Albion Millennium Green is in South London. The Green is a small pocket of land of around 1.5 acres next to a railway line which was formerly a tennis club and is now a Green Pennant Award winning Green.
Forest Hill, Lewisham, London SE26.
History of the Green Edit
Albion Millennium Green was created with financial help from LB Lewisham and The Millennium Commission, when a former tennis club was landscaped into an informal park. Although still relatively young, this small site has a good range of habitats and species present – it offers a place of tranquility in a busy part of Lewisham. The site occupies a corner of what was Sydenham Common. The Common was available to the poor and landless for the grazing of livestock. Sydenham Common was the subject of many disputes between its users and those who wished to enclose the land for private use to improve its agricultural productivity. Variously used as a resevoir feeder for the London to Croydon canal, (which ran through the site), agricultural land and since the early twentieth century, a tennis club, it is still prone to the economic and social pressures of the ever-changing urban landscape that surrounds it. The Green was saved from development as a housing estate by local residents who campainged vigourously for its transformation in 2000 into the valuable community resource it is today.
Although a shelter made from the old tennis pavilion was in the plans for the Green, all trace of this is gone and no feature was made, making this possibly the only Green without a Millennium Feature at its opening.
Other Features Edit
Several features including a giant nest, a labyrinth on the site of the pavilion and a wildlife pond have been added.
The Giant Nest is a structure woven out of branches around 3M across by around 1.5M high. It has a small entrance hole for children and log seats inside. The theme of little log seats is carried on around the Green in odd corners. As of 2016 the Nest was substantially burnt, but plans are in place to restore and improve in within this year.
The labyrinth is marked out on the ground, picked out in stones. The stones get moved about from time to time, but the Team report that often local people carefully put it all back in place.
A Community Orchard with 20 trees including heritage apples and pears, mulberry, cherry, damson and plum has joined the delicious blackberries we get in abundance since its first trees were planted in May, 2010 to mark the 10th anniversary of The Green.
The Green has become the site for a number of performances and arts events that have negotiated a dialogue between its human and non-human users.
Man Digs PondEdit
The pond was created in 2011 as a 24 hour non-stop performance event, Man Digs Pond. The performance was recently restaged in Reims, France. The spectators could observe the creation of this important wildlife resource and join in with acoustic music and song of their own choosing. You can see a 7 minute video of the performance here: Man Digs Pond on Albion Millennium Green
Little Ecological Arts Festival (LEAF) in May 2013Edit
During which enduring installations such as a Labyrinth and giant Birds Nest were created. You can see a 3 minute summary of LEAF here: Little Ecological Arts Festival
We have had several other performances including more traditional 'promenade' theatre shows such as Wind in the Willows and Jungle Book and countless tree planting and nature watch events with local school kids. Check our events page on our website: Events on Albion Millennium Green
Nature & Wildlife EditThe Friends record all bird sightings and sundry plants and other animals. The creation of the pond has led to dragonflies visiting and the Friends have widened the selection of trees and other plants on the site.
The friends created a pond to increase biodiversity and various plants and animals are able to live there. As of 2015 the pond is punctured and dry, so we have put in two mini-ponds to keep us going until a new pond is created. We plan to make it bigger, better and more robust.
Links with other GroupsEdit
Albion has links with various local organisations and plans to include them in the new Trust format it is creating in 2014.
Green Flag AwardEdit
The Green has been awarded with the Green Pennant/Green Flag for the last two years with an increasing score and is now in the second highest score range. We have just been judged for the 2014/15 award.
Nearest Millennium Greens Edit
Friends of Albion Edit
Albion has a Friends organisation which is separate from the Trust. The Friends ran the Green in conjunction with their local authority for some years until a new group of trustees was established in 2014. Now the Friends operate the Green on a day-to day basis with oversight by the Trust.