Sunday, 14 December 2014


As the LVRPA deliver another load of hoggin, we'll be taking part in some green festive cheer...
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SLM Weekly Digest

Keep Our Marshes Open and Green!

This is the Weekly Digest of Save Lea Marshes.  We are a group of people who live in the Lea Valley area campaigning to keep the local marshes and other green spaces for nature to thrive and to be there for people to enjoy for years to come.  To find out more, please see our website  and visit our Shop page for ideas for Christmas presents that will help support our work, which is totally volunteer run, with its basic campaigning costs.  The “green stuff” will really help us with the real green stuff!

In the mix this week:

CANAL KNOWLEDGE – canals have been featured in various news stories and features in the last couple of weeks, such as the story of British Land wanting to get rid of a floating bookshop in Paddington Basin in favour of a floating coffee shop (mentioned by Michele Hanson in her Guardian column on Tuesday p.13 and elsewhere) and a News Feature on “the housing crisis reaches the waterways”, on the plight of the continuous cruisers p. 10 of the Hackney Citizen.  Regular readers of the Weekly Digest will know that this issue was a big talking point in 2014, connected to the hoggin path and privatisation of the Leyton Marsh moorings, which divided the boating community. Work has begun on the hoggin path on Leyton Marsh and mud/ rubble has been dumped on the Site of Importance for Nature Conservation.

HOPE SPRINGFIELDS ETERNAL  - whilst on the subject of the press, there is a letter in this week’s Hackney Gazette “Share views on park’s future” p.12 from Jonathan McShane,  Cabinet Member for Health, Social Care and Culture, concerning last weekend’s consultation process on getting heritage funding for Springfield Park.  The consultation is still open you can also order a hard copy on 0208 356 4895.

MILLFIELDS PARK E5 CONSULTATION – this has now closed but some members of SLM have written objections to more mowing regimes (including for areas that LWT advised keeping unmown for wildlife); more unnecessary paths; lack of bins and against the location of a cafe.

SOMETHING IN THE AIR – Also in the news this week was the report on high levels of air pollution and the affects of people living and going to school near busy roads.  Essex Wharf is a case in point, particularly for those people who are going to be living right up close to the Lea Bridge Road.  Find out more go to

HAPPY BIRTHDAY OPEN SPACES SOCIETY – celebrating its 150th year of campaigning for common land, village greens and public parks in England and Wales.  SLM are a member group and we are all comparative “newbies” in the fight not to tarmac and concrete over all of our valuable open spaces.  For information on the ways OSS are marking this occasion and for details on a photography competition go to

LISTENING CORNER – if you haven’t been following the drama serial feature in this week’s Women’s Hour on Radio 4 this week –  concerning one woman’s experience of the Greenham Common Camp, I recommend you check it out on the iPlayer.

Abney Park Fund Day – this Saturday , 11am -3pm – SLM will be on a stall supporting the Stokey Local Campaign and we’ll be selling the last stocks of our calendars and other merchandise.

Also on Saturday, Mabley Green User’s Group will be organising the planting of edible trees from 11am – 2pm.

On 2 January 
there will be retox,detox, cakes and ping-pong to welcome in the New Year...

On Tuesday (no date is given but as the information came in on 10 December, I am assuming it is next Tuesday 16 December), Waltham Forest Friends of the Earth is holding a social at the Rose & Crown in Walthamstow from 8pm onwards.

Next SLM meeting – 15 December at 7pm at The Princess of Wales, Lea Bridge Road (we are usually at the back of the pub), new people are welcome to come along.
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This is the Weekly Digest of Save Lea Marshes – a group of local people trying to keep the marshes of the Lea Valley and other green spaces good for nature and people.  Find out more about our work on our website

Not much time this week so this digest will be a short one.  Suffice it to say that the campaign is continuing and SLM members will be at the Abney Park Market on Saturday 13 December, selling calendars and other merchandise and available to talk over current issues.

