Making the most of the extra hour and stunning weather with an amazing start to my official # group walks.
Some might think that of the 5 people who signed up to my first official #LdnGreenGround Sunday walks, zero turning up is pretty much a failure, I have to admit that whilst I would have loved for them to have attended, it might be 'controversial' to say that regardless of this, I still had the most wonderful time because I got to get out of the house, walk around a stunning park on a most glorious autumn day.
I was overjoyed that two friends turned up at the last minute. One a friend from nearby Fulham and another, a very new friend and expert of many things, Steve Pocock.
As a result, it was lovely to be able to take people out on the walk I had planned. Additionally, as I informed them, for me, whilst it's a guided walk, I want it to be an experience whereby everyone can not only learn but also teach one another and that's exactly what we did.
My personal goals for the #LdnGreenGround walks are multifold: 1. To get out of the house on a Sunday morning. 2. To discover a nearby park or new area perhaps further afield. 3. To walk in a green space - whatever the weather. 4. To take time to look at a space differently. 5. Using all senses to create a stronger connection with nature and the environment. (I realised that writing this, I have several other goals but these are the main ones :D)
Not your usual group walk
My intention of a group walk was not to simply walk around a space getting from A to B, but to spend quality time there, spending time looking at things, sharing knowledge be it about trees, plants, animals or history. Basically paying attention and using our senses. What I mean by that is to perhaps spent a few minutes looking at a tree and interacting with it, sitting still for a few minutes and listening out for all the things we hear and spending time looking out for animals.
I think this is important for everyone, particularly us Londoners, to slow down and take in the beauty of what is around us! As a result, that's what I planned spending the following hour doing.
A park that has roots in medieval times!
The park lies in the borough of Hammersmith and Fulham and is north of the Thames which is only a 5 minute walk away.
The location of Ravenscourt Park goes back to medieval times, when the lake in the centre of the park, fed by Stamford Brook, was part of the moat that surrounded Paddenswick Manor. In 1812 the Ravenscourt House and estate were bought by its final private owner. It was in 1888 that the 32 acre site was officially opened as public parkland.
Following WWII bombings, the house was demolished. Now, only the stable block remains today which is the site of the Tea House (currently closed for refurbishment till Spring 2020) with a stunning community garden and glasshouse located behind the cafe.
The 1987 hurricane and London's Great Trees
The park is home to 690 trees of 104 species. Given the beautiful weather we had, I can honestly say that every tree looked completely glorious!
Following the destructive storm of 1987, 15 million trees across the Uk were blown down. The Great Trees of London was created by Trees for Cities. 41 trees were chosen by the public and an additional 20 were added in 2008.
Ravenscourt park is home to two Great Trees, an old and stunted plane tree (above), and a large mature tree of heaven (below).
The lake in the centre of the park is so lovely as whilst it's not terribly large, the body of water attracts water birds and I noted a beautiful grey heron, black headed gulls, tufted ducks, mallards, coots, Egyptian geese and Canada geese (and numerous pigeons). To my friend's surprise, we also spotted the 'infamous' ring necked parakeets.
Ending in W6, in W6
And as though we weren't spoilt enough by the wonderful greenery outdoors, we ended our walk at the W6 garden centre which also has a lovely cafe (and toilets).
Location: Ravenscourt Park, Hammersmith and Fulham, nearest tube Ravenscourt Park (District Line) Transport: Various buses along King Street Company: 2 others What I found: 690 trees, 2 Great Trees of London, numerous birds (above) plus crows and robins. Cleanliness: On the whole really clean whilst I did pick up litter but numerous bins all around the park. Others in the location: Lots of people of all ages, playing basketball, bootcamp, walking, playing.