Brighton and Hove Green Spaces Forum

It is so useful to share problems and solutions, and just get together with others doing similar things. Two of us from Friends of Brighton Greenway went along to one of Brighton & Hove Green Spaces Forum’s regular networking meetings last week. It was heartening to hear about all kinds of different initiatives across the town where local people are getting together to look after parks, set up community gardens, organise tree planting and oversee composting. We exchanged ideas and commiserated over the inevitable challenges and set-backs. We heard about the work of the Brighton & Hove Food Partnership and the importance of trees in urban areas. The Forum has a wealth of information on its site about gardening/greening groups in the city – and of particular interest were the slides from Prof. Dave Goulson’s recent talk on Gardening to Save the Planet. It’s what we’re trying to do up on Brighton Greenway – in a very, very small way. But our recent audits show a good diversity of wildflowers and insects in an urban area – every little helps, and you can help too: see details of our next workdays. Come and join us on Brighton Greenway!


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Sunday 13th October – cancelled but … creative workshops!

Sadly, the weather forecast is showing a high likelihood of heavy rain just when we were planning to have our clear up tomorrow, followed by our AGM. We have to cancel tomorrow’s session.

Our next session is planned for SUNDAY 3rd NOVEMBER from midday, and we will hold our AGM after that, between 2pm and 3pm.

But other things going on … CREATIVE WORKSHOPS to transform ‘Pigeon Poo’ Bridge … Taking place indoors tomorrow afternoon SUNDAY 13th and SUNDAY 20th 2-4pm are two creative workshops as part of a street art project to create a mural to improve the miserable New England Bridge area. They will take place at St. Luke’s Prestonville with local artist Katy Beinart. Do go along with your ideas for the New England Bridge area …

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Reviewing our year – Annual General Meeting 13th October

Our next workday is SUNDAY 13th October from midday and we’re going to add our Annual General Meeting on to the end of it – rather than try and organise another meeting – between 2pm and 3.30pm.

The idea is that we find a quiet café or other space and enjoy a cup of coffee and a bite to eat together, while reviewing the year and thinking about things we do in the forthcoming year. The AGM also means electing our Committee – so if you’d like to get involved and if you’ve got ideas for what we can do up on Brighton Greenway, come along!

We’ll be having our usual work session clearing litter and cutting back growth between 12 and 2pm, and then departing from Brighton Greenway (the entrance from Boston Street just behind the Church of Christ the King) – at 2pm. The exact venue for our AGM will be announced – check here nearer the time. You can find the Agenda and Minutes of last year’s AGM under the ‘Our Meetings’ tab and here: FOBG Agenda 19.10.19 AGM FOBG Minutes AGM 11.9.18

All are welcome!

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The edible planters experiment

Back in June, we worked with residents from Stroudley Road to set up a couple of experimental planters for growing edible crops on Brighton Greenway. We used wooden boxes and pallets kindly donated by The Wood Store.

Residents purchased compost and we planted up the planters with a range of bought and sown edible seedlings from cavalo nero to courgettes and sweet corn.

The planters have worked well, thanks to dedicated watering and feeding with tomato feed. It’s been dry for much of the summer so this really has been a commitment. But now there have been good crops and the planters look good.

We’ve talked about experimenting with further planters on this west side space to allow other residents and members of Friends of Brighton Greenway to grow edibles.

Edible growing was among ideas originally mooted for Brighton Greenway. However, given that it is a post-industrial site, planting directly in the soil is not feasible. But the raised planters have been a success – easy to construct and maintain, even if watering is the major challenge. Below photos of them bountiful at the end of July looking!

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Coming into summer … wildflowers

The weather has been very unpredictable this year – when isn’t it? – and a dry May has led now to a wet June. The wildflowers on Brighton Greenway in May have not been so visible as in some previous years, but they are there, and in some places and at some times, looking very beautiful.

At our last work day, we delighted in the ‘meadow’ that has grown up on the west side of the bridge. There are ox-eye daisies, red valerian, buttercups, herb robert and … on close inspection, delicate pink grass vetchlings (Lathyrus nissolia). Impossible to photograph them with my mobile phone: they are small very delicate bright pink bobbing flowers on long stalks.

In other places, nettles and dock have come to dominate, but there are well established patches of knapweed (Centaurea scabiosa) and lots and lots of pink campion (Silene dioca) and ox-eye daisies. The poppies and cornflowers we’ve sown in previous years appear here and there, and borage is now in evidence after somebody planted some borage seedlings a year or so ago.

We’ve updated Wildflowers on Brighton Greenway 5.19. There may not be any rare species but there’s a good range of plants growing up there.


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Into the spring … 31st March

We had a great work day on Sunday 13th January with fifteen volunteers working up on Brighton Greenway, picking litter, cutting back the vegetation by the ‘tool’ fence overlooking Boston Street and cutting back on the Isetta strip. Our next work day is going to be SUNDAY 31st March.

We’re not meeting in February – there’s likely to be maintenance work going on with scaffolding on the west wall. The broken down wooden fence on the east wall is also in the process of being repaired. The railings on the steps up the New England Embankment have already been replaced; with metal rather than wood, which is not as attractive, but this is likely to be more durable. Arrangements are also being made for the cycle track for pushing bikes up the embankment to be replaced.

Do come along on March 31st – from midday until 3pm. Wear solid shoes and bring gardening gloves if you can. We’re a friendly bunch, so do come and join us for whatever time you can spare. And what will we be doing? The usual jobs of litter-picking, weeding, cutting back dead vegetation and … depending on the weather … maybe some planting or seed sowing.

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New year …

Our first work day of 2019 … today SUNDAY 13th January 12 – 3pm 2019. We’ll be on Brighton Greenway doing the usual maintenance things: litter picking, sweeping up leaves, cutting back overgrown vegetation and generally trying to give a bit of love and care to this urban pedestrian walkway.

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