Sunday, 3 February 2008

Park views appeal

Woodthorpe Park artists, May 2006.

On Friday I am having the knife taken to the juvenile bunion on my left foot, so I will be out of action for a few weeks at least. This means I won't be taking pictures of the park, although I hope Susan will take a few so that I have something to post. I also hope to persuade some of my friends and the few of you who look at my blog to send me a photograph of a park you like, together with a few words about the park in question — you will be my 'guest contributors' whilst I am out of action. I look forward to seeing what you send me. Please use my personal email address: robert.howard@local-history.co.uk.

To start my appeal off I have dug into my archives and come up with the picture I took in Woodthorpe Park in Sherwood, which is to the north of city centre and on the right-hand side of the Mansfield Road as you leave Nottingham. It is also where the headquarters of Nottingham's Parks Department is located.

I hadn't realised that it was so long ago, nearly two years. We went by bus and if my memory serves me correctly it was a lovely day. Close to the Parks HQ is this slightly sunken garden with a path on two sides which enables you to look down into the garden. Whilst we were there we saw eight artists painting and drawing the garden and my picture captures four of them at work. The blossom was falling from the cherry trees and creating a carpet of pink. A kind of timeless moment and whenever I think of Woodthorpe Park I think of this particular moment first. We enjoyed much more of course, the walk up to the house from the Mansfield Road along an avenue of trees and around the sunken garden to the hot houses full of tropical plants and lush green vegetation from where you could look into long greenhouses full of plants waiting to be taken out and planted in parks across Nottingham. From here we wandered across a car park and along bending paths where the bushes had not been cut back and you emerged into a kind of dell where we saw an elderly courting couple in a passionate embrace. I remember them looking and smiling. We then climbed from the dell and made our way back towards the Mansfield Road and a bus back into town along narrow paths which twisted and turned like a downhill slalom among the trees. As a park it provided a series of quite different experiences, all of which were enjoyable. Once my foot is mended and out of plaster we will pay Woodthorpe Park a return visit to see how much remains the same and what has changed. It was a good afternoon out. I can't remember a café. Perhaps there will be one when we go again, as to have a nice cup of tea and a scone or a teacake makes any trip to a park a little further from home well worth the effort. I will check before we go and take our own if there is no
café.

So, come on now, don't be shy, share a picture and a memory or two of a park that you like.

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1 comment:

Robert said...

Like it! I’m part of a neighbourhood group here, and improving the local park/creating linking green corridors where possible is one of our objectives too. Unfortunately all the residents surveys say the parks are great, so never any money. But the real issue is that I doubt if any of the new developments springing up around Cambridge will have any parks comparable to even the smallest pre WW2 ones ? Ditto allotments, despite the fact that ours in flourishing, though some growing trampolines and BBQs.

Open Spaces Society my number one lobby group.

Have you read anything by Ken Worpole ? He has been in the press in recent years supporting lidos, but parks is one of his things too. Fresh air, sunshine and light was a very 1930s , Nordic, TB related thing, but still holds very true. One of the reasons those who can will flee to the ‘countryside’, then clog up the roads driving back into the towns to work and shop? So the logical thing to do is create green spaces in the urban areas easily accessible to where people live?? Sheffield has a great ring of parks, along with other large 19th century cities, but as a rule the smaller the city, the fewer the open spaces.

Hope all is well.
Allan Brigham