The Rockery Walk with Andy Jeavons

A group from Friends of Preston Park were lucky to attend a walk around The Rockery to listen to a talk by Andy Jeavons. Andy, who is an experienced gardener, shared his knowledge of the history of The Rockery, the work he and his teams have undertaken over the years and the ongoing work and maintenance – much of which is now carried out by Andy and his volunteers from the community.

It was a perfect evening and we were informed about all the different areas within The Rockery and the wide variety plants and trees that flourish there. We then moved onto the pond where Andy discussed the different types of fish located there and many of us were excited to spot one of the terrapins! 🐢 We finally moved into the wildflower area where we found mining bees sleeping in the mallow flowerheads and mating six spot burnet moths in the long grass.

It was a very interesting, informative and entertaining talk which was well received by all attendees. Many thanks Andy.

Our next event on 10 August will be a tree walk with specialist Alister Peters. Please sign up on Eventbrite via the FoPP website.

Amphibian two-day workshop for adults

Following on from the success of the children’s amphibian workshop, Will Johanson of Froglife came along to Preston Park to provide another really interesting and enjoyable workshop for adults. Froglife is a wildlife charity committed to the conservation of amphibians and reptiles. They’re currently running a three-year project, Discovering Dewponds, which includes the restoration of 12 dewponds to hold amphibians. 

Day 1: morning session

This began with a presentation on the seven species of amphibians in the UK: how to identify them, their habitats and their breeding behaviour. The five you are most likely to see in Sussex are the common frog, common toad, smooth newt, palmate newt and great crested newt.

Amphibians have a variety of habitats that include long grass, flowerbeds and vegetable patches; compost heaps, sheds and greenhouses; logs and log piles; and rockeries. However, they go in search of ponds to breed: the toads and frogs generally in February and March, and the newts in March to June. Toads usually prefer larger ponds, but interestingly they have been known to breed in the Rotunda Pond in Preston Park.

The second part of the session was devoted to habitat management: where and how to construct and maintain ponds for breeding amphibians, and ‘hibernaculums’ (largely constructed from logs) where amphibians can shelter over the winter. 

Day 2: five-hour session

This was spent at the pond in Preston Park’s wild garden and devoted to two activities: pond dipping – which revealed that the pond contains newt larvae – and the construction of a hibernaculum. This involved digging a large hole, sawing logs to a variety of lengths, and then using the logs and a bag of rubble to construct a shelter. It was very satisfying to be able to do something practical as well as learn so much over the two days.

FoPP would like to thank Will and Froglife once again for running these workshops and we hope he will return next year so that more residents can learn the skills needed to encourage and protect the wonderful pondlife that we have in the Preston Park area.

FoPP Green Flag Award 2024

The FoPP is proud to announce that Preston Park has once again been honoured with a Green Flag award. It is one of seven Brighton & Hove parks to be awarded this honour this summer.

The national awards, handed out by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, are given to parks which are well maintained and have excellent facilities. The scheme recognises and rewards well-managed and maintained parks and green spaces across the country.Different aspects of park management such as safety, cleanliness, litter and waste resources and arboricultural maintenance are judged when awarding parks with Green Flags.The criteria also considers whether opportunities are available for residents to get involved in the upkeep and enhancement of their local green spaces.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed in different ways to the park. We know it is well loved and we hope that all residents will continue to enjoy the green space this summer.

Rockery Walk with Andy Jeavons, 18 July 6pm

We are looking forward to the Rockery Walk on Thursday 18 July from 6-7.30pm. As Head Gardener, Andy Jeavons possesses a wealth of knowledge about all the plants in Preston Park, and in particular, The Rockery, having worked there for a considerable number of years. Come along and hear about the mass of plant variety in the garden.

The paths in The Rockery can be slippery, uneven and steep, so please wear walking or sensible shoes. Unfortunately, it is not wheelchair accessible.

Please book tickets at: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/rockery-walk-with-andy-jeavons-tickets-854595426927?aff=ebdsoporgprofile

Modular toilet update and car park charges

Please be aware that the modular toilet will arrive at Preston Park tomorrow. It will be an oversized vehicle that may cause some disturbance for parking and residents.

Also please note that new parking charges have been introduced to the park. Please make sure you have paid to avoid a fine.

Preston Park volunteer update

The Friends of Preston Park volunteers had some extra gardening help in the Rose Garden this week. Staff members from the Stantec engineering company came to lend a hand as part of their commitment to giving back to the community. The Rose Garden has been entered in this year’s South & Southeast in Bloom competition and we greatly appreciate the help given by all those who come to help out. 

Please check out the FoPP website if you also want to help out in the garden. 

Transport plans for the installation of the Changing Places toilet in Preston Park

We are forewarning residents that on 2 July, the panels for the Changing Places will be installed. This is quite a complex process, and residents need to be aware of the movement of heavy vehicles in the park on that day. The vehicles will enter the park at the north entrance opposite Preston Bowls Club at approximately 7am.

a. They will then make their way slowly down the path running adjacent to Preston Road.
b. An escort vehicle and banksmen will accompany the vehicles directing pedestrian traffic.
c. When level with the Rotunda Café, the unit will be transferred from the articulated lorry on to the HIAB (lorry with a crane).
d. The HIAB lorry will then take the modular unit across the lawns, through the middle of the transport compound, across the path, skirt the edges of the roses, and deliver it to the site.
e. The HIAB will return to the path running adjacent to Preston Road back through the middle of the transport compound.
f. The second modular unit destined for St Ann’s Well Gardens will then be transferred from the articulated lorry to the HIAB.
g. The vehicles will then exit the park at the south end on to Stanford Avenue.

Please be aware that this work will take time to complete, and residents need to take care while in the area. It is envisaged that work on the toilets should be complete by the end of August.

FoPP Adults Amphibian Two Day workshop

We are eagerly looking forward to the Amphibian Workshop for adults on 22 and 23 June. Please note the venue for both days is different:

On Saturday 22 June, please meet at St Peter’s Cricket Club near the Velodrome at 1.00pm

On Sunday 23 June, please meet at Chalet Cafe at 10:00am to walk over to the Wild Pond.

Cherry tree vandalism

Sadly, last night, Preston Park was once again targeted by vandals. Some of our cherry tree avenue was smashed, with 6 trees snapped off. Whilst we are very angry and upset, we are adamant that we will replace these trees somehow. We will also look into providing more protection for them. We will keep those interested updated.