Last updated 13TH April 2013
The AGM was held on 9th April
See below for the elected officers 2013-2014:
Chairman Mr J. Colin Barksby
Vice Chairman Mr Douglas Smith
Secretary Mrs Elaine Nicholson
Treasurer Mrs Ann Barksby
Spring Survey 13th April 2013
Durham WildlifeTrust and FODP held the Spring Survey in Doxford Park and were pleased that it was much better attended possibly due to the better weather! We identified various types of spring flowers and Julia from Durham Wildlife Trust is investigating further but believes we have some plants that the Botanical Society will be very interested to know about.
Thank you to everyone that came along to support the event and extra special thanks to Ann (FODP Treasurer) for the welcoming broth-very tasty!
As part of the Secret Garden Project, members of FODP have a trip booked to Lowther Castle near Penrith in May.
We are all looking forward to this and it should prove very interesting and informative as the current Gardener from Lowther Castle has agreed to show us around.
When the Doxford family lived at Silksworth (now known as Doxford) House a number of the features introduced to the gardens were based on Lowther Castle as their Head Gardener had worked and trained until 1896.
N.B. This trip is fully booked.
FODP have other events planned this year and will keep you informed as they are approaching.
We are also still working on the Old Silksworth and Doxford Park book and recently interviewed a very interesting gentleman Mr. Rudi Luther who came to the Old Silksworth area as a POW in 1946 and has fond memories of the area-he also very kindly allowed us to scan his personal photographs of Silksworth Hall and it's gardens.
Mr Rudi Luther
Mr Luther attending to Silksworth Hall Grounds.
We intend to use his memoirs in the forthcoming book as well as some other very interesting reminisces and facts about the areas history and heritage.
It isn't too late if you have any relevant information or images we could add to this book.
We are interested in Old Silksworth-this could include memories of Maggies Stables, Silksworth Hall/House, the Village School and Doxford Park (the former grounds of Silksworth House not the local housing Estate).
Winter Survey 26th January
Durham Wildlife trust, members of FODP and friends had a very informative and enjoyable day exploring the park despite the cold, snowy conditions.
We were shown how to identify trees by looking at the bark and twigs, discovered how lichens can indicate pollution in an area and tried to identify wild animal tracks in the snow.
This was followed by a very welcoming bowl of homemade broth and dumplings to warm us up again-thank you Ann !
No secret which animal made these tracks!
Check out the photographs in the winter survey to see more.
I have recently been looking through some archive photographs and it is interesting to see the progress that has been made in the park.
Click on the picture below to see more older photographs.
A big thank you to everyone that came along to support FODP and DWT for the Autumn Wildlife Survey. We had a very interesting and informative day looking at the different species of fungi , ferns and trees in the park. Thanks to the FODP volunteers (and especially our young FODP helper Hannah x) for the much appreciated hot drinks on our return from investigations in the Park and to the very knowledgable DWT Team Julia, Pam and Andrew.
The Winter Wildlife Survey was held on Saturday 26th January 2013.
A very cold and wintry day but we did still enjoy ourselves and learned about how to identify winter twigs.
The Lake area is looking beautiful lately and the plants are bedding in nicely now.
We are also pleased to see the park being used more and the increase in wildlife already.
FODP are busy organising a number of great events to take place over the next year, further details to follow soon !
We are still appealing for information for the Old silksworth and Doxford Park book.
A big, big
from FODP to everyone that helped make the
Lake Rejuvenation Celebration such a success.
On 20th June 2012, FODP joined invited guests in Doxford Park to celebrate the completion of The Lake Rejuvenation Project.
We were extremely lucky to have a beautiful sunny day
(despite planning for rain!) so much of the celebration was able
to be held outside the Marquee.
The event was officially opened by His Right Worshipful
The Mayor of The City of Sunderland
and Madam Mayor.
Mill Hill Primary School Choir welcomed the guests with their beautiful singing from across the Lake on the Cascade.
FODP Members gave us a short History of the Park and
Lake Project presentation
St. Leonard's RC Primary School gave a very informative and well researched history on their links with Mrs Beckwith
and Doxford Park.
Everyone was well entertained by Robb Pipes with their rendition of The Lambton Worm and many more favourites to sing along to.
Benedict Biscop Academy amazed us all with their thoughtful and creative poetry and dance performance.
Mill Hill Primary School Choir then treat us to a couple more songs.
We even had visitors to the park stopping to enjoy the event and the new seating!
We were delighted that the paths and new seating were in place for the event despite the recent bad weather!
A special thank you to Phil Dorian and Gary Wharton the contractor for that extra push!
The Park is looking absolutely beautiful we're sure you'll all agree.
We mustn't forget a big thanks to the funders that made all this possible...
We were granted £35,000 from Sunderland City Council SIB/SIP funds which paid for Phase 1 Stage that included cleaning out the Lake, mending the sluice gate and placing the gabions.
A further £43,000 for Phase 2 was granted from the Community Spaces programme which is being managed by Groundwork UK as an award partner to the Big Lottery Fund.
Community Spaces is part of the Big Lottery Fund’s Changing Spaces initiative.
The programme helps community groups create or improve green and open spaces so that the quality of life in neighbourhoods across England is enhanced.
FODP would particularly like to thank the children who helped us celebrate the event, their behaviour was excellent and a credit to their school/parents/carers/teachers.
They were patient, polite and respectful of others throughout the event and we were very proud of them. Well done!
We would also like to thank the XL VillageYouth team for their support (very efficient despite the heat!)
and Gary Wharton for finding a generator at the last moment when we couldn't get the one we had to work!
Friends of Doxford Park would like to give
Mill Hill Primary School a big
for inviting us to join in their
Diamond Jubilee Street Party Celebrations
and their kind gift of a commemorative coin.