SPOT THE BORE COMPETITION – perhaps I’m being a bit hard but Johnnie Walker, Chair of Hackney & Leyton Football League has replied at length to the letter sent by the Chair of Mabley Green Users Group last week.  There is no doubt he loves his football but fails to believe that we have common feelings about the effect of the Olympics and a desire to see green space preserved for us all to enjoy.  Hackney Gazette p.12
THE ANSWER IS BLOWIN IN THE WIND hujyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy (contribution from our cat!)  Spotted on the Letters page of the Camden New Journal, p15, a letter on the use of “leaf blower” machines: “firing 200 mph dust and grit, mould and pollens..” The anonymous writer says that children risk eye injury and lung infections based on research.  Anyone heard anything about this? 

Our friends the “Tree Musketeers”, whose recent work has included:  opening an area of Abney Park South to allow more sunlight for flowers, bees and butterflies; planted 6 of 23 new trees at Hackney Downs has some upcoming events and activities: 6 December they will be selling their Tree Calendars at Stoke Newington Farmers Market and will also be having stalls on Sundays 7,14,21 December (for which they are asking for volunteers to contact them via   They are also having some tree planting sessions and workshops.  To get further details or book please go to

Hedge Herbs have also go a number of activities planned:  Sunday 7 December, “Auntie Maureen’s Food-a-Fair, with artisan festive foods on sale.  H.H. have a stall.  £1 on door. In Walthamstow.  Sat 13 December “A Day of Festive Herbals” with Walthamstow community herbablist Rasheeqa 10-11.30  for a winter walk – meet 10.00 a.m. at The Mill, Coppermill Lane, E17 7HA and from 12-4.00 p.m. “A Festival of Herbal Goodies” – a workshop to make healing lotions and potions and delicious things to eat.  Cost for workshop £30 or £25 concessions.  Further details and to book Rasheeqa on 077845064194 or email

Forage London have a new bulletin out helping all us poor saps with colds, with some “sage” advice on how to prevent/deal with them see  Courses are full for the rest of this year but for next year go to

Next SLM meeting is at the Princess of Wales Pub on Monday 15 December at 7.30. new people welcome.  We usually meet at the back of the pub.


It's a green Friday for us...
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SLM Weekly Digest

Keep Our Marshes Open and Green!


This is the Weekly Digest of Save Lea Marshes.  We are a group of people from the Lea Valley Area, trying to keep the marshes and other local green spaces used and preserved for wildlife to exist and people to enjoy.  Find out more about our work via our .  As well as information about our campaign, we also have a sales page to aid our funding.  You’ll find T shirts, books and our 2015 Calendar with beautiful images from our “What I love About the Marshes” competition.

In the mix this week are stories near and far which highlight the issues of both our ongoing battles over green space as well as, the need for low cost housing for people.  Both are at the mercy of government and property speculators and suffer from the struggle to be heard in a world that is increasingly dominated by the need of the rich to get richer ..

MULTI LAYERED CAR PARKING APPROACH – Hackney Council’s Planning Committee supported a plan to prevent usage of so called surplus supplies of parking in a multi storey car park in the Olympic Park, five minutes from East Marsh.  This makes no sense, other than L.B.H.’s desire to have another car park on East Marsh, where green space should be, since there is not enough space at the nearby multi-storey car park – because they are prohibiting there being any!  Meanwhile, the discussion of the Cricket Pavilion and associated car parking is not on the Planning Committee for December.

(1) LVRPA – have turned down a suggestion made by the LLDC to employ further police on LVRPA land in this area at a cost of £74.5k in the light of “underwhelming” crime occurring in the area, meanwhile the LLDC has employed a further 6 full time police officers and are proposing another 15 at a cost of £1.4 a year.  Further information can be found on the LVRPA website:

(2) The LVRPA has launched a consultation on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park under the requirement of the LVRPA Act 1966: Section 14:

MUGGERS & PLANTERS – no not the name of a hipster cafe, but the controversy around new planters put up by the London Borough of Waltham Forest along Marsh Lane, supposedly to slow down traffic.  However, cyclists have become victims of crime from people hiding behind the planters and leaping out to snatch wallets.  The alternative to going down this route is the cycle way along Orient Way, which does not have the best surface for cycling.  As well as, angering local cyclists, there is also cause for concern as with one hand the council offers planters and on the other it auctioned clearing of wild plants supporting wildlife earlier in the year.

THE EFFECTS OF MILD, WET WINTERS – Two things prompted inclusion of this – one a Flood Alert put out last weekend about a threat of flooding in the Lower Lea Valley (fortunately it didn’t happen this time) and another about the spawning of frogs five months early.  Frogs only mate once a season, so if their breeding effort is affected by a sudden freezing it will be a really big problem.

IN THE PRESS – Following last week’s letter from Mr. Walker regarding football on Mabley Green, Damian Rafferty, Chair of the Mabley Green Users Group writes a response in the Hackney Gazette p.16.  The main thrust of his letter is that a full public consultation has been taking place and that football will always be part of Mabley Green but with other benefits to the community.  Also in the the paper p.5 “Battle lost to save historic terraces” in Dalston – although the Open Dalston Group may still appeal against the loss of the Georgian Terrace and the Disney-esque replacement plans.  Other stories in the ongoing battles of rights to decent, low cost housing versus development land grabs are coverage of the Crown Estate residents protest against rising rents (p.9) and Hackney Homes may be reviewing their ridiculous policy of not allowing washing lines or plants on balconies (p10).  This was introduced as part of Fire Policy but is inconsistent with other balcony uses e.g. TV satellite dishes.  Private Eye this week has an interesting story about a conflict of interest; Prince William, as president of the Fields in Trust, the national charity protecting the nation’s playing fields needs to talk to his father as a school in Dorchester, leasing land from the Duchy of Cornwall, wants to sell out some of the land for housing development (p.30).  Another story worth reading is on the same page “Paddington Bare” about the Canal and River Trust backing big business in the shape of British Land, over the canal-side communities and the impact on moorings.  Meanwhile, over at the Evening Standard (26/11/14), the weekly Wednesday property pages feature up and coming Clapton yet again but more importantly, there is a story on p.2 with Mr. Pickles attempting to “strong-arm” Councils into selling off more council homes towards building more “affordable” housing.

Springfield Park Users Group will be holding a meeting at the Sparks Cafe, White Lodge, in the park at 2.00 p.m. on Sunday 30 November, to examine and discuss the Heritage Lottery Fund improvement plans for the park and its buildings.  All interested are welcome.  There is also a survey being carried out on these plans. Email for further details. This is being followed up on Sunday 7 December with a fun day of activities and a chance to walk around the site to get more information about the proposals.  Walks/tours start at 1, 2 and 3 p.m.  Also, meet at the Cafe.

Trees growing on trees - this weekend!
Mabley Green Users Group event with Groundwork London on 30 November. Learn how to make fruit tree cuttings at the Hackney Tree Nursery. Sharp tools involved so not suitable for little kids.

Planting edible hedgerow whips - 11am Saturday 13 December
Mabley Green Users Group are planting around 400 little trees along the border with the A12 to make a wonderful hedgerow for birds and wildlife and a sound barrier for humans, come along and plant a few trees! Everyone welcome. Find out more.

New Year Pongathon - 12-2pm Friday 2 January
Blow off the Christmas and NYE excesses with outdoor ping pong, cakes, tea and if anyone wants to share their detox, retox or just hangover cures, come along!

Mabley Green Users Group are taking delivery of planting and gardening tools in the next few weeks - and a shed share - and lots of bats (so contact them if you want some bats for your school or community group).

Dalston Curve Garden, Dalston Lane E.8 is having a Festival of Light 2014: Paper cut out workshops for adults, making lanterns for the garden cafe (tonight) but also on 4 and 11 December from 6- 9pm.  Another event coming up is the Rucksack Cinema on 13 and 14 December, with illuminated screenings and a classic Christmas film being shown.  Further details from

Next SLM meeting will be on Monday 1 December at 7.30 p.m. at the Princess of Wales pub on Lea Bridge Road – we usually gather around the back of the building – all welcome.

