The Clean Up Squad

It’s a well-known fact that EFOG members like to get down and dirty.

This year we have already helped to dredge the Eagle Pond at Snaresbrook with the City of London, chipped away at the iceberg of rubbish thrown into Aldersbrook Wood with Redbridge Council and dug out ditches for the Chigwell Riding Trust for the Disabled.

A project much closer to home though is the ROVSCO Scout hut wherein we hold our weekly meetings.  Owned by the Rover Scouts, it is now used by quite a number of groups, so EFOG campaigned to get the yard area of the hut cleaned up, with a view to painting the outside at a future date.  We made it a joint effort with our fellow hut-users, not only so that we could get to see them at long last, but also to make sure we did not throw anything away that belonged to them!  Both the Scouts and the Girl Guides came armed with tools and gloves and we all set too.

The particular area of concern was the left hand side of the hut – a den of mystery, usually covered in brambles that we hack back on a yearly basis.

An old stove was fairly obvious to see, but there also turned out to be a number of items of sporting equipment, various bags of part used food items and a whole variety of other ‘stuff’!   Don Stevens, the hut caretaker brought down his tow trailer and the workers soon began filling it with bags of mystery trash for the first of several trips to the local recycling centre.  When the main bulk of the rubbish was cleared away, the hardier members also dug out the roots of the brambles and the area was prepped for turf, fingers crossed that the brambles would not re-invade.

While all this was going on, the Guides set too and cleaned the kitchen area thoroughly.  They also made the tea for the workers (thank you!) then cleaned the inside of the hall – an end to many a dead long-legger and cobweb!  The Scouts mended the fence and cleaned up the main gate area and the spare Efoggers turned to with those pesky brambles again, trimming and tidying not only the garden area but the pit at the right hand side of the hut where much of the previous bramble bash’s remains had now rotted down to manageable proportions.

Chairman Jim called a halt to works at lunchtime.  A stack was made of the larger items, that were to be collected by a Guides representative with a much larger truck, and the workers all adjourned for a wash and brush up and lunch.









Fundraising Quiz in aid of the Macmillan Cancer Care Charity

Earlier this year the members of EFOG invited friends and family along to a fundraising quiz in aid of the Macmillan Cancer Care Charity.  The quiz was intended as a thank you for the support given by Macmillan's to one of our members, Jane Hayward, who was fighting cancer at the time.  Between the tickets sold, the raffle and the 'guess the weight of the cake' competition, we managed to raise £200 for the charity on what was a very worthwhile evening.100_0799

The cheque was presented to the Information officer for Macmillan at Whipps Cross Hospital, Perpetua Egan - seen here with some of the EFOG members who took part in a fundraising walk for the volunteer service at Whipps Cross - by the chairman, Jim Carroll.

Visit to the Lake District - 29th April to 3rd May 2011

In late April and early May 2011, nine members of the Epping Forest Outdoor Group stayed at Windermere for a visit to the Lake District.

Tina organised the trip, originally with only four people opting to go. These were Tina, her sister Bianca from Rome, Paul and Dave. Some time after the bed and breakfast accommodation was arranged, Pam and Fozi decided to join us, and booked their accommodation across the road. Then - at the last moment - Ken decided to come too, so booked accommodation next door to Pam and Fozi. Only when we arrived did some of us discover that Ann and Duncan had also joined us, but staying at Shearing's Windermere Hotel.

Six of us travelled by train from Euston, Pam drove from Lincolnshire and Duncan and Ann drove from High Beech. As most of us arrived fairly early on Friday afternoon, we had plenty of time to stroll up tio the viewpoint at Orrest Head for the first real view of the area for some of the party. The following day, Paul led the whole group on a 6.5 mile walk on the other side of the lake, as far as the village of Far Sawrey.

Sunday saw the group splitting into different parties, as some took a guided tour in a mini-bus across the high passes, and others a bus and walking trip led by Ken to Great Langdale. On Monday, Ken led us on another walk from Grasmere up Easdale to Easdale Tarn, a distance of 4.5 miles.

Tuesday again saw the group doing different things. Bianca and Tina wanted to see Hill Top, the home of Beatrix Potter, so Paul and Ken accompanied them whilst Dave and Pam went on a boat trip on Lake Windermere. Whilst Fozi had needed to return home the day before, Pam was to drive later in the day to Redcar, Ann and Duncan to High Beech and Tina, Bianca, Dave and Paul caught the 4pm train from Windermere via Oxenholme to Euston.

Paul Ferris, May 2011

 click here or on the link below for a you-tube video:



EFOG takes a banana to Aldersbrook Wood

Aldersbrook Wood has been a neglected small area of woodland adjacent to Wanstead Park, and acting as green barrier between it and a 1970's housing estate. (see here for more information)

It seemed to have been forgotten by its owners, the London Borough of Redbridge, and although much used by birds and animals - including a pack of foxes that seem to live in it, it was either mostly unappreciated or even abused by local people. The abuse mostly takes the form of the depositing of casual litter, fly-tipping or garden clearance throw-outs.

I managed to get the attention of L.B.Redbridge partly by the psychological ploy of giving the wood its name - it is very much part of the Aldersbrook area so Aldersbrook Wood seemed quite appropriate and quite nice sounding. An Internet search for "aldersbrook wood" now even brings up one or two references in addition to my own! So - together with the Borough's Conservation Ranger Francis Castro - we marked out the wood for a practical work day on April 12th.

This was to take place with LB Redbridge staff and anybody who wished to attend. It was a bit unfortunate that I was allocated an important hospital appointment on the very day, so it was a bit of rush for me to get there, and because of the nature of the treatment was inhibited from getting stuck in.

