The recent Twinkle Park summer fayre which was intended to celebrate completion of the works in Charlotte Turner Gardens prompted me to take a look around this little piece of park to see what has been done and what I thought of it.
Charlotte Turner Gardens and Twinkle Park are both leased by the Twinkle Park Trust from the council, and the renovation work that has been done has been developed and funded by the trust, which has worked with the local community (and whose board includes local tenants and residents).
The details of the full plans can be seen on this drawing - as well as landscaping and new features, existing features have been renovated or improved, and a new play area for toddlers has been created. Quite a few new trees - mostly cherry and local apple varieties - have been planted around the sides of the park.
What always puzzles me about this park - and my recent visit was no exception - was the lack of use it seems to get. Aside from a few sallow looking youths hovering around the benches on an evening, I can't recall ever having seen anyone else using the park.
On the other hand, it's not really on my way to anywhere, so I've only ever walked through it about three times in ten years of living in Deptford, so that probably doesn't really prove anything!
All the same, I visited on a Sunday afternoon, and would have thought that would be a prime time for families to be out using the park and exploring its new features. I do hope it gets more use than I have seen.
The new play area for toddlers is at the south end of the park, and consists of a series of wooden stumps of various heights, some rocks, a wooden 'sea monster' with humps behind it, a raised wooden platform and two 'sound pipes' that I assume you can talk into and be heard from one to the other. In all honesty I can't remember what was in this fenced area before - let's hope for the sake of the toddlers it wasn't the dog run.
There's also some new planting, including a load of lavender plants against the fence which separates the park from the road. In due course these should grow up and create a nice fragrant border to the park.
Around the park some new features have been created - one is some very subtle landscaping with two low embankments created with a length of low wooden fencing and earth mounds - intended to partially enclose an area of grass that can then be used for ball games and so on. I was a bit flummoxed when I saw the first one, but when I noticed the other (they really are very subtle) I clocked what it was for.
Every park has to have a table tennis table these days, and Charlotte Turner Gardens is no exception. Considering the use that the one outside the Deptford Lounge gets, I hope this one will be just as popular, although I don't think I've ever seen the one on Crossfields estate in use. Perhaps it's all about location?
Along the eastern edge is a small apple orchard which hopefully will be given the chance to mature into something quite special. I didn't see any of the cherry trees but I believe most of them are on the west edge of the park.
The petanque court right at the northern end has been refurbished and improved - again, no sign of it being used when I visited but I trust it does attract players from time to time.
All in all I think the work that has been done is successful - we'll only know about the trees and planting in due course when they have had time to mature - but I think the designers have managed to keep the intervention nicely understated and the overwhelmingly natural spirit of the space has been retained.
I do worry about usage levels of the park and whether more should be done to encourage local people to visit it more often - there again maybe it's better as a quiet, reflective place that can be enjoyed for peaceful reflection.