Pollen Count on the Marshes


Some thoughts about core samples and pollen analysis at Walthamstow Marsh.

There was a paleoenvironmental core sampling carried out by a Masters degree student along a transect of the South Marsh.  I can’t remember the date off-hand but I do have a copy of the draft thesis somewhere in the archives.  The transect was roughly along the line of the S. Marsh boardwalk.  This was sampling the Holocene deposits down to the surface of the floodplain gravels - so covering roughly the past 10,000 years.

If your aim is to determine what flora etc existed through the Holocene on the Marsh, it needs to be borne in mind that most of these deposits consist of silts and clays deposited by overbank flooding of the Lea.  Therefore much of the pollen etc will be derivative, having been swept down the valley from the higher reaches.

For more reliable data on what was local to Walthamstow Marsh you need to sample peaty deposits since these will contain identifiable in situ plant remains as well as pollens.  Unfortunately there are no extensive peat deposits at WM.  When we did our auger survey (1985)  to map the configuration of the buried gravel surface, we only occasionally found peat in small thin lenses and sometimes on the edge of the buried gravel channels and our coverage of the Marsh was comprehensive (around 500 boreholes – 2” diameter).  The purpose of the survey wasn’t to do analysis but we did log obvious changes in the sediments and so did build up an accurate 3D picture of the deposits..

I think that the Masters student also found a similar situation with the most valuable plant material coming from a small zone of peaty material on his one transect.  I think he may also have had some carbon dating of some material.  I must try to find his draft thesis.

So bear in mind that WM is not a FEN i.e based on peat deposits, but a MARSH i.e based on mineral deposits, even though Brian Wurzell once described the plant communities as being similar to those in a fen.

All the best,


> Date: Tue, 18 Nov 2014 12:39:46 +0000
> From:

> I like Joan's idea (see thread and hyperlink) - but I rather suspect that it has already been done, either here on Walthasmtow Marshes or in similar locations.

> I know the valley has its own little microclimate (it can be pouring with rain in Clapton and Walthamstow yet sunny enough to play cricket at Marsh Lane Fields!, it can be dense fog near the reservoirs in west Walthamstow but bright and clear in Tottenham), but I doubt it is sufficiently different from the surrounding area to warrant such an undertaking if any similar local studies have already been done. I am copying this to Mike Punchard (Wildlife and Environment Officer at LBWF), Anne Woollett, Annie Chipchase, and Neil Houghton (Chair of the Walthamstow Historical Society), who might know.

> I am not sure it would be of very wide interest to know what specific flora was growing on a heavily-grazed water-meadow in Walthamstow in the past, sufficient to warrant the expenditure - both on the physical obtaining of the samples and their detailed expert analysis. However, I would willingly support any bid to have this project funded; after all, it is up to the HLF what they fund - we can only ask!

> Finding an area of marsh to do it in might be a bit difficult, as so much has been churned up during the 20th century, but it should be possible to find places where a deep core sample could be extracted. John Nash might be able to advise, as he has studied the underlying gravel beds in detail.
> I would be particularly fascinated to know if there was a change in mangement around the time of the Saxon settlement, for instance!

> I'm not familiar with the study quoted, and will try to follow the hyperlink later, but perhaps some suitable academic partners (Oxford or Bristol university?) could be suggested, and relevant researchers and postgrads approached with a view to assessing feasibility.
> Could Joan and Claire perhaps have a go at that, please?

> Good luck!
> Katy.
> --------------------------------------------

> To:

> Dear
> Claire

> There isn't much in the way of buildings on the marshes.  How about asking for money to explore pollen records on Walthamstow Marsh - like what Oxford University is doing on Marley Fen:

> The pollen records in the layers will give snapshots of what was happening in the environment at different times going back the the last Ice Age.