However, when I arrived I found that there were three Redbridge staff, two people from Leytonstone that do conservation work with other groups, one member of the Wren Conservation Group who lives very near the wood, and Sue and Jim and Ann and Duncan from EFOG. From work we have done at Copped Hall, Chigwell Riding Trust and Snaresbrook in particular, it can be assumed that EFOG's contribution to the work was substantial. It was a warm day, but the wood offered some shade, and banana breaks notwithstanding, a quite incredible amount of rubbish was cleared between 11am and about 2.30pm. This included most of the component parts of a motorcycle, a boat's paddle, various bits of electronic equipment and countless drink cans. (well - they could've been counted, but there wasn't much point)

I assumed that probably it wouldn't be noticed by many that anything had happened, but at least got an e-mail from somebody who knew that it did saying they couldn't find any rubbish there anymore. We did do a bit of vegetation clearance along the main path through the wood, but because of the time of year thought it prudent not to do too much of that because of disturbance to wildlife at this time of year. It is hope that another work day will take place much later in the year when some bramble can be cleared, and glades and paths opened up.

Aldersbrook Wood is almost contiguous with "my" pet project, which was the old Redbridge Southern Sewage Works site - which became part of Epping Forest. The wood is tiny even if compared to that, but it's so important that green spaces such as this are retained and cared for, so they can act as a barrier to development, a public amenity and a place for wildlife to live. Thanks to those members of EFOG who helped towards achieving this.


Paul Ferris, 20th April 2011

Viewing the Bulwark - a walk from Stratford to Greenwich - Saturday 19th March 2011

It was Saturday 19th and It was arranged that we would meet at Stratford at 10am - just seven of us, perhaps because the walk had only been announced on Thursday evening.

I went along for the walk rather than for the thrill of seeing one of Britain's naval defences on a visit to Greenwich or the suggested noodle-lunch afterwards. I was quite happy to be led on the walk, too – as I couldn't envisage a realistic route that wouldn't duplicate ones I'd been on – either with the Group or personally – recently. But fings bein wot they are, Jim suggested that at least initially I take the lead.

 On the Meridian at the GreenwayOn the Meridian at the GreenwayOur first problem was crossing the road; a complicated mess of bulwarks against pedestrian access to pavements was a hint of things to come. The one-way road system negotiated, we left the main road and accessed a more pedestrian aspect of the walk by means of the way we'd taken when we did Jim's walk from Stratford to the South Bank some weeks ago. My idea was to soon pick up the Greenway for a short distance, then to walk along the Channelsea Creek by way of the Long Wall to Three Mills. We posed for a picture as we crossed the Greenwich Meridian on the Greenway, then walked down off it to the Channelsea. The mud, tyres and trolleys in the creek were rapidly becoming covered by the tide – a particularly high one I supposed because of the impending Equinox. A short way along towards the Long Wall – thankfully a short way – we found our way blocked by a security fence. This is fairly normal around Stratford these days – although quite unpredictable – but whatever, we had to turn back and retrace our route until we re-reached the high-road to London. We weren't long on that, because we were able to walk alongside the channel that runs directly to Three Mills.

Three MillsThree MillsThe day was glorious, sunny and warm for March, and the Three Mills complex looked great in the light. I remember it when it didn't look so great, but was still a remarkable area. But then it didn't get the visitors, and in some ways I preferred that to the “busy-ness” that it experiences now – walkers, cyclists, tourists, boaters, anglers, historians, film-stars.

I was still trying to work out a route, and considered one through Bromley and Poplar on a route that I've been planning, but thought that this would then spoil that, so relented to keeping to the Limehouse Cut – precisely the route we'd done before. Going across the lock at Bow, I could see that on the long-inaccessible east bank of the Lea, the “Fat Path” that will lead directly to the Thames is laid out, complete with seats. That'll be a route - when it's opened!

Limekiln DockLimekiln DockAt the Limehouse end of the Cut, I knew of a good café. It's right on the corner of the Burdett Road and Commercial Road, and used to be a bank. Good value, good selection of east London fare, and clean, too. After tea/coffee (and cake for Fred) we crossed towards Westferry Station and had a look at Limekiln Dock (again - for some). The tide by now was well in, and small waves were breaking on the shore, a nice sea-sidey sound. Along the Thames walk the sea-side feel was accentuated by the sea-salt smell that I haven't got for a while now. A few people in the riverside apartments were sitting on their balconies in the sun, or even getting chairs out onto their communal lawns.

HMS Bulwark at GreenwichHMS Bulwark at GreenwichWe didn't quite take the same historic-reference route that Susan B.'s Limehouse to Greenwich walk had done, but tried to stick more closely to the riverside. But this is harder-than-ought on the Thames Path, because in a number of instances we were blocked either by locked gates, inappropriate walls or development. Bearing in mind our objective was to reach a warship by the name of Bulwark, we encountered a few of these on route before we did so. Nevertheless, as we rounded the curve of the river, HMS Bulwark came into view, moored nearer the Greenwich bank. She is a large craft – 18,500 tonnes and with a length of 176m – and is classified as a 'Landing Platform Dock Ship', with the ability to launch helicopters, landing craft, tanks and hovercraft.

Unlike last time when we walked to Greenwich, this time we were able to walk through the foot-tunnel. Greenwich was crowded as usual, but we made our way directly to the noodle-bar and although it was busy, we got a table immediately. I'm not over-fond of Chinese-style food, but readily admit that the choice, service efficiency, cost and quality of the meals are admirable.

Our walk was about 5.5 miles, and we returned by way of the DLR to Stratford.

Paul Ferris, 20th March 2011