Turf Wars at the Temple

TURF WARS: The struggle to cultivate Wanstead Flats in the 20th Century

Sunday 25th February @ 1:00 pm

The Temple, Wanstead Park

A NEW talk by local historians

Mark Gorman and Peter Williams

Tickets £3:00 payable on the door.

As places are limited, advanced booking required with


Before it became the leisure and recreation space it is today, Wanstead Flats was used for hundreds of years by farmers, cattle grazers and then allotment-holders. This is their story, in particular the struggle by smallholders for use of the Flats during the last century.


Trees In The Landscape

'Trees in the Landscape' photographic exhibition, our second exhibition, is now on display at the Temple during weekend opening hours until early spring.

The twenty-one photographs show various aspects of trees in the Wanstead and Epping Forest area, in all seasons from winter snow to autumn glory.  Some images show details such as fungi doing its work, birds using nest holes, and spring catkins.  Others show the sheer beauty of trees and groups of trees both in a forest and a more urban setting.

The exhibition launch was very timely as it coincided with National Tree Week, bringing home the message that trees everywhere are a vital part of the ecosystem and it is essential that we protect them.

These photographs had to be selected from 240 entries and it was
heartening that the project inspired so many people to take their
cameras, go out there and think about how to take a good picture of a tree.  The Launch was preceded by a walk for 30 people, led by Tim Harris, and was attended by over 50 people who enjoyed a good natter and some excellent tea and cake.

Thanks to Wren volunteers for this.  Many thanks
also to Committee Member Tony Morrison for printing and framing the images so brilliantly.

In addition to local Councillor Paul Merry, we were lucky to welcome
Epping Forest Artist in Residence Marion Sidebottom, who displayed some of her meticulous photographs of ancient Forest trees.  We hope to see more of her work in future.

Nature Club

The other day, I asked my son what he wanted for his fourth birthday. A magical leaf adventure, he said. Of course there were lots of other things he requested - mainly Lego related – but I like his sentiment. Autumn is the perfect time for a magical leaf adventures.

Already the horse chestnut trees are losing their leaves and a bounty of conkers are falling to the pavements, ready to be seized by little fingers. Oak trees are losing acorns and the squirrels are looking busier.

Given that – it seems appropriate that next Wanstead Park Children’s Nature Club will be focusing on trees and their leaves – and the leaf crunching wonderful possibilities they give us in autumn.

It seems a whole world away from our summer Nature club where we found crickets in the long grass on a baking summer day and it will be great to discover how the sesille oak we searched for mini-beasts around is faring the new season. Will we find acorns around it or will the squirrels have beaten us?
The club will be held on Sunday 29th October between 1pm - 2.30pm - and is aimed at children between 2-7 years old. We will meet at the Temple, Wanstead Park at 12.45pm and the cost is £3.50 per child.

There will be an autumnal nature trail and crafts and stories celebrating the season. We hope to see you and your children there!

The Park After Dark…..

Have you ever walked through the woods in Wanstead Park on a winter's night and heard the haunting cry of the tawny owl ?  Have you ever looked behind you as you think you catch a glimpse of the ghost of Catherine Tylney flitting amongst the trees?  What is she looking for?  Why are there tears running down her pale face?

If you come to the Park on a night near Halllowe'en, when the spirits are out, you just might find out.

On Sunday 29th October a few hardy souls will turn up after dark at the Temple for the Ghost Walk in the woods.  If they survive this there will be something warm and tasty to sink their teeth into back in the Temple, where Catherine often sat with her children once upon a time... and where better than this atmospheric eighteenth century building to finish off the evening with a really horrible horror film?

Will you be able to find your way out again through the woods afterwards?

If you are aged 18+ you are invited to join in this ghostly extravaganza.  Meet at the Temple at 6.00pm and wear something suitably grim.

Ticket numbers are strictly limited by the modest size of the Temple so booking in advance is essential.

Ticket price £20, any profits made towards Park improvements

Catherine would approve.

Contact : gilljames@btinternet.com

A walk around Wanstead Park

The Friends of Wanstead Parklands are leading a walk around Wanstead Park on Sunday 22 October.

This, the last in this year's series of five walks, is part of the Epping Forest Walking Festival. The route will take participants on a leisurely stroll around the western side of the park, comprising Bush Wood and Wanstead Flats.

Starting at 11am outside the Quaker Meeting House on Bush Road, the walk will probably take two hours, and will point out vestiges of seventeenth and eighteenth century landscaping and the site of a Roman road. We may also spot some interesting fungi!

The official walk will end at a bus stop on Blake Hall Road, but the more energetic will be invited to continue through the park to The Temple. Now housing a visitor centre and gift shop, the Temple is open every weekend. It was originally built around 1760 by John, 2nd Earl Tylney of Castlemaine.

The walks are free, but donations to the group are welcome. As paths may be muddy, suitable footwear is advised.