> Kindest regards
> Joan

> Facebook
> Claire Weiss posted in Save Lea Marsh
> Claire Weiss 10:52pm Nov 10

> I received this from Alison Griffin: "Waltham Forest is a priority area at the moment, because it has received a relatively low share of funds. HLF are particularly interested now in getting more enquiries and applications from community groups in Waltham Forest, including groups who might like to do a funded project around the social or natural heritage of the marshes. Being a priority area at present sounds like you get some additional weighting for any application (likely to last for around the next 9 months); you can also get pre-application support - including with finding a suitable project to apply for - from Gillian. She’s very interested to talk to groups who might bring projects to the table and I thought of you. Please feel free to share with the marshes campaigns groups and get in touch with her if you would like to find out more." 

> Anyone interested perhaps get in touch with Alison for contact details of Gillian from Heritage Lottery Fund. 

> I am also sharing this with Don't Be Harsh page and with the Save Lea Marsh email group.

> Posted by: Claire Weiss [snip]

Posted by: Katy Andrews <>

Fields in Trust

Kate Donnelly

Attachments28 Nov
to me
Dear Katy,

I hope this finds you well. I am writing to you from Fields in Trust, the only independent UK charity dedicated to protecting and improving outdoor space. I recently attended a meeting of the London Green Spaces Friends Groups Network and found it really interesting to meet with and listen to the Friends groups that attended and it was great to have the chance to introduce Fields in Trust to everyone. I wanted to write to you as I feel we have very similar objectives on both a local and national scale and we also want to make you aware of our work as it is so relevant to the great outdoors.

Founded in 1925, Fields in Trust protects spaces such as parks, playing fields, bike trails and woodlands from being sold off or developed for purposes other than sports or recreation. We also offer funding grants for improvements and repairs, to ensure that everyone has free access to quality outdoor sites.

Last July we launched our Centenary Fields project, to commemorate World War I in communities across the UK by encouraging local authorities to dedicate and protect at least one green memorial space in their area.

We hugely encourage the involvement of community groups like yours with local green spaces. When we protect a space, ownership and management of the site remain in local hands as locals are best placed to reflect the needs of the community. Any changes in use of the site or the site’s buildings (e.g. a pavilion) do need our specific consent so that we can ensure the space is only ever used for sports and/or recreation, but otherwise we are very light touch.

We sponsor sports days, known as ‘Have a Field Days’ for our protected sites and we provide the site with a goodie box packed with sports equipment, such as bats and balls, t-shirts, medals, bunting and more, to help make the day as fun and successful as possible.

We also host an annual awards ceremony in December to highlight some of the success stories of the landowners, volunteers and communities who have championed their local Fields in Trust site.

Our strategic partners include Sport England, the FA, the ECB and RFU, the LTA and Royal British Legion. Our ambassadors include sporting figures such as Graeme Le Saux, Roger Federer, Sir Clive Woodward and Geoffrey Boycott.

We also offer a membership scheme to fund our work, provide improvements and grants for protected sites and sponsor Have a Field Day community events. Members include individuals and families, friends’ groups, sports clubs and associations, parish and town councils, local authorities and companies. Membership starts from £2 a month (or £25 a year) for individuals and is £50 a year for groups.

In addition to supporting our work, FIT membership gets you benefits such as access to expert field management information and advice for managing sites, a regular Friends’ newsletter, competitions and access to the online membership area via our website. You’ll also receive special discounts when you buy from our selected partners – so if you’re looking to invest in any playground equipment, sports products or outdoor furniture, our member discounts from PlaydaleHAGS SMP, Stadia Sports and Cotswold Outdoor might save you the cost of the membership fee!

If you’re interested in finding out more about membership or about protecting a site with Fields in Trust, or if you’d like me to attend one of your meetings to talk more about Fields in Trust, just let me know. I have attached our autumn newsletter for you to read, which was sent to members in September.

I look forward very much to hearing from you soon and I hope you enjoy reading the newsletter.

With many thanks and best wishes for the weekend,


Kate Donnelly
Membership Manager
020 7427 2114


Fields in Trust – the operating name of the National Playing Fields Association - protecting spaces for future generations; improving them for people today