I founded Friends of Grove Farm because during lockdown my partner and I found an amazing green space that we could walk to in our lunch breaks. In the wild woods and fields that make up Grove Farm Park, you don’t feel like you’re in the city anymore. Unfortunately, there is a litter problem in Grove Farm which was particularly bad in lockdown, due to fly-tips from people doing up their houses.
It was sad to see this beautiful wild place being treated like this, so my partner approached the local councilor and park ranger about the issues. We were introduced to a local litter picking group – LAGER Can, which is hugely active and popular in Ealing. We arranged litter picking events with them to clean up the park but thought we could do more to tackle the roots of the problem.
Most people don’t realise that part of this area is designated a Local Nature Reserve because it has some great species, such as rare wild service trees and an abundance of wood anemones, both of which are indicator species for ancient woodland. We didn’t realise this at the beginning. It also looks like the place is uncared for with litter, lack of signs and the fact that it is meant to be wild. One of our goals is to encourage more local people to discover Grove Farm, learn about nature and through this encourage a greater appreciation for the nature reserve and the surrounding green areas.
I am the secretary for the Friends Group and I help to run it. This involves arranging events such as nature talks from experts, foraging tours to get locals to come in and learn about nature and monthly conservation volunteering sessions and litter-picking. Now it has also turned into a campaigning group, fighting a development that would chop down woodland on the edge of the green space.