Since this year’s spring first sprung, we’ve been busy in and around the Hogsmill with a plethora of activities.
On March 23rd we carried out a community clean-up in anticipation of the Grand Opening of Save the World Club’s stunning new Mosaic, recently installed under the railway bridge. 40 members of the community came together to spruce up our beloved green space. The event was part of the ‘Great British Clean-Up’, a national month-long effort supporting community litter-picks all over the UK.
The somewhat grey and drab March morning couldn’t dampen the group’s energy, enthusiasm and positivity and in just 2 hours we had collected an admirable 25 bags of litter. The hard-working team celebrated and refueled with a selection of delectable snacks and sustenance laid on by the Muslim Association. Tired, but brimming with pride, we packed up our tools, content in the knowledge the the space was spic, span and sparkling, almost as much as the twinkly mosaic tiles adorning the bridge.
On April 12th the community group hosted our second annual Easter Event in the Hogsmill. The event boasted a multitude of seasonal fun, with activities including an Easter Egg hunt, a treasure hunt, an obstacle course, led nature trail walks, craft station, Dr Bike free check-ups and (the ever popular) tea and cakes stall, we even had sporadic sunshine! We had an egg-cellent turn-out of around 70 people, who swung by to sample the fun (and the baked goods). A cracking time was had by all!
A Bat Walk that Gave us Chills (literally)
On the evening of April 13th, we were joined by local ecologist, co-founder of Citizen Zoo and friend of the community group: Elliot Newton. Dusk rolled around and around 70 creatures (both 2-legged and 4-legged) emerged from the undergrowth and gathered in front of the willow arch. Elliot proceeded to wow the crowd with some breath-taking bat facts, including how many species can be found in the UK, their bespoke version of hibernation (torpor) and, amazingly, how these furry friends defy the aging process! Once equipped with several buzzing bat-detectors, the curious conglomerate set off to spot some flapping fur-balls.
The walk started well. We halted under the railway bridge and within a few minutes, a single brave bat, darted right over our heads and away across the sun-setting sky. Despite this exciting start, the British spring weather was not on our side. Bats are not fans of the cold and (much like us humans) they tend to take to their roosts and tuck-up for a nap in a sheltered spot when its chilly outside. As the night wore on, the unseasonably cold April temperatures plummeted, making the meadows of the Hogsmill an unpleasantly icy prospect for bats and bat-watchers alike, quite a contrast to last year’s balmy conditions, which filled the air overhead with bats on the wing. After trying a few locations, it became apparent that the bats were, quite sensibly, staying indoors. The bat-walkers shortly did the same and dispersed in search of warm beverages and comfy couches.
Despite only one solitary bat making an appearance, the evening was not a total bat-astrophe. We all learnt a great deal about these illusive clicking critters and why it is so important to preserve their habitats; the Hogsmill is no exception. What’s more, we know how to spot them and, come summer, the Hogsmill at dusk will be burgeoning with bats. Why not take a stroll down of an evening and see where those bats are at?
Goodgym do a Good Turn
On the 16th and 23rd of April, we were joined by our friends Goodgym, who helped us get physical in the Hogsmill and along Sheephouse way. Rather than sweat it out in a stuffy gym, these exercise enthusiasts gave back to the community by helping us lug wood-chip and clear a communal garden space (ready for planting) outside Witten and Downfield house. In actuality, the bulk of the grafting was carried out by two tenacious teams of community members and local residents who came along and got stuck in, ahead of the merry band of Goodgym joggers.
On the 16th, the team shifted what seemed like in insurmountable amount of wood-chip from the entrance to the Hogsmill to the river path, in order to keep the beloved (but often boggy) walkway dry, safe and pleasant for all to use. On the 23rd, a team of helpers, with ages ranging from 7 to 70, mucked in with rakes and forks to evict a nefarious forest of weeds and nettles and prep the ground for a low maintenance community garden. Our second work evening is taking place this Monday 13th 6-8pm. A huge thank you to everyone who turned up and got stuck in.
Summer’s in the Air
After our jam-packed spring, were looking ahead to the summer months. We’ve got more fun in the sun with activities in and around the Hogsmill, Sheephouse Way, Malden Manor Station and in our shiny new Community Hub – opening soon! Keep a beady eye on our website or sign up to our newsletter to stay in touch and find out more.