Society believes that although an extension to Hayes remains hard to justify on the existing line through Catford, consideration should be given to an underground extension to Catford or Bell Green, where growth in housing could justify the cost. It would also take some pressure off Lewisham as an interchange station for SouthEastern, Bakerloo, and DLR.

The TfL document also recommended a new station at Camberwell on Thameslink and interchange at Brockley, to the Nunhead to Lewisham line that goes over the station. This is part of a wider plan where TfL will take over much more of the London rail network, just as they have done with Overground. This would happen over many years starting from 2019, as franchises come to an end. Potentially this could result in new stations (Camberwell), more frequent services for commuters (Crofton Park), and many other possibilities.

While we await more details, we will continue to lobby for better services on the existing network - regardless of who runs it.