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The Royal Parks Guild – Park Champions

Things we have been up to… Park Champions

A few months ago the Guild Board agreed to promote voluntary support, in advisory role, to Royal Parks Managers – as and when needed. It is essentially to promote shared aims and objectives through collaboration, and from the guild’s side, being able to pass on knowledge and skills which could easily be forgotten – or missed . The scheme is called ‘TRPG Park Champions’, and in broad terms several of us have been nominated to act as direct conduit to respective Parks and their managers – should they wish to call for advice/support.

One such example came up recently for myself in support of the National Lottery Heritage Fund supported “Greenwich Revealed” project which is now active and will undertake a number of strategic and critically important initiatives and projects over the next 2 to 3 years.

I have been fortunate enough to have been involved at Greenwich in numerous studies and projects over the years – from the Historical Survey back in 1986 to ideas concerning successful renewal/succession of the avenue trees and for repair of the historically important landforms; so I was keen to offer service – if needed – in support of these new initiatives.

Park Manager Graham Dear asked if I would be willing to review the proposals for one of the imminent projects concerning the renewal and succession of trees in the lower avenues framing the Queen’s House. I read through the documentation and plans and was able to lend wholehearted support to the well considered proposals.

The patterns of this truly amazing and historic park were laid down more than 350 years ago. Maintaining that pattern continues to be an essential priority; but this is against a dynamic background of the ageing populations of trees and, in these latter days, exposure to other environmental challenges.

For comparison, I was also able point to the replanting of the Great Fountain Garden at Hampton Court way back in 1987-88. I assisted with strategy, consultations and implementation for the replacement of the battered and incomplete lime avenues which frame the great semicircle on the East front of the Palace. In 2022 – 34 years on – these avenues are maturing successfully as an essential part of the “whole historic pattern” at Hampton Court; I am equally confident that, in Royal Parks hands, the much needed renewal of avenues at Greenwich will be just as successful and be appreciated by following generations.

Richard Flenley Guild Committee Member


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