FRIENDS OF GRAIN COASTAL PARK 2020

REPORT RECENTLY SUBMITTED TO THE PARISH COUNCIL

(Adapted for website publication) - 20th November 2020

 Well – what a year!  We have had some highs and some lows.  We are sometimes a victim of our own success! This article highlights some of the difficulties we face in maintaining the park and coping with some of the less-than-helpful visitors who do not always show the respect that our unique park deserves. 

 We are not an official designated Country Park with unlimited resources and extensive facilities that is designed to cope with a large influx of visitors. Whilst this is an area that local residents have created as a special open space for all people to enjoy, there are no amenities at Grain and there are reminder notices throughout saying:

 

NO BBQs - NO CAMPING - NO FIRES - NO MOTOR VEHICLES –

PLEASE TAKE YOUR RUBBISH HOME AND RECYCLE IT

 

Throughout the first COVID 19 Lockdown, we were inundated with visitors who should not have been travelling especially in the group numbers that arrived. A tsunami of litter descended on the park created by: children’s - and other - parties; take-away food cartons and bags; wasted food and illegal BBQs, all left for others to clear up. We held our breath that there were no fires. There have also been many more dogs/walkers than we ever see in a usual year who have not always remembered to clear up after their pets despite the fact that all bins accept dog waste.

The second lockdown is now in place and once again we are getting visitors in numbers that should not be here – all we ask is:


USE IT – DON’T ABUSE IT                      ENJOY IT - DON’T DESTROY IT

 

Our litter pickers have worked overtime to continually maintain a clean and tidy area on a daily basis. We had to take on an additional skip to get rid of the huge amount of ‘stuff’ left behind by those enjoying the lovely open space created but having no respect for it. We thank Fred and Val for their continued emptying of the bins (there are 20) which became a daily rather than weekly task which is not for the faint hearted.  Masks, gloves and wipes are not always disposed of properly and are often left for others to remove. 

 

On a more positive note, whilst we were unable to hold the community GB Spring Clean event earlier in the year, we did manage the one re-scheduled for the end of September. It had a good attendance and we appreciate all who attended.  The amount of rubbish we collected was a sad reflection on all the observations made above. We wonder how other parks fared.

 Sadly, we started the year repairing damaged items within the area and will also end it repairing damaged items.

 

Our car parks are sometimes full to bursting and we got the impression that many just sit in their cars, eat and drink, empty it all out of the window and drive away again.  The car park at Church Beach in particular becomes a no-go area at times, especially in evenings and after dark. The Friends Volunteers have put a plan together to close off part of the car park with concrete blocks (not often used for parking) and often abused and damaged by vehicles.

 

Our lovely volunteers also gathered a few more helpers to collect and transport appropriate infill to close up some of the unsafe holes made by not very sensible digging across the park.  It took them more than 5 hours – all of which was destroyed and removed that very same night and the holes left open – putting lives at risk - again!  This is so disappointing.

 

Volunteers also supplied, fixed and painted the chain along the edge of the playing field in Green Lane – thanks guys!

 

Our mowers, strimmers, clippers and other equipment have been well used throughout the seasons to maintain our area and thanks go to the operators for all for their regular hard work.  Our wildflower meadow in Wing Battery looked superb this year and we are pleased to report it is spreading.

 

We have recently noticed the installation of signs showing the ‘England Coast Path’ route and wonder how much impact this will have on our lovely open spaces! We welcome visitors to our beautiful landscape but hope they will be people who share our respect for the countryside and coastal foreshore.


 

Friday 13th November 2020 - Foreshore is Ready for Winter!

Thanks go to Phil and the lads from Environment Agency for their brilliant work in cutting the entire foreshore ready for winter.   It looks stunning!
We will endeavour to keep it clean and tidy but can only do so with your help.  Taking your rubbish home is even better then putting in bins as you can recycle so much of it.  Left overnight, it is a danger to wildlife and those you expect to clean it up.


Monday 29th September - Litter Pick Very Productive

The community litter pick on Saturday 26th Sept had a great turn out despite the very chilly weather. A substantial amount of litter was picked by all the "Wombles", bagged, collected by Fred Butcher and removed quickly by Medway Norse from the park (see photos below). The items collected included a cushioned sun lounger, 3 stools, discarded fishing tackle and bait wrappers - clear evidence of people leaving their litter for others to remove. 

The Friends of Grain Coastal Park would like to thank everyone who came along and worked so hard - it was great to see come new faces. Thanks also to Ronnie, Fred and Val who provided refreshments and organised the black bags, litter pickers, gloves etc that were provided. A fantastic community effort. Well done all!

 The Final Collection gathered in by Fred.

It was a whole-family effort with social distancing in place too!

Thanks to Ronnie for organising us all and checking that we were all aware of Health and Safety measures.

 


1st September 2020 - Friends of Grain Coastal Park announce the next Community Litter Pick

The next GREAT BRITISH LITTER PICK will take place on Saturday 26th September starting at Grain Pavilion Car Park at 10.00 am for a couple of hours. 


Hi to all

On Thursday 9th July Fred, Val and Ronnie did an impromptu litter pick at Church Beach car park in the morning.  We felt the car park was looking a bit ‘mucky’ to say the least.  It took nearly two hours but we were very pleased with the results.

                    

Main Car Park                                                         Extension

Obviously the resultant 9 bags and some boxes of medical supplies had to be disposed of. We managed to squeeze 9 into 6 and these were removed for collection elsewhere.  The medical supplies were reported to the police.

   


Our thanks to all who saw the photos on Isle of Grain Facebook page and offered their services but at the time - due to Covid19 restrictions - we were only permitted to litter pick in groups of 5 family/friends. If we had advertised we would have had to turn willing volunteers away.  We are however hoping to arrange a GB Clean Up in September and if these restrictions are still in place we will look to spreading our volunteers over a larger area to enable social distancing to be maintained – so Watch This Space.


Friends of Grain Coastal Park - Update 27 June 2020

 

We are a group of like-minded residents that, over the years, have taken on this green area of our village between houses and concrete promenade to create and maintain a lovely place to walk and exercise.  We are volunteers and proud of what we have established but would remind all:

 

·      It is NOT a Country Park

·      It is NOT an area for any vehicles – they are illegal and dangerous to other users

·      It is NOT a camp site – we have no toilets and no facility to get rid of human faeces

·      It is NOT a place for BBQs – fires ensue and could destroy all we have done

·      It is NOT a place to destroy what has been created – trees, meadows, wild flower areas, walk ways and footpaths

 

There are signs throughout the area – many made by local residents - but they are being ignored. 

 Leaving your rubbish for others to pick up is not environmentally friendly nor is it welcomed here.  Members and residents are appalled by the lack of care taken by all using an area created for future generations to enjoy.  Members are constantly repairing damaged areas. Rubbish has to be removed on a daily basis now and some of the items left beggar belief - Fish & Chip wrappers, Pizza boxes, takeaway wrapping, clothing and swim aids and tons of alcohol bottles and cans.  Even party catering has been left for others to clear!! 

 

Please, leave our area as you would wish to find it – RUBBISH FREE!

Thank You



COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS UPDATE 30 MAY 2020

THE FRIENDS OF GRAIN COASTAL PARK WOULD LIKE TO REMIND EVERYONE THAT THE SOCIAL DISTANCING ASPECTS OF COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS STILL APPLY: 

WE WANT EVERYONE TO CONTINUE ENJOYING THE BEAUTIFUL FORESHORE AND PARKLAND SO WOULD LIKE TO POLITELY REMIND ALL VISITORS ABOUT SOME SENSIBLE HEALTH AND SAFETY PRECAUTIONS:

  • BBQS are not permitted as they are a possible fire hazard. Recently, BBQ users have caused burns on the grass and melted the picnic tables - this spoils the park facilities and also causes environmental damage. It would be a shame if the fire brigade had to attend when they are already under so much pressure
  • THERE ARE PLENTY OF BINS DOTTED ABOUT THE PARK BUT AT BUSY TIMES THESE CAN GET FILLED QUICKLY. PLEASE BE CONSIDERATE BY BAGGING UP AND TAKING YOUR LITTER WITH YOU IF YOU CANNOT FIND ROOM IN A BIN. The bins are regularly emptied by Friends of Grain Coastal Park volunteers.Leaving your litter lying on the ground anywhere in the park, whether it is next to a bin or elsewhere, is inconsiderate to others and also potentially damaging / polluting to the environment.
  • PLEASE REMEMBER THERE ARE NO TOILET FACILITIES IN THE COASTAL PARK - if you  need a “poo” make sure you take it away with you! NO-ONE wants to encounter human or animal faeces while they are out enjoying the beautiful surroundings
  • IF YOU ARE TEMPTED TO RIDE YOUR MOTORBIKE OR QUAD BIKE ON ANY PART OF THE COASTAL PARK OR FORESHORE PLEASE RE-CONSIDER THE ENVIRONMENTAL NOISE POLLUTION AND THE FACT THAT IT IS ILLEGAL. The risk of accidents is also heightened at the moment due to increased numbers of people using our lovely park. 

PLEASE BE SENSIBLE & CONSIDERATE, KEEP SAFE, KEEP WELL AND KEEP YOUR DISTANCE. 


22nd April 2020 - The Environment Agency have done a great job on the foreshore, as you will see when you are out exercising. The Friends of Grain Coastal Park are very appreciative of the time given by EA to support us and our lovely environment. 
The Friends are continuing to do their ongoing tasks maintaining the area (such as mowing all the fields), with a special mention and thanks to Fred and Val who are still emptying the bins.

18th March 2020 - Update about the work of the Friends of Grain Coastal Park from Fred Butcher

Welcome all to another year of keeping our park clean, tidy and accessible.

 We will be holding a meeting in mid-February to arrange some events, confirm the yearly GB Keep Britain Tidy Litter pick and organise some volunteer days that all can attend.  Keep an eye to our notice boards, posters and web site for confirmation of the date, time and place and come along to offer any help you can or offer some activity ideas we can safely run during the year to keep people interested in the lovely open spaces we have here at Grain.  We ran a ‘Identify our Trees’ event in 2019 but had no entrants so this cash prize was used to buy litter bag holders for our volunteer days.

 Over the past few months we have been plagued by a few illegal and inconsiderate motorbike and quad bike riders who are destroying all the work of the past 10 years.  Some are quite young and have even younger children on the front – all without any safety equipment

Please – if you see these people:

·      Telephone 101 and report it

·      If you can help identify the riders – even better. 

·      If you see where they were parked, make a note

·      If you see the vehicle they arrived in, make a note of the vehicle registration number

·      Photos with them in the background that could help in identifying them. 

The park has Footpaths and Bridle paths – motor vehicles are illegal and churn up the areas and make the park unsafe for other users.


On a positive note – we have recently taken possession of a brand new Noticeboard (sponsored by Grain LNG) to be installed in the car park area at Seaview Meadow.  This will match the one by Church Beach car park and we hope that it will show our park areas and give details of events and photos of some of our stunning flora and fauna.

We now have 18 litter bins around the area – very well used and available for use for doggy bags as well – but really hard to get them emptied – obviously one of those jobs that we all hate!!  Thanks to Fred and Val for persevering bur do need help.  Our thanks too to those who keep watch and pick up after their animals.


Thanks also to Fred and his ‘willing’ helper Mark for working throughout the cold, wet winter months repairing steps, laying wood chip and other essential jobs to keep the park usable during the wet weather.

 Thanks to Phil, Pat and John mowing extra as the mild start to winter meant the grass still continued to grow.  Our thanks to all ‘Grain Rock’ participants for keeping the grassed areas clear – accidents will happen when these beautifully decorated stones get in the blades!

 We are now getting regular reports of grey squirrels being seen which indicates that the park is maturing and able to support new species.  The areas that are cut back annually are proving to support a greater diversity of insects with a marked increase of butterflies especially and our wild flower meadow looked stunning in 2019 but bikers have used the area and we may see a marked difference in 2020. These areas are not designed to leave your dog mess on so again - keep watch and pick up after them as people use these areas for study and enjoyment.

 

Please – use our email address graincoastalpark@ymail.com to contact us with offers of help or let us know of any problems in the park.

Have a great 2020

7th August 2019

Friends Update Summer 2019

Our thanks to those hardy few who attended the litter pick arranged for the 27th July which had to be cancelled due to the rain.  All went away to litter pick on their way home or on their walk.  The pavilion car park was cleared while waiting for the rain to stop.  This event will be re-scheduled.


Unfortunately ‘Friends’ had to return on Monday as due to an illegal event that took place within the area known as ‘The Dell’ there was an excessive amount of litter to be cleared. The police were informed at the time but it is unknown if they attended. Although the organisers of this event did try to clear and bag it, it was evident that many attendees had no thought for others and smashed bottles against stones and trees.  We spent a while trying to clear all the glass we could see but it does mean that this area is now probably unsafe for public use and we are looking at ways to close the access. It is not on any footpath or designated route but some do go for a wander down there.

We are grateful to Medway Council for arranging the removal of the resulting litter bags so swiftly.  It was no mean feat to lift these and remove from the area.

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Over the coming weeks there will be additional bins installed on the Coastal Park by ‘Friends’ to add to the 14 already there and we thank Fred and Val for emptying them each week – it is not a job for the feint hearted and obviously they do need more help. All bins within the park and those supplied by Medway Council throughout the village have been marked to show they accept dog waste as well as litter.  Please make full use of them.


Our paths are being kept clear for walkers (thanks go to Phil and Pat) but the vast areas left alone are to encourage wild plants, flowers, insects, butterflies and moths and nesting birds.  It has to be said that this year has been a success with the beauty this has created and the colours that can be seen and many have shared on social media. Our wild flower meadow planted in 2016 was stunning this year and much has spread to other areas giving real ‘value for money’.


On a lighter note we are going to run a fun competition during the summer holidays for the school children whereby they try to identify as many trees as they can by closing date of 9th September 2019.  Competition details can be found elsewhere on this site or from the library in Chapel Road, Isle of Grain, ME3 0BZ where books have been ordered and borrowed to help with the identification.  In today’s world of course – they can also find them by a quick Google search! For more information see our Tree Competition page.


Our Michael


On a Sad Note – we have recently been contacted by Michael Dale who informs us that due to continuing ill health he has taken the hard decision to cancel all further History Walks and will be stepping back from actively assisting ‘Friends’.  Michael has been our ‘Guide’ since Friends of Grain Coastal Park began and has been there to find funding for equipment, attended numerous meetings and training days and given up much of his spare time to create and maintain our coastal park and help many groups within the village.  If you would like to send him a message – please use our email address and this will be forwarded to him.


25th July 2019

Thank you to all who came to our last litter pick and helped us fill 10 extra-large black sacks on Saturday 22nd June. Our next litter pick will be Saturday 27th July 2019.