28 April 2015

Dartmouth Road Concept Presentation

Below is the presentation provided in the Forest Hill Ward Assembly and SEE3 Town Team Meeting for some of the concepts for Dartmouth Road. There are still many further months of consultation to agree the detail of the scheme. The Forest Hill Society has some concerns about the current designs, but we welcome the opportunity to see a transformation of this road.

Proposals for road narrowing, to allow for more space for pedestrians and parking:

Proposed areas of the road for existing and increased parking, and drop-off at the pool:

Proposed additional bus stops for the centre of Dartmouth Road (outside the pool and The Hill):

27 April 2015

38 Degrees: Election Hustings - 30th April

Following our unsuccessful attempt to organise election hustings, we are pleased to bring you news of hustings organised by 38 Degrees. This event will take place on 30th April at 7pm at the Honor Oak Pub, close to the Brockley Rise / Stanstead Road junction. Buses: 122, 171, 176, 185

Edible High Road Launch - 16th May

22 April 2015

Parliamentry Hustings Cancelled

The Forest Hill Society and Sydenham Society had arranged a Parliamentary election hustings for Lewisham West and Penge on Friday 24th April. Unfortunately we have to announce the cancellation of this hustings. This is due to difficulty getting agreement from the candidates regarding who should be included and excluded from the panel.

Initially we had invited only the five candidates representing parties with more than 1% at the last general election to take part. We were pressured by a number of the candidates to extend this invitation to all candidates. Having done this, it then proved impossible to get all eight candidates to agree to attend the hustings due to the presence of a candidate from Liberty GB.

In addition we did not wish to place the local church and vicar in the situation of hosting and chairing an event with a speaker from a party that does not accept religious freedom.

We wish to apologise to all members of the public who were looking forward to attending the event.

Issued by Michael Abrahams, chair of the Forest Hill Society and Annabel McLaren, chair of the Sydenham Society.

21 April 2015

Reinstating Evening Peak Trains

The Forest Hill Society have received confirmation from Southern that most of the evening peak services that were canceled in January will be reinstated in the May timetable change (16th May).

The following services will run again from May (in addition to the existing 2 trains per hour):

The 18:06 will NOT be reinstated, continuing to leave a 30 minute gap in the evening timetable.

We welcome the reinstatement of these services which might make our journeys home a little better than they have been for the last four months.

09 April 2015

SEE3 Town Team Meeting - 16th April

Parliamentary Election Hustings - 24th April (CANCELLED)

The Forest Hill Society and Sydenham Society have arranged a Parliamentary election hustings for Lewisham West and Penge on Friday 24th April at 7pm. This meeting is free and open to all.

All Candidates have been invited to speak and answer your questions on local and national issues.

This event will take place at Holy Trinity Church, Trinity Path, off Sydenham Park, London SE26 4EA.
Closest bus stops are five minutes walk away on Kirkdale, served by 122, 197, 176, 356. Both Sydenham and Forest Hill station are 10 minutes walk away.

06 April 2015

Honor Oak Road Covered Reservoir

By Daniel Greenwood (local resident). In November 2014, flyers were circulated to residents around the Canonbie Rd/Tewksbury Lodge area about an ‘illustrative scheme’ to be exhibited for public inspection. Many local residents and members of the Forest Hill Society went along to find out more. We asked Daniel, who attended the presentation, to tell our readers why this site is so significant.
On a sunny Saturday morning last November, I attended a presentation by Thomas Wrenn Homes at The Forest Hill Friends Meeting House to outline proposals to build seven houses on the Honor Oak Road Covered Reservoir site. The Reservoir site is lodged between Canonbie Road, Honor Oak Road, Horniman Drive, and Liphook Crescent. The plans (for an ‘illustrative scheme’) showed the houses to be built on the site, which is, however, designated as a Grade 2 Site of Borough Importance for Nature Conservation. Access to the new development would be created from Canonbie Road. I did not have a chance to speak to Mr. Wrenn — since he was busy answering questions from concerned residents — but spoke to the development’s designer, Andy Smith. I suggested to him that an ecological survey was of the utmost importance, to which he responded by underlining the need for a ‘positive ecologist’ to survey the site.

As someone who was raised in SE23, the green spaces of the local area hold great meaning for me. The Reservoir site is one I never had the chance to visit as a child or teenager but others before me did have the opportunity. The site gets its name from an underground reservoir built into the hilltop of the Tewkesbury Lodge estate, which was formerly part of the extensive Sydenham Common. It was once owned by Thames Water and ceased to function as a reservoir 40 years ago. It was sold at auction in 1995.

An ecological study of Lewisham conducted by John Archer and Ian Yarnham for the London Ecology Unit (‘Nature Conservation in Lewisham’, 2000) noted that the Reservoir site ‘supports some of the most interesting grasslands in Lewisham and is home to several rare plants and invertebrates’. One such plant is the site’s colony of cowslip, which the study described as having ‘all but disappeared from most of London’. The Reservoir site was ‘the only place in Lewisham that cowslips still occur, except where they have been deliberately planted’. The ecological guide also celebrates the literary history of the reservoir; Walter de la Mare (1873-1956) lived on nearby Bovill Road and was inspired by his time at the reservoir as a child to write several poems.

This is not the first time the Reservoir site, a private area with no public access, has been threatened with development. In 1999, the Secretary of State rejected a planning application for housing following a Public Enquiry, due to the ecological value of the site. Residents who attended the presentation were obviously concerned about the loss of valuable space for nature. Some felt that the arguable weakening of planning regulations, through the introduction of the National Planning Policy Framework, has offered hope to Mr. Wrenn for building his plans on this precious green space. While Lewisham Council will be conducting updated surveys of their Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINCs) in 2015 and will solicit permission to access the Reservoir site, Mr. Wrenn is under no obligation to give his permission.

Nature in South London — which is not just confined to designated Nature Reserves — is being threatened by a new wave of building (which is not geared towards solving an affordable housing crisis), and the borough’s SINCs are in the firing line. Though no planning application has been submitted so far by Mr. Wrenn’s company, the Reservoir site could be threatened with development once again.

05 April 2015

Lobbying to Make SE23 an Even Better Place to Live

Much of the work the Forest Hill Society does is very visible — especially the flowers that pervade the town centre in the summer — but there is a lot more that goes on throughout the year behind the scenes that is not visible. The Forest Hill Society lobbies on your behalf on a number of issues, for which we try to keep you updated on their outcomes. Two of the big issues we are wrestling with at the moment are the resolution of poor-quality rail services and achieving much needed improvements to our town centre and the high street.

Rail service improvementsSouthern train services to, and particularly from, London Bridge station have been atrocious recently. They started getting worse in the summer and reached a new low in January 2015 with their new timetable. During January, Southern had cancelled half of their evening peak services from London Bridge to Forest Hill; this is completely unacceptable and, even now, the trains that do run are running late and often pass through South London without stopping. Knock-on effects of this disgraceful performance are that London Overground trains have become seriously overcrowded and their punctuality has been the worst on record.

On behalf of passengers using Forest Hill and Honor Oak Park stations, the Forest Hill Society has been transmitting a clear message of dissatisfaction to the train companies, Transport for London (TfL), Lewisham Council, Jim Dowd MP, London TravelWatch, and others. We have also made it clear that we expect our train services to be reinstated as soon as possible and for Network Rail and the operating companies to be called to account for their appalling lack of management.

In the longer term, we also hope to influence the outcomes of rail projects — including bringing the Bakerloo line to South East London and lobbying for Thameslink trains to stop at South London stations, at least during the evenings and weekends when capacity may allow. In addition, we are calling for more evening services on southbound Overground and Southern lines to Forest Hill.

Town centre regenerationTrains have always been something that the Forest Hill Society has campaigned about, ever since the Society’s first meeting in 2006. But more recently we have turned our attention to the much harder problem of town centre regeneration. Over the last few years, we have taken action to improve the visual appeal of the town centre by planting flowers around Forest Hill station and, through the Edible High Road initiative, displaying large-potted flowers up and down the high street; setting up a monthly Forest Hill Food Fair between 2012-2013, before it was replaced by a weekly market at Horniman Gardens; and arranging for two boarded-up shop fronts to get painted to turn them from eyesores into works of art.

