Macbeth

Thanks to the Handlebards for an excellent production of Macbeth, and to the socially distanced audience

Photos by Malcolm English

North Lodge Park proposal

Hardstanding proposal

The Friends have been talking to NNDC for sometime about making the best community use of the former tennis courts/hardstanding, and last month submitted a nine-page proposal to improve this last major derelict area of the park to bring it back into community use.

A multi-purpose shared space could combine multi-use areas and economic activities, and might for example include a horticultural hub, with a plant growing (and selling) area; pop-up/artisan market area; general leisure activities (eg ice skating); and repurposing the old bandstand, as a community facility and possible performance space.

We are also keen to explore options for developing new public lavatory facilities as well as incorporate some play elements into the area.

We will be working with Cromer Town Council to further develop a proposal, and are interested in hearing from community groups, individuals and businesses who would like to join us.

North Lodge Park proposal
cromer plant fair

Plant Fair 5th June 2021

cromer plant fair

Hope to see you all at our Plant Fair on the 5th June, 10am – 4pm.

Unfortunately we are unable to hold our full Gardening Festival this year but we will have Stalls selling Plants, Garden Themed stalls, The Peregrine society, Cromer Green Spaces etc.

Plus food by Fat Ted’s and The Banger Box.

Our new history book will be available to purchase.

Come and plant a Sunflower for the park and have a chance of winning our Tallest Sunflower competition (or a prize for the smallest!)

new picnic benches

New picnic benches

In the last year when open space has been in demand, North Lodge Park in Cromer has really been appreciated by the community. It’s become a “go to place” to meet outside while the pandemic has changed us. The park seating has been in demand, the new benches on the upper lawn sponsored by members of the community have already become a destination for meeting up, whether to play on the slide, nets and swing or look out to sea.

Now Cromer’s Morrisons has donated two picnic benches to North Lodge Park, to provide extra seating for the community to use on the grass area next to the rose garden. “We really support the work of the Friends group in North Lodge Park and wanted to give something practical for the community to use”, said Simon Clipsom from Morrisons in Cromer, “it has been great to see the park so well used.”

Morrisons have been a regular supporter of the volunteers in the park, as well as donating plants, Morrisons sponsor the sunflower competition which this year will start at the Plant Fair on June 5th, and the October pumpkin carving event. The donation for the benches comes from the store’s glass recycling fund which supports many local causes – money raised from glass deposited in the bottle banks in the store’s car park.

The park cafe, which has been closed all through the pandemic, has reopened. Tuesday 18th May, re-opening day, also marks the 92nd birthday of the park which first opened back in 1929. Volunteers have given the outside a coat of paint ready for the summer. As the cafe restarts things will be a bit different for a while to ensure our volunteers and customers stay safe. But we aim to get back to the café we all know and love as soon as it is safe to do so.

Photo Credit: Malcolm English Photography

Spring starts to bring the park to life

It’s been a long, long year affecting everyone in one way or another.

We’ve all missed the opportunities to meet in the café and at events, and can’t wait to bring activity back to the park; as spring starts to bring the gardens to life it feels like time to start planning this summer.

The open green spaces of the park have been a real benefit during the past year as a meeting place for many people, a space of calm amongst the world of pandemic.  Seeing how well the park has been used shows how appreciated the work of our volunteers is – I’m sure you’ll join me in thanking the volunteer gardeners, some of whom carried on (at a safe distance) through lockdown

In the first lockdