A spooktacular evening in the Park

Saturday 29th October 2022

Halloween in the Park was back after two years of absence. Little zombies, witches and wizards bopped along to the sound of Danica’s disco and followed the lantern walk into the heart of darkness…

Lots of prizes were given to children who went to extraordinary lengths to look the part, wearing face glitter paint and halloween theme costumes. Parents were not excluded from the fun as our raffle ticket sale proved very popular. Cakes and sweets were enjoyed by all and we are looking forward to seeing you all again next year.

We would like to thank Sussex Police for monitoring the area, The Chalet Cafe for providing refreshments and Brighton and Hove City Council for keeping the toilets open for the duration of the event.

Lavender Bloom

Many of you visit the Coronation Garden situated at the north side of the Park but few know the origin of the name. In 1953, the year of Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne, it was laid out as a scented garden for visually impaired people and was known as the Coronation Garden for the blind. As time passed the fragrant shrubs and sweet-smelling flowers died down, and the circular garden has been left abandoned and overgrown for years.

Fortunately, in May 2022, the park was the lucky recipient of both the Brighton and Hove Jubilee Planting Scheme and a substantial donation from Friends of Preston Park, which enabled the purchase of lavender bushes and the start of the replanting of the Coronation Garden in keeping with its original purpose. Volunteers worked hard to clear old plants and invasive weeds and now you can admire the lovingly-planted lavender alley. We aim to incorporate more aromatic shrubs in the near future and we hope our planting scheme will provide a good place for all to sit and enjoy.

A new waterhole for frogs and toads

Following on the recent news on the rebuilt of the wildlife pond we are pleased to announce that the work has been completed thanks to Preston Park ranger Neil Doyle and both his teams of volunteers who worked arduously over two days, using 10 tons of ballast, 2 tons of sharp sand and 35 bags of cement.  Layers of pond seal have been applied by the Rock Garden volunteers and now it is left to Mother Nature to replenish it, as you can see on the photo.The next stage is the planting, which will mainly consist of native marginal plants with some shallow loving waterlilies. This new ecosystem will provide a haven for dragonflies, frogs, toads, newts and snails. At one end of the pond a beach effect gentle slope with pebbles had been devised to enable foxes, birds and hedgehogs to access the water. The final part of the project will be the installation of a hazel wood fence to replace the present metal protective barrier.

We are delighted that this pond will contribute to the biodiversity of the park and be a centre of interest for all nature loving people.

A special visit to the Rose Garden – Tuesday 11th October

 Preston Park Rose Garden, with over 4 000 rose shrubs and close to 100 species, is a showcase for David Austin, the famous British rose breeder. Richard Stubbs, trade manager at David Austin, and his colleague Liam visited the Rose Garden and met with the volunteers, Cityparks gardeners and Andy Jeavons, garden manager at the Rockery. Mr Stubbs praised the volunteers and the gardeners for their hard work in weeding and pruning all year round, making the Rose Garden one of the best kept in England.

We are hoping to acquire sufficient funds to purchase 500 rose shrubs to replace those which are old and spent, as well as buying a new David Austin fertiliser.  Winter mulching is also planned. Please see the volunteer page to help us maintain this beautiful garden.

Peter Bourne’s Tree Walk – Sunday 16th October

What is the connection between stinging nettles and elm trees? They are related as they both belong to the order of urticales. This is one of the many facts we learnt with Peter on another successful tree walk. It is estimated that there are around 30 000 elms doted around the city, in parks, on pavements and in private gardens. To fight the Dutch elm disease Brighton and Hove City Council are very involved in the mammoth task of preserving and conserving the trees and in collaboration with Plumpton College, are active in the propagation of saplings to ensure a good supply of replacement elms. There has been much data research on the city’s elms and it is now established that Brighton and Hove is home to a lovely collection of 135 species, some of them being unique specimens in the world. You can admire some of the most majestic elms of the city in Preston Park.

Resident’s consultation meeting – Thursday 20th October.

Ian Baird, the BHHC Outdoor Events Development Community Manager intends to hold meetings to explain his role and reassure residents if they have any concerns regarding events. To do this it is intended to hold a series of local consultation meetings centred around key event locations in the city. It is hoped that these groups will meet regularly to discuss upcoming events, share concerns and aspirations about the events programme and even suggest events for future seasons. The first of these meetings for Preston Park will take place between 18:00-20:00 on Thursday, 20th October 2022 at the St Peter’s Cricket Club near the velodrome and will be an open forum.

Petition to Brighton & Hove City Council to refurbish the toilet facilities within Preston Park

As the largest park in the city, Preston Park is used daily by a great number of people. As the ‘People’s Park’ it is used not only by those who live locally, but also by a great number of external visitors. It hosts many events and is home to several sports clubs. People of all ages use the facilities, including those who visit to admire the magnificent historical landscape.

Yet, what lets our park down are the appalling unsanitary, unclean, and embarrassing conditions of the toilet areas. Visitors are visibly shocked, and regular users are fed up and angry that they are not being listened to when they ask for something to be done. Often the toilets are shut as they are not safe and dirtier than usual. When this happens, the public often resort to using the park itself as a toilet!! This is a health hazard that needs to be addressed.

We are asking that funds are found to demolish and refurbish the toilet facilities. The renewal of these toilets will provide a much-needed asset to the city in terms of maintaining the essential sanitary conditions needed to keep the city safe and free from certain diseases. It will also demonstrate to the community that the council is listening to, and taking account of, its residents and their needs.

Please help us by signing this petition