August Bulletin


Dogs Behaving Beautifully
The July sessions (aka Doggy Fit) were popular and well-received, as were the two August Socialisation Walks, but all are on hold while further logistics are sorted out.
Pawfect Dogsense trainer Hannah Molloy is keen to do more dog socialisation walks, and feedback from participants and the wider public shows there’s interest in the service and an awareness that dogs and dog-walking deserve more supportive attention.
At present there’s a question of whether it can be run at no cost to users. Funding, as ever, is quite a chore to locate. While we are trying to sort that out, we would also be glad to hear from park users about their interests and preferences.


The Value of Greenspace?
Anna Cuckow, a Geography undergraduate at Oxford, is looking for people’s thoughts on the different kinds of value that greenspaces have, and how those values might be prioritised.
She has set up an online survey here, and a printable version here. She would be glad to speak with a few people at length as well.

Anna’s time frame is quite short, just a few weeks, but the survey is mainly multiple choice questions, and is an interesting way to spend a few minutes thinking about what ‘green values’ you would prioritise, for Highbury and other local greenspaces.

Well worth some brain time!


Outdoor Education
Highbury was recently the setting for local Year 4 pupils who were taking part in an outdoor education scheme called the John Muir Award. It involved 3 days of curriculm-linked outdoor activity in early July. Organised by forest school provider Triskelion Education and assisted by Highbury Orchard Community CIC, children created land art with a history theme, then used their knowledge to interview Chamberlain family members Mary de Vere Taylor and her daughter. The school will produce both a mural and a video from the proceedings.

This is a first for the park, and proves that there are meaningful ways of extending local classroom education into the outdoors. Already, other schools are showing an interest in similar activities, from tree planting and outdoor science lessons to practical applications of other curriculum subjects.

There is a growing recognition among educationists that the natural outdoors is an important place for learning. Highbury Orchard Community is facilitating visits into the park from schools, home-educators and other families, all eager to reconnect their children with nature. Long may it continue.

In the same vein, there’s a showing of the highly acclaimed film Project Wild Thing on 26th August 1:30 at Park House, Kings Heath Park. See


Tree Damage
Wind, age, drought or disease have claimed four more trees. Of particular interest are two mature trees in the central meadow, now marked with yellow crosses. These seem to be dying of something like dehydration – the leaves are tiny, branches are falling off.

There’s also a nearby oak that’s lost a top limb – perhaps due to wind.

Lastly, the standing dead horsechestnut near the allotments gate has started falling apart. This is already scheduled for felling, but it seems to be distingrating on its own.


Vandalism and Fire alerts
Hardly a week passes without something being vandalised, though concerned park users are pretty quick to spot it and keep it in check.

This past Saturday someone marked up the Henburys wall with some churlish graffiti. Thanks to park users reporting it promptly, a cleaning crew had removed it by Tuesday morning. Result!

On Monday, someone took a car seat up to the stone balustrade and set it alight. It seems the heat was intense enough to fracture some of the stone.

Park keeper Andy says there was also a small fire closer to the hall, and raised the question of whether fire crews can get to the site easily. As far as we know there is no vehicular access to the areas below Highbury and Chamberlain House, nor is there anything larger than a hosepipe nearby, so it is especially important for people to be on the lookout as they pass through.


Newsletter Changes
The production of newsletters has been on hold since Christine stood down at the last AGM, with email bulletins taking up some of the slack, but not in a wholly satisfactory way. Enter Barbara, who will coordinate newsletter production and help out with some of the website content. We have not set a timetable yet, but are very much looking forward to getting things on a regular schedule again!


Wildlife Walks
The current schedule has been set, led by Paul Anthony or Dean Paul.

Thursday 21th August, 8 pm – 9:30pm
Bat walk

Friday September 5th, 1.00pm – 3.00pm
End of summer

Saturday October 4th, 10.30am – 12.30pm
Autumn changes and small mammals

Friday November 7th, 1.00pm – 3.00pm
Early migration and build up of winter roost

Saturday December 6th, 10.30am-12.30pm
Winter roost and robins

Meet at Highbury Park Car Park
Everyone welcome. Free of charge.
Please wear suitable footwear for walking on uneven ground

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