Over £750k to revitalise Dartmouth RoadLast July, we ran a Town Centre Design Charette (or workshop), which helped to re-focus our objectives for improving the town centre. In the short term, we know that improvements will be made to Dartmouth Road courtesy of two sources of funding: £650k from TfL to primarily improve the pavements, which will make it a better place to shop; and £113k in regeneration funding from the GLA’s High Street Fund — awarded in early March for a bid developed by SEE3, V22, Forest Hill Society, and Lewisham Council — to enable some additional landscaping work to take place between the Library, Louise House, and the Pools complex, which will create another open civic space on the edge of the town centre. However, this is only a small step towards fulfilling more ambitious goals.

Other potential improvementsTwo potential projects that stand out as great opportunities for regeneration involve pedestrianisation, for which we received good feedback at last year’s design workshop: the pedestrianisation of Perry Vale between the South Circular and Waldram Place (from E.J. Carpets to Distinguish Doors); and the pedestrianisation of the part of Forest Hill station’s car park closest to WH Smith to create a better focal point for, and perhaps ‘gateway’ to, Forest Hill. With both of these projects, we will need to work with the Council and other parties to see how feasible these schemes could be. In the meantime, lobbying efforts have been undertaken by the Forest Hill Society to improve the pedestrian crossing outside the station. As a result, we understand that TfL will be reviewing the crossing this year and working to improve it for pedestrians by spring 2018, which is a realistic timeframe in which to achieve something significant.

We are also keen to see better use made of Perry Vale car park, which is so close to the town centre and yet so far away for shoppers — the existing 30-minute free parking isn’t so great when it takes 10 minutes to walk to Dartmouth Road and back again. Suggestions that were made at last year’s workshop were to provide access from the car park to Forest Hill station and, via a footbridge, to Clyde Vale (off Dartmouth Road). These are costly and difficult to deliver but we are keen to explore these options, along with others that might be easier to implement.

As with train service improvements, long-term planning for town centre improvements is something that requires the Forest Hill Society to make its voice heard to ensure that our local area gets the resources it needs and deserves.

Article by Michael Abrahams (Chair, Forest Hill Society)

04 April 2015

Transport Update

London Bridge Station UpdateBy David McKenzie (Chair, Transport Committee)
6th February, 2015

You will no doubt be aware of the difficulties and disruptions affecting services on the Southern rail network as a consequence of the rebuilding of London Bridge station. The good news is that the rebuilding work on the southern side of the station is mostly complete. The bad news is that there is still one line down at Bermondsey until 2017, which is causing performance issues. Over the last few weeks, it seems that performance has improved (although infrastructure reliability remains a concern). However, Forest Hill passengers have been severely affected by the emergency withdrawal of 50% of Southern’s services during the evening peak hours.

The Forest Hill Society has been putting great pressure on Southern and Network Rail to fully reinstate the frequency of services to Forest Hill — as well as to improve on-time performance resulting from timetable changes — and we are hopeful that this will soon happen. We believe the Society is very effective at having its voice heard by Southern: for example, when it was announced that the 08:31 to London Bridge would be withdrawn starting in January, we successfully pressed for the 08:21 and 08:42 services to be consistently formed of 10 coaches, which is the maximum length possible that can be accommodated at Forest Hill station.

Our Response to London TravelWatch's London Overground Research Paper
By David McKenzie (Chair, Transport Committee)

On 31st October 2014, London TravelWatch published a research paper entitled ‘Value for money on London Overground — what passengers think’.* As a whole, the Forest Hill Society welcomes the recommendations in the paper. Key recommendations directly affecting Forest Hill are to:
• Upgrade London Overground ticket vending machines to allow the direct purchase of tickets to London Underground and DLR stations
• Eliminate gaps in the timetable to provide a ‘turn up and go’ timetable from first-to-last train on all days of the week
• Investigate the feasibility of providing extended canopies at busy stations
• Improve the amount and quality of information given to passengers, particularly in times of disruption and where multiple operators serve the same station

The Forest Hill Society will be especially pushing for the elimination of gaps in the timetable — particularly during the late-night service, which is quickly becoming sporadic and overcrowded. We would like to see the last Overground trains running as late as the last Southern trains (00:36 from London Bridge) or even later on Friday and Saturday nights in order to connect with the last Jubilee line trains at Canada Water (currently, the last southbound service to Forest Hill departs from Canada Water at 23:55).

