Jack Cornish, walker and Crofton Park resident, celebrates Lewisham’s fine local parks which have been ranked among the best in London
Through lockdowns and tiers, our parks in Lewisham have been lifelines of relaxation, exercise, support and joy. Lodged in my memories of 2020 will be learning to cycle in Ladywell Fields (I finally got there at 33!); taking up jogging at dawn, looking over the borough from Blythe Hill; walking the. Brockley Three Peaks; and catching up with friends (and a beer) by the Ravensbourne.
It has just been announced that Lewisham has been ranked as the second-best borough for parks in London. The annual Good Parks for London report from the charity Parks for London scored our borough particularly highly on collaboration, skills development, public satisfaction and events.
In the last four years, Lewisham has always been placed in the top four of London boroughs in this report (out of 32 London boroughs), and our parks are one of the reasons that our area was nominated for Britain’s Best Walking Neighbourhood in 2019.
The Parks for London report highlights that, between April 2019 and March 2020, over 565 volunteering events took place in Lewisham’s parks, involving over 5,000 adults and 100 children.
In addition, there were 664 educational activities and 279 other engagement activities (such as bat walks). Many of these various activities and events, are delivered through the partnerships that Lewisham Council (and Glendale, who deliver parks maintenance and management services) have forged with local community organisations, Parks Friends Groups and faith groups.
Whilst there are justified concerns about equality of access to green space (the Ramblers recently found that people on lower incomes and those from a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic (BAME) background are less likely to live within minutes’ walk of green space), let’s take this chance to celebrate the parks we have in Lewisham and the people that put so much in so they can be enjoyed by the community.
CPRE London are campaigning for 10 new parks in London – maybe one of these could be in Lewisham, especially in a part of the borough less well served for parks and gardens?
As we come out of this difficult year, I look forward to exploring more of our parks in 2021 and hopefully joining some of those volunteering activities and maybe next year we can take the top spot.