Friday, 16 June 2017

Lesnes Abbey

During the 1980s I lived in Belvedere and often used to visit Lesnes Abbey Woods, either to walk the dog or to explore the wildlife that could be found there. After the 1987 storm which saw hundreds of trees blown down, the opening up of the ground to daylight saw an explosion of new plants and flowers that I hadn't ever seen before. 

This is what triggered my interest in nature and I would spend many happy hours identifying and recording the new plant life that had appeared. Eventually, and with the help of the newly formed "Bexley Ranger Service" I managed to set up a conservation group and we would go out on Sundays to carry out conservation work in the woods. When I moved away, I passed the group on to others and as far as I have been told, the present volunteer group working in Lesnes Woods dates back to that original one.

The Bexley Ranger Service didn't last all that long; the rangers themselves were all qualified conservationists and the Bexley councillors who oversaw the project never really got the hang of it. As far as they were concerned, the rangers were nothing more than glorified park keepers who should be wearing uniforms with peak caps, going round telling people off for breaking the rules. Attempts at genuine conservation work were often prevented for seemingly bizarre reasons; one of the councillors wouldn't let them carry out Rhododendron eradication work because she thought the flowers looked pretty. 

Eventually, they all left to find proper jobs elsewhere.

Anyway, I have been following the progress of the redevelopment of the woods and Abbey with some interest and took a visit to the Abbey a couple of days ago. Here are some of the pictures I took.

Panoramic view of the Abbey and gardens

One of the entrance points, this one is from Abbey Road.

There are several areas of wildflower meadow that have a wide variety of plants.

Although the nicotine addicts have to make their mark as well. Walking around the site, I started counting the number of cigarette filters on the ground but eventually gave up: it was spoiling my enjoyment of the park.

Some views around an about. I do like the way they have redesigned the site of the old flower beds, this looks much more interesting.

There were major delays in the construction of the new resource centre and cafe. My understanding is that a number of significant archaeological finds delayed things for quite a while. I don't suppose it helped that the original company hired to do the work went bankrupt half way through the project. It is looking good though. I didn't take any pictures inside as there seemed to be some sort of meeting going on.

I understand that Councillor Craske still plans to remove all the dog waste bins from the Borough. I don't know if this is still the case.

I saw this fellow in the process of being sculpted; nice to see it finished.

There is now water level access to the old fish pond which is now described as a dipping pond.

I was going to Photoshop the litter from this picture but then thought 'someone has gone to all the trouble to put it there so they must want to see it.

And of course, not forgetting....................................

The Black Mulberry tree has been fenced off to protect the roots and to discourage people from climbing on it. I must admit, it does look a lot healthier. It grows the way it does because it was planted against the wall of the old farmhouse that stood on the site. The tree grew towards the light, hence the extreme angle.

Some thoughts on the election result.

During last years London Mayoral election, the Tory party ran a campaign of vindictive personal attacks on the Labour candidate, Sadiq Khan with ever increasingly hysterical claims about how disastrous it would be for London if we elected him. It backfired on them in a huge way and they got suitably trashed.

You would think they would have learned their lesson but instead, they ran an almost identical campaign against Jeremy Corbyn in the 2017 general election and, unsurprisingly, finished up with a similar result. So why do it?

The reality is that they didn't have much choice. They could hardly campaign on their own policies - selling off the NHS and removing welfare benefits from pensioners and the disabled was never going to get the public flocking to the polling station to vote for them; and that's before they even had any real discussion on the decriminalisation of blood sports or why Theresa May had taken over 25,000 Police Officers off our streets, or why she had reduced our armed forces to pre-Napoleonic War levels, etc., etc.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Some information about the party that will be ruling Britain for the next five years - the Democratic Unionist Party.

The party which once championed a cause called "Save Ulster from Sodomy", they actually make UKIP appear moderate. Their party strongly opposes same-sex marriage and has been instrumental, along with the Catholic Church in ensuring that Northern Irish women have to travel to the UK if they need an abortion.

DUP environment spokesman, Sammy Wilson, along with Donald Trump and most of the American Republican party believes that climate change is a hoax. They actually made him their environment minister.

Mervyn Storey, the party's former education spokesman believes that creationism should be taught in schools as a science subject. Creationists believe that the world and everything on it was created at 9:30am on Thursday 23 October 4004 BC and that dinosaurs lived at the same time a humans, as it says in the Flintstones.

One of their MPs, Trevor Clarke believed that you could only contract HIV if you were a homosexual and it fell to a local charity to make him aware of the facts.

They come from everywhere.

I've just had my first hit from Turkmenistan. I get pageview entries from many countries outside the UK, most of them from the US but a good smattering from the rest of the world. I'm not really sure why, I suppose some of them are just bots but it would be nice to know for sure.

Also, my first search using the Dalvik browser which is a discontinued bit of the Android operating system used in earlier versions of Android such as Kit Kat.

According to webwiki, my blog is the 745,983rd most popular by rank and in the next few days I will have reached my 30,000th hit. Given that my blog will be four years old in September, I have to wonder why I bother with such a small fan base. The trouble is, whenever I stop publishing for any length of time, I keep getting messages from people asking where I have got to and when am I going to write again. I may not have many fans but at least they are loyal and it would be a shame to disappoint them.


  1. Loonies of other religions are available :-

  2. Taking out the dog-poo bins ? Why ?

    Could this be a part of the reason for the abortion stance? (Trying to attract some Catholic votes?)