On information provision, the Society attended a recent Lewisham Transport Liaison Committee meeting and pushed for a resolution to the issue of screens and announcements at Forest Hill station no longer stating the length of trains — this is particularly useful information when Southern services run with fewer coaches than expected.

* For the full article, visit www.londontravelwatch.org.uk. London TravelWatch is the passenger watchdog for all London transport users and is currently chaired by Stephen Locke, a resident of Honor Oak.

24-hour Overground in 2017?
By Michael Abrahams (Chair, Forest Hill Society)

In February, Mayor of London Boris Johnson announced that 24-hour services on the London Overground's East London Line will begin in 2017. However, these expanded night-time services would run only on Friday and Saturday nights.

While this is definitely a welcomed enhancement to services for South London, these services are only planned to cover the Overground section betwen Highbury & Islington and New Cross Gate. We believe that these services should continue further south to Crystal Palace or West Croydon all night, or at least until 2am. Over the next couple of years, we will be asking for serious consideration to be given to running these late-night trains as late as possible south of New Cross Gate.

Business Profile: The India Gate

David McKenzie from the Forest Hill Society met co-owner Amrit in his restaurant, The India Gate takeaway and dine-in restaurant. While David got down to his meal, Amrit answered some questions about taking over The India Gate, which is located at 47 London Road next to The Butchery.

Who owns the business and how long have you been open?It’s a one-off partnership between myself and the chef, Mr Mukti. We took over the restaurant in April 2014 and kept the name. However, the menu has been completely overhauled, offering a mix of Nepalese and Indian dishes.

Are you new to restaurants? No, I’ve got a lot of experience both managing and owning Indian restaurants. I moved here from Battersea where I owned a restaurant. Prior to this, I managed three restaurants in Crystal Palace.

Is takeaway/delivery or eat-in busier? At weekends, takeaway/ delivery is much busier though the restaurant is busy, too. Part of the strategy has been to do a lot of advertising online as well as in local newspapers. This advertising has driven a lot of business to our website (www.theindiagaterestaurant.co.uk), where orders receive a 20% discount.
(Certainly, on the night I was there, the restaurant was full but still had a relaxed atmosphere.)
What are your speciality dishes?• Pokhareli Duck: Pieces of marinated duck breast cooked in a Tandoor clay oven
• Jimbu Chicken: Chicken breast cooked in typical Nepalese style with Himalayan spices (Jimbu)
• Chicken Hyderabadi: A very hot combination of chicken and mincemeat in a Hyderabadi style of tangy sauce
• Lamb Xacuti: Lamb cooked with roasted aromatic fennel seeds, cloves, star anise, black pepper, and Goan spices in coconut sauce.

What’s the chef’s background? Mr Mukti grew up in Nepal where he was formally trained as a chef. Previously, he’d worked in Delhi and Ealing Broadway. He opened three restaurants in Dubai (which is where he and Amrit met) before moving to Forest Hill last year and when we took over The India Gate.

Why Forest Hill? As mentioned earlier, I used to live in Crystal Palace so I know the area well. While living in Battersea, Forest Hill started to become well known as an up and coming area and, with family still living locally, it made sense to move back here. The area is very busy with lots of passing trade and has a great feeling and vibe.

What are your future plans? 2015 will be a consolidation year here in Forest Hill before we look to expand next year.

03 April 2015

Forest Hill Society Member’s Profile:Quetta Kaye, Chair, Environment Committee

Have you ever wondered who is responsible for the beautiful flowers and plants in the planters on the forecourt and platforms at Forest Hill station, the distribution of over a 100 plant-filled tubs outside businesses and shops last summer (supported by the Forest Hill traders), and planting bulbs in Horniman Triangle, to name but a few initiatives? Well, her name is Quetta Kaye!

As Chair of the Forest Hill Society’s Environment Committee, Quetta is the driving force behind many high-profile green initiatives in Forest Hill’s town centre and surrounding green spaces.

