Help us select the best photos of 2021

This year’s Preston Park Photo Competition has closed. We received more than 250 entries which, with the help of all the photographers who submitted entries, we have narrowed down to a shortlist of 30.

We now need your help to select the very best. The top three will receive prizes. The best 12 will appear in our 2022 calendar.

Click here to view the photos and submit your vote. You have until October 15.

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Help us raise money to create a fabulous new cherry blossom walk

We’re looking to raise at least £8000 to plant 80 new trees in Preston Park, to create a fabulous new cherry blossom walk. Find out more or go straight to the JustGiving website now.

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Our gardening volunteers

If you would like to volunteer and you are not yet a member of Friends of Preston Park, sign up here and tick the box for volunteering. If you are already a member, use our contact form to register your interest. For more information, go to our volunteering page.

And here’s a nice article in Sussex ByLines about Preston Park garden manager, Andy Jeavons, and his gardening volunteers.

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Walled garden

Many people have also been concerned with the state of the walled garden and the grounds of Preston Manor generally. As we reported previously, Preston Manor and grounds are now the responsibility of the Royal Pavilion and Museums Trust, not City Parks, but as the grounds open adjoin Preston Park, we still have many shared interests and we have established good links and contacts with the new team at Preston Manor.

Chris Drake, the Development and Operations Manager, has kindly informed us that a new Head Gardener and part-time gardener have been appointed to cover Preston Manor and the Pavilion grounds. Five of the volunteers are undergoing leadership training which means the groups will be able to meet regularly and follow a structured process. Already the garden and grounds are looking smarter and tidier and will improve further as volunteering re-commences.

The pond in the walled garden, which had been vandalised last year, has now been fully repaired.

Preston Manor’s opening days have been reduced to Saturdays, Sunday afternoon and Mondays due to staff shortages as other museums in Brighton have re-opened. The knock-on effect of this is that the gates between Preston Park and the Walled Garden can now only be unlocked on these days. Preston Manor would much prefer to give open access to the public to the Walled Garden but this is the only way to protect Preston Manor from high levels of anti-social behaviour and vandalism. This is a great pity but we understand and share the concerns of the Preston Manor staff. 

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Wildflower meadow

You may be wondering what has happened to the wildflower meadow, which has been most disappointing this year. We have been pressing City Parks since last autumn to ensure that the whole field was fully prepared and re-seeded, but it has largely remained with just patches of weeds and very few wildflowers.

There are several reasons for this, including a cold spring and heavy rain in June and July. As City Parks could not resource the right equipment, the field was marked out for islands of flowers, which were prepared and seeded in late June. But no temporary fencing and signs were put up to keep dogs away from the field and temperatures remained unseasonably cold, resulting in just weeds, rather than flowers thriving.

We hope to work closely with City Parks to ensure a full field of wildflowers next year, as many people have commented on the lack of wildflowers that had been enjoyed so much previously.

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Refurbishment of children’s playground

A full refurbishment of the children’s playground will take place in October. We passed on all the comments you sent us regarding what you would like to see in the playground to City Parks, which mostly concerned more play equipment for very young children. Although much of the new equipment is designed for older children, the City Parks Play Officer has confirmed he will be incorporating more equipment for under 3s when budgets permit.

Meanwhile, the existing swings for younger children, playhouses and roundabouts will be refurbished and upgraded with safer surfaces. The rest of the playground will have new paths and adventurous new equipment including a ‘giant junior hilltop trail’ which incorporates the existing slides. Some existing equipment such as the zip wire will also be refurbished and upgraded.

Work will start in early October and will take about 3 weeks, so the play area will be closed during this period. It will be well worth waiting for!

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A safe summer in Blakers and Preston Park

A message from the Local Action Team:

Community safety in our parks is important for everyone, young and old, especially at a time when we value our outdoor green spaces more than ever. In Preston Park Ward we have two great parks and three Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) who keep an eye on activity to minimise antisocial behaviour and crime.

Our community can help make this summer a safe one by doing one simple thing – report anything you see to Sussex Police so that they can get a clear picture of what is happening in our parks and take appropriate action based on the facts.

Call 999 if there is a crime in progress or there is imminent danger.

Call 101 if a crime has finished or antisocial behaviour is taking place.

We are helping to spread the word as part of REPORT iT, a local grassroots campaign led by the newly formed Preston Park and Fiveways Local Action Team (PPFLAT). Local Action Teams are resident-led and focus on community priorities in specific areas.

PPFLAT provides the space for local residents, organisations, businesses and groups in Preston Park Ward to join the dots and collaborate on projects around local community issues. To find out more or take part, drop a line to ppflat1@gmail.com.

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Community Garden Trail – 14th and 15th August

This  August 14th and 15th, enjoy the Central and Eastern Brighton Community Garden Trail:

Albion Community Garden, 11 am to 5 pm, Albion Street BN2 9PP

Ardingly Court, 11 am to 5 pm, High Street BN2 1SR

Kemptown Community Garden, Sat 10 am to 1 pm, Sun 3 pm to 5 pm, Upper Bedford Street BN2 1JP

Leach Court Communal Gardens, Sun 1 pm to 5 pm, Leach Court, Eastern Road BN2 0DJ

London Road Station Partnership, Sat 10 am to 3.30 pm, London Road Station, Shaftesbury Place BN1 4QS

St George’s Bee-Friendly Garden, Sat 10 am to 3 pm, St George’s Road and Paston Place BN2 1 ED

Warwick Mount Garden, Sat 11 am to 2 pm, Montague Street BN2 1YJ

White Street Community Garden, 11 am to 3 pm, Edward Street and White Street BN2 0JH

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Flowers in the park

Rose Jones took these lovely photos of the flowers in the park:

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Have your say on changes to tennis in the park

In 2016/17, the city council and Cityparks agreed to start the process of transferring sports facilities in parks to sports clubs and user groups in order to ensure the future viability of these facilities.

Self-management of sports facilities has proved to be very successful, with clubs and other organisations generally able to offer better facilities at little or no cost to the council.

Preston Park is one of the facilities that the Council is considering transferring.

You can have your say on this here:

Brighton & Hove City Council: Tennis Clubs Consultation

 

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The beetle and the oldest elm

Britain’s elms have been devastated by a deadly disease. Brighton is the last stronghold in the south. But even there it’s a constant battle for survival.

Film by Tim Friend

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