July 2013 ....

Click on pictures for a larger image!


On the evening of Monday 29th July, Vic Smith and Bernard Kelly (Chair and Vice-Chair of Friends of Eastfield Park respectively) walked through Eastfield Park in the company of County and Borough Councillor Mike Hallam. In addition to being the County Councillor for the new Division of Boothville and Parklands (which also includes Lakeview, Arbours and Eastfield Park) Mike is Borough Councillor for the Parklands Ward and NBC Cabinet Member for the Environment which includes responsibility for all of Northampton's parks.

During the walk the trio discussed a wide range of issues relating to Eastfield Park. High on the agenda were provision and on-going maintenance of paths and litter bins. Apart from stressing the fact that many local residents have requested all-weather footpaths to be constructed across the Park, Vic and Bernard pointed out that the gravel Play Trail through the spinney on the north side of the Park has not been maintained for the last two years. These paths were contructed at a cost of around £20,000 as part of the £50,000 playbuilder funding for Eastfield Park in 2009. They were last maintained by a voluntary group from Groundwork Northamptonshire working with the Friends of Eastfield Park in 2011. Mike agreed that paths like these should ideally be maintained by the local authority, leaving the FoEP to look after paths that could not be adopted by the Council.

Play Trail 2011 (Installed 2009)
Play Trail 2013

The Play Trail in August 2011 after maintenace by Groundwork Northants and in July 2013.

Mike also agreed that it would be good to have more litter bins in the Park but they would need to be located at sites where Amey operatives could empty them as part of the existing contract with NBC. (Amey is the business now responsible for the work previously carried out by Enterprise.)

Overall, the walk provided a good opportunity for discussions about the future of the Park and greater co-operation between the FoEP, local councillors and NBC. While it is too early to say what the eventual outcomes might be, it does seem that we are at the start of a new chapter in the history of Eastfield Park, a chapter that will help to fulfil the FoEP's vision: "To create a safe and accessible park with well managed and maintained facilities and amenities that enhance the well-being of residents living in the area. The park should reflect and retain its natural beauty and heritage and be a place to relax, learn and be inspired."


The ponds in Eastfield Park may look rather neglected but they are, never-the-less, seething with life. Vic Smith has been compiling a list of the animals found in them and hopes, at a later date, to publish the list on our sister website:

Sphaerium form top pond

Sphaerium sp. from the top pond in Eastfield Park

One of the most common species in the top pond is the very small freshwater mussel illustrated above. It is just a few millimetres long and moves using the muscular foot shown pointing downwards in the picture. The mussel has two siphons, also visible in the picture. One of these is for taking water in to supply the animal with food and oxygen; the other for expelling it along with waste products.

The two siphons reveal that this mussel belongs to the genus Sphaerium (Orb Shells). Pea mussels (Pisidium) look similar but only have one siphon. Both genera are included in the same family of bivalve molluscs - the Sphaeriidae. Vic has not yet identified which of the four British species this is.

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