Quetta would be the first to say that she has not achieved this alone; she inspires a team of committed FHS members and other Forest Hill residents who volunteer when they can. She also works closely with local businesses in Forest Hill to support her. “If you don’t ask, you don’t get” is her motto when getting things done!

Quetta and her team’s hard labour has indeed borne fruit in the form of ‘Outstanding’ awards for Forest Hill from the Royal Horticultural Society’s ‘London in Bloom: It’s Your Neighbourhood’ category for the second year running in 2014!

Quetta is often asked about her unusual name, which is a diminutive of the name Jacquetta, a feminine form of the French Jacques. Originally from a small village on Dartmoor in Devon, Quetta moved with her parents when she was a child to the Kent coast. These rural surroundings and her appreciation of the open air have stayed with her and shaped her life ever since. From Kent, Quetta moved to North London to study and work but, contemplating having children, she ‘reluctantly’ moved to Forest Hill 40 years ago, where property prices were cheaper.

She was soon very pleasantly surprised by Forest Hill: the accessibility to green space, parks (particularly Horniman Triangle park), and even woodlands close by, in addition to her own garden. Added to this, Quetta was impressed with good local schools, the Horniman Museum and Gardens, the local swimming pool and library, and good transport links both into central London and to Kent. This all proved to be a happy place in which to bring up her three children.

Quetta spent an interesting period working in politics at the Houses of Parliament, as Personal Assistant to various backbench MPs. Quetta was also able to work from home before flexible working became mainstream whilst bringing up her young children in the late 1960’s and 70’s. When her youngest child started school, Quetta fulfilled a lifelong interest to study Archaeology at University. She was soon working on excavations in England but for the last 12 years has co-directed an excavation project on Carriacou Island in the Caribbean, during which time she completed a PhD, looking at aspects of pre-colonial Caribbean archaeology.

Quetta strongly believes that individuals can make a difference if enough of them do the same thing at the same time and stand up for what they believe in order to effect change. She believes that participation in community-led pressure groups, like the Forest Hill Society, is a great vehicle to improve the life of Forest Hill residents.

Quetta joined the Forest Hill Society after getting involved in the campaign against the closure of the Forest Hill swimming pool, where she met members of the Society. Quetta then attended an AGM where she volunteered to join the Environment Committee — a natural place for her, given her background — and became the Chair in 2009.

Quetta has plans for the coming year to win a third Outstanding award from the RHS (to qualify for the Champion of Champion award!), and plant hops on Platform 1 at Forest Hill station perhaps leading to the creation of a Forest Hill pint to rival Crystal Palace’s Palace Pint. This is a real step forward considering several years ago, Forest Hill station had plastic flowers hanging in baskets!

More broadly, Quetta is also keen to see improved signage in Forest Hill, the removal of some of the ugly street furniture, and more environmental initiatives such as working with Sydenham School’s girls who recently picked up five large bags of litter along Dartmouth Road in one hour! She is also keen to make better use of the car park in Perry Vale, behind Forest Hill station, suggesting that even a simple, sloped wheelchair access path from the car park onto Platform 2 would be a good start!

If this profile has inspired you to get involved or help make Forest Hill greener, please contact the Forest Hill Society now!

Article  by Helen Wicks (Communications Committee)

02 April 2015

Everything's Going to Look Bloomin' Marvellous!

Quetta Kaye (Chair, Environment Committee) provided information for this report. See the Forest Hill Society’s website for updates, which will be posted when details become available.

Landscaping-improvement areas
Forest Hill station
*: A working group is to be organised soon to tidy up the station’s platform and forecourt planters. This is in preparation for the Forest Hill Society’s entry for London in Bloom’s annual It’s Your Neighbourhood scheme, which is run by the RHS Britain in Bloom campaign. Judging takes place between 29th June-17th July, 2015.
Job Centre Plus, 32-34 Dartmouth Road: Before Christmas nearly 600 free bulbs supplied by the Metropolitan Public Gardens Association were planted beneath the trees in front of the Centre by volunteers.
Horniman Triangle play area*: On Thursday, 9th April from 11am-2pm, 30 hedgerow whips (young bare-root saplings) provided by the Woodland Trust are to be planted by Nature’s Gym and a general litter pick-up and tidying exercise is to be undertaken — volunteers are welcome! By early spring, 400 bulbs that were planted by volunteers in mid-December are expected to be blooming.
London Road pavement, opposite the Horniman Museum: Transport for London has advised us that two Indian Bean trees will soon be planted to fill in the gaps left by former trees.
London and Dartmouth Roads: The Edible High Road will continue its journey this year with local businesses sponsoring tubs of fragrant plants, adding vitality and interest to the town centre this summer. Each tub will comprise either a Bay tree, lavender or rosemary and be surrounded by Sanvitalia, a yellow trailing daisy-like plant. Potting-up day is planned for Saturday, 25th April (11:30am-3pm) at the Devonshire Road Nature Reserve, 170 Devonshire Road, with distribution planned for Saturday, 9th May (3-5pm). Volunteers are not just welcome, they are actively encouraged!

Hop growing in Forest Hill
The Forest Hill Society is encouraging people to plant easy-to-grow hops which, when ripe and harvested, can be combined with those of others as part of a community project to produce a local beer — perhaps even Forest Hill's own version of Crystal Palace’s Palace Pint?

Clutter clean-upTown centre: Plans are on-going, through campaigning work by the Society working with local businesses, but progress is slow, in tidying up the unsightly areas above and beside Forest Hill station’s underpass.

Long-term campaign
In the long term, we are working on an environmental campaign to consider car use in Forest Hill that will seek to address the problems of air pollution, noise, safety, and parking issues created by both through traffic and local traffic.

* Funding for plants and associated materials for these areas was awarded to the Forest Hill Society in November by the Forest Hill Assembly for the 2014-15 year, under the auspices of the Society’s Making Forest Hill Beautiful proposal.

Ward Assembly Funding 2014-15

At Forest Hill and Perry Vale Assembly meetings on 23rd and 27th November, respectively, local residents decided on how to spend the annual £12,500 Assembly Fund that each ward had been allocated for 2014-15 by Lewisham Council. Priorities for funding had already been identified at previous Assembly meetings: for the Forest Hill Assembly, these were youth engagement and provision, making Forest Hill more attractive, and community events and publicity; while for the Perry Vale Assembly the top priorities were the environment, roads and traffic, activities for younger people, antisocial behaviour and crime, and activities for the whole community.

At both Assembly meetings, residents were encouraged to talk to representatives of each of the groups who had submitted proposals for projects to be funded (up to max. £2,500) and completed by November 2015, and were then asked to mark each proposal out of 10. Based on the number of votes received (highest first), the following groups' projects were awarded a share of Assembly Funds.

Forest Hill projects• Crime Reduction Initiatives (CRI): Family Fun Day (£2,500)
• Lite-Waves Therapeutic Education: Re-Connect Programme at Platform 1 (£2,500)
• Lite-Waves Therapeutic Education: Therapeutic Art Project at Platform 1 (£2,500)
• Friends of Albion Millennium Green: Storage container (£2,475)
• Forest Hill Society: Making Forest Hill Beautiful (£600)
• Doopo Doopo CIC Art Hub And Gallery: Kelvin Grove Activities (£1,120)
• Sydenham Arts: Sydenham Arts Festival 2015 (£805*)

Perry Vale projects
• Grow Mayow: Beekeeping activities (£1,890)
• Dalmain Athletic Girl’s Football Project (£2,000)
• Safer Neighbourhood Team: Crime Prevention and Awareness Days (£1,584)
• Young Lewisham Project: Intergenerational Project Young Lewisham and Mind (£1,560)
• Sydenham Forest Hill Youth Forum: Consortium Development Project (£1,912)
• London Thunder: Community Basketball Project (£2,000)
• The Forest with the Big Hill: Storytelling Project (£300)
• Seniors: Young Enterprise Day (£1,254*)
* Projects that received partial funding.

It’s not too early to start thinking about a worthy cause or need that deserves support in 2016 since this funding is available only once per year.

For more info: www.lewisham.gov.uk/getinvolved/localassemblies/assembly-funding/Pages/Local-assembliesfunding.aspx
Article by John Wysocki, Newsletter Editor

01 April 2015

Woodlands — Springing Back to Life!

Three of Forest Hill’s natural assets are relatively small pockets of woodlands located next to the railway line running between Honor Oak Park and Sydenham stations. These sites are open to the public, albeit on limited days in two cases, and are managed by dedicated groups of volunteers. Now that spring has arrived after winter’s lull, activities — as well as plants — at these sites are starting to show signs of renewed life.

Devonshire Road Nature Reserve (DRNR) abuts the west side of the railway line between Forest Hill and Honor Oak Park stations, and has been run by the Friends of Devonshire Road Nature Reserve (FDRNR) for 15 years now, who have been awarded a Green Pennant year after year.

Since October, the Friends have been doing tree and brushwood removal around the edges of the reserve’s meadows, and improving paths. Starting this spring, guided school visits — or ‘Muddy Boots’ sessions — will be offered to primary school children.

The Friends are in desperate need of someone to help run their website and with publicity, as well as to volunteer in general; for more info, see contact details below or attend the Friends’ annual general meeting on Sunday 22nd March.

DRNR is open to the public on the last Sunday of each month (currently between 2-5:30pm). 170 Devonshire Rd, SE23 3SZ.
For more info: www.devonshireroadnaturereserve.org

Albion Millennium Green (AMG) is situated on the west side of the railway line between Sydenham and Forest Hill stations. It is managed by the Friends of Albion Millennium Green, who organise a range of arts-related activities and plantmanagement work days throughout the year. After a winter break, work days, which occur on the second Saturday of each month, will start again in March.

At the Friends’ annual general meeting held on 21st February at Forest Hill Pools, activities and achievements in a very productive year were highlighted, including:
• Work carried out by volunteers that resulted in a Green Flag Award being awarded again.
• The AMG’s owner, the Albion Millennium Green Trust, a charitable trust, being revitalized at its AGM in November with the election of a new board of trustees.
• Also in November, the Friends being successfully awarded a Forest Hill Assembly grant for a much-needed 10-foot storage container, in order to securely house equipment and materials.

AMG is accessed year-round from Albion Villas Road, SE26 or the path adjacent to the railway line. For more info: www.amgfriends.org.uk

Dacres Wood Nature Reserve (DWNR) abuts the east side of the railway line between Forest Hill and Sydenham stations, and is run by the Friends of Dacres Wood Nature Reserve (FoDWNR) committee.

Having closed for the winter months, the Friends group is planning to re-open the reserve to the public on 28th March for regular last-Saturday-of-the-month open days. A variety of outdoor sessions and activities, including nature trail days, will then be offered in the spring for pre-school children and school children aged 5-plus.

The Friends group is looking for more volunteers to help on open days, plan and run events, or even join the committee.

DWNR is situated behind Homefield House, Dacres Estate,Dacres Road, SE23 2NZ. Its main entrance is at the end of Honeyfield Mews, which is off Dacres Road and just south of Catling Close. For more info: dacreswood.org.uk.

Article by John Wysocki, Newsletter Editor

Local Dates for your Diary

Forest Hill Society’s Edible High Road, potting-up day: Sat 25th April, 11.30am-3pm. Devonshire Road Nature Reserve, 170 Devonshire Rd.

Forest Hill Society’s Edible High Road, distribution day: Sat 9th May, 3-5pm. Devonshire Road Nature Reserve, 170 Devonshire Rd.

Havelock Walk Open Studios: Sat 9th-Sun 10th & Sat 16th-Sun 17th May, 11am-6pm. Part of Artists’ Open House, Dulwich Festival 2015. For all participating SE23 artists and venues, see www.dulwichfestival.co.uk/openhouse

Forest Hill Society’s Edible High Road, launch day: Sat 16th May, 2.30pm. Forest Hill station forecourt.

Horniman Farmers’ Market: Every Sat 9am-1:30pm, Horniman Gardens’ bandstand.

Dacres Wood Nature Reserve: Open to the public on the last Saturday of each month, 1-4pm. 28th March, 25th April, 30th May. Behind Dacres Estate, Dacres Road.

Devonshire Road Nature Reserve: Open to the public on the last Sunday of each month, 2-5:30pm. 29th March, 26th April, 31st May. 170 Devonshire Road.