THIS highly active group of local residents and park users meet monthly through the autumn/winter season to carry out various management and repair tasks in our splendid local natural park. The land was acquired by the then Banstead Urban District Council in 1948 under the Public Health Act and covers a total of 116 acres. Formerly the site of Nork House, which was built by the local Buckle family in the 18th century, but latterly occupied by the Colman family of mustard fame, it used to feature a walled kitchen garden, an arboretum and more than one tree-lined drive. The road now called The Drive once had a set of magnificent wrought iron gates at its eastern end. Currently, plans are being formulated to retore public access to the kitchen garden area, which is very overgrown, and make it a useable space for recreational activity.
Before clearing the drive
After clearing the drive
The Park and Biodiversity
The park is very bio-diverse, being largely on what is now relatively rare chalk downland, and it is a registered Site of Nature Conservation Interest. This confers certain protections and restrictions on it, so the Borough Council maintains a detailed management plan for its upkeep.
Some of the land was let to a farmer until relatively recently, and he used to graze cattle on the field next to the Reigate Road. Taking the animals away for a number of years changed the ecology of the soil, as well as leaving the site vulnerable to illegal encampments, so the area has in recent years been securely fenced so that a small group of three Sussex cattle can be left to lightly graze the area each year from early spring to summer. This year they arrived at the end of February.
How the Conservation Groups works
The Conservation Group works under the guidance of the Borough Countryside Officer, and carries out a wide spectrum of tasks, from tree and scrub clearance to pond cleaning, restoring damage caused by people who should know better, opening up footpaths and generally keeping things safe and tidy. We have our own tools. Members need only provide suitable working garb and stout footwear. We even provide tea!
The picnic area with the magnificent views to the west of London, including the Wembley Stadium arch, is actually on the site of the old house. The Canadian army was billeted in the park during WW2, and some traces of their presence are still evident if you know what to look for.
To join the group or want more information on what we do please complete the form below.
Instruction, tools & tea provided
You bring the enthusiasm!
New volunteers are welcome to turn up to any session, which finishes at lunchtime. Tools are provided - all you need are suitable working clothes,footwear and gloves.
WINTER WORK PROGRAMME 2023-24
All sessions begin at 10 am and normally finish around 12.30 for Sunday lunch
OCTOBER – Sunday 29 (clocks go forward!)
Location: Allotment-Arboretum path.
Task: Laurel removal/glade creation
Tools etc: Substantial gloves for handling nettles, forks and rakes for uprooting/clearing. Wellies if you are in the pond margins.
NOVEMBER – Sunday 26th
Location: Old Kitchen Garden
Task: Tree of Heaven clearance
Tools etc: Scrub includes brambles, so stout gloves, forks and rakes.
DECEMBER – Sunday 31st
Location: Car park-viewpoint path
Task: Remove laurel at west end of brick wall and re-open glade on football pitch side.
Tools: Saws and loppers in the group’s kit should be sufficient.
JANUARY – Sunday 28th
Task: Cut back vegetation on west side of path and cut coppice poles for future hedge-laying.
Tools: As above – heavy gloves, and garden forks for de-rooting.
FEBRUARY – Sunday 25th
Location: Hedge on football pitch side of main avenue.
Task: Thicken hedge on football pitch side of main avenue by combination of planting and hedge-laying.
Tools: NPCV supplied.
March – Sunday 24th
Task: Cut back last summer’s growth and extend to east.
April – Sunday 28th (provisional)
Location: Church Lane bridle path
Task: Cut back brambles alongside path and into wood.
Request for more information or to join the Nork Park Conservation Volunteers.