Click here for further photographs of the event
Friends of Doxford Park have been successful in obtaining a Sustainability Grant from the Community Spaces Programme for £3,500.
This grant will allow us to maintain the Lake Project area, hold a number of events in this area and bio-diversity wildlife surveys/training during 2012-2013.
The Friends of Doxford Park are also really pleased that work is progressing well with stage 2 of The Lake Rejuvenation project. The tarmac has been laid and needs to dry before the buff top coat can be applied. There is new seating to be placed and the Cascade has now been planted.
A big thank you to all those involved with this.
click here to see photos
It has taken a lot of time and effort to get to this stage as we started the application in September 2009.
We were granted £35,000 from Sunderland City Council and a further £43,000 from the Community Spaces programme.
872 questionnaires were given out as part of our public consultation and 82.6% of respondents stated that the lake and cascade area was their main concern.
The grant is to be used to improve these areas with a new path around the lake; coir matting and planting should improve the water quality and support the local wildlife.
Unfortunately we cannot have the Cascade working again due to the amount of funding we would need but we are looking to improve the appearance of it.
Friends of Doxford Park are busy writing a book about the history of the park and the original village of "Old" Silksworth.
We are appealing for any old photographs of the area and any memoirs people might have. These might be memories of Miss Doxford, the layout of the Walled Garden, the village school, Silksworth Hall etc etc
Also apparently there was an old cine type film made of the area (possibly by Leadbitter of Silksworth??) and we would love to see it and have it converted to disc if at all possible.
We'd appreciate any support you could give us with this, any relevant photos can be scanned and returned, we could even arrange to scan and return them while you wait if you are worried about them not being returned.
click the link above for contact details or pop along to a meeting where you will be made most welcome.
FODP held a Faith Supper for our Christmas Celebrations on 8th December 2011.
Very enjoyable with lots of lovely food!!
FODP members Doug, "Glamour Puss" Linda, and Colin enjoying the
Friends Celebrate 10 years together
The 5 founder members of FODP celebrated their 10 years together with a meal at
The Red Lion Plawsworth on 23rd November 2011.
Well worth a visit! Beautiful food and a great atmosphere!
SECRET GARDEN EVENT
On 25th October 2011
1-3 in Walled Garden
The theme for this event was based on helping Miss Doxford's gardeners prepare for a party at Doxford House. Children helped Bert the gardener gather fruit in the Walled garden and deliver it down the wheelbarrow path to Doxford House with stories and activities on the way.
Bert (Helen from Groundworks) the gardener.
Storyteller Chris Bostock joined us for a highly entertaining afternoon in the park with tales of gardeners, fairies, trolls
...and so much more!
Thank you Chris for a truly enjoyable and fun time!
Click on the picture below to see more photographs from this event.
We held a sports and games event in the Walled Garden area on 10th August and were delighted to see the Parks Department have been busy weeding and planting lately.
They have tidied up the raised bed in the Walled garden and have been planting in the gabions behind Morrisons.
Look! We have fruit growing.....
...and water in the Lake after the sluice gate was mended!
Now if we can just have some sunshine for our summer events.......please!
On Friday 17th & Monday 20th June 2011 the Gabions (wire gages) were placed and filled ready for planting in the cleaned out inlet between the bridge and the rear of Morrisons Store at the south end of the park.
The water had to be pumped out before the gabions could be placed.
We are intending to have reeds etc planted here to help filter the water and keep it clean, the Gabions are used to prevent the plants from being swept away.
We have water again!
It has been agreed to seek pricing and a funder to meet the extra cost, to replace the 'Safety Fencing' to also encompass the planned shrubbery at this site, a much larger area than is enclosed at present.
On Friday the 17th June 2011 a large Willow that was in a dangerous condition near the north end of the lake was pruned, with the wood chippings being spread onto a nearby pathway.
A job well done! Thank you lads!
Keep checking the events page as we are busy planning new events for the summer.
14th June 2011
Click on the above link for a slide show of the event
Doxford Park toddler group joined us for a Teddy Bear themed toddle in the park.
The sun shone beautifully and everyone had a great time!
We would like to thank all of you that completed and returned our questionnaire in the Spring of 2010. The main reason for this consultation was to provide evidence of what the Community wanted to see developed in Doxford Park.
Click on the above link for the full PDF report.
We used the results of this report as evidence in an application to COMMUNITY SPACES for a grant of £45,000 to help us solve the pollution problems in the lake. The application was accepted in January 2011 and we are now in the assessment period. If successful, the above grant , along with a further £35,000 of funding provided by Sunderland City Council will allow us to improve the lake and surrounding area.
Other grants are being applied for, so that we can further enhance the area surrounding the lake.
Update June 2011
We are trying hard to solve the pollution problems.....
15th June 2011
We were fortunate that FODP Vice Chairman Colin Barksby was in the park and quickly grabbed his camera to catch these great images of work in progress- we were amazed at how deep this area is! Click on the photo link below to see some more images.
"The section between the bridge and the inlet behind Morrisons store has been dredged today. It is estimated that 60 to 80 tons of debris to a depth of at least a metre has been removed. It turns out that this section is fully lined with concrete, tapering in width from the bridge, back towards the store. We intend to landscape and replant this area within the next few weeks.
The main Lake is not refilling as we had hoped because the Sluice Gate is no longer watertight following the removal of the silt and has had to be dismantled to be taken for repair. ( more unforeseen cost ). In the meantime a small Dam has been constructed to hold back some water."
Colin Barksby Vice Chairman
Fortunately the ducks have still found a little water and a place to rest while we're busy!
Below: The rockery and lake side in 2004
The same area has been cleaned up 2011
We will keep you informed of our progress so please keep checking the website.