Brilliant new cafe space

Work to improve the Pavilion has finished. We now have a beautiful new all weather outdoor space to enjoy with decking, seating and roof and safer access to the cafe. 

We are so excited and we love it – we hope you do too!
Pavilion work in progress during the build

The pavilion improvements were agreed with Lewisham Council as part of Section 106 funds allocated in 2018 to improve local community facilities.

The decking and shelter have been designed to improve the community’s experience at the cafe, as well as watching children’s football in all weathers and having a great space to meet.

A huge thank you to Glendale, Culverley Green Residents’ Association and Forster Park Friends committee (past and present) for seeing this through.

Please come and celebrate at the picnic on Sunday as we officially cut the ribbon to open this wonderful new space for all the community!

New woodland garden mural celebrates Benjamin Zephaniah’s Nature Trail

Have you spotted the new mural yet? It’s on the tool shed by the Longhill Road entrance and features some of the beautiful birds, insects and plants that you can see in the park’s woodland areas. Painted by Aspire Artwork, it is part of a broader piece of work to celebrate and improve our beautiful woodland garden.

The mural feature’s the final verse of one of the legendary Benjamin Zephaniah’s best known poems, Nature Trail. This is a firm favourite for many local schools and families, celebrating the diversity and beauty of nature.

There’s a hedgehog and a frog
And a lot of creepy-crawlies
Living underneath a log,
There’s a baby daddy long legs
And an easy-going snail
And a family of woodlice,
All are on my nature trail.

There are caterpillars waiting
For their time to come to fly,
There are worms turning the earth over
As ladybirds fly by,
Birds will visit, cats will visit
But they always chose their time
And I’ve even seen a fox visit
This wild garden of mine.

Squirrels come to nick my nuts
And busy bees come buzzing
And when the night time comes
Sometimes some dragonflies come humming,
My garden mice are very shy
And I’ve seen bats that growl
And in my garden I have seen
A very wise old owl.

My garden is a lively place
There’s always something happening,
There’s this constant search for food
And then there’s all that flowering,
When you have a garden
You will never be alone
And I believe we all deserve
A garden of our own.

Want to read more of this joyful celebration of nature? You can borrow the book version from Lewisham Libraries .

Green Flag and London in Bloom Gold Awards

Along with other parks and nature reserves in the borough that are already designated, Forster Park has recently achieved national ‘Green Flag’ status.

This is in recognition of the quality and management of its space, community involvement, recreational use and of measures to boost biodiversity including within the ancient woodland. 

Forster Park has also been recognised with a Gold in the London in Bloom awards for a large park, which celebrates and recognises volunteer and community efforts to make the Capital greener, increase biodiversity and enhance neighbourhood communities.

We are very proud of these achievements and we hope you are too!

We’re especially grateful to our incredible volunteers, the Council’s Parks team and Glendale who manage the park on behalf of the Council, the Frothy Coffee Hut team, all the community partners involved in the park – and our amazing sensory garden team, who won over the judges with our wonderful community space that so many of us enjoy being in.

Memories of Forster Memorial Park

Local Resident Sheila Warr first visited the park in 1948 – she shares her memories below

My very first memory of Forster Park is when I was about four years old.  My parents, brother and I had just moved into the newly built houses opposite the park in Whitefoot Lane in 1948.  Several young families had moved into these houses and my mum used to take several of the neighbour’s children and myself up to the park.  Where the Academy is now used to be a meadow with long uncut grass and on one occasion my mum took us up to play there and she kept hiding from us so as I couldn’t see her and me, only being 4 started to cry.  However she soon appeared again so all was well.

Then as I got older we were allowed to play in the park and at the Whitefoot Lane side there was a bank with lots of trees on so we used to play up and down the bank hiding from each other among the trees.

When I was about 8 or 9 Mary Bennett who lived right opposite my house became a Play Leader and we used to go up to the park and do all sorts of activities.  The boys played football and the girls played netball and we used to play matches with other parks such as Chinbrook Meadows at Grove Park, Home Park at Lower Sydenham and Southend Park in Southend Lane.  Other activities included Scottish and Irish dancing and gymnastics, doing displays jumping over a box.  Sometimes we  did displays at other venues, such as the Ladywell Centre and I have a picture of Mary’s daughter, Pat and I way back in about 1956.  Also as I was growing up Mum always told me that she and my dad did their courting in Forster Park which must have been in the mid-1930’s.

My next memories are of when my son was born and I used to take him to what was called the One O’clock club, although it did run from about 10.00 in the morning till about 4.00pm.  It was for pre-school children and their parents/carers and again there were lots of activities for the children and of course it gave the parents/carers time to chat with other parents/carers.  I can also remember there was a paddling pool too which was great on a hot day.

It was great when the Sports Pavilion was erected in memory of Mary Bennett as she had been such an inspiration to so many children as they grew up.

Now I am in my seventies I walk in the park whenever I can and during Lockdown in 2020 I made sure I walked there every day for an hour.

Yes, Forster Park has many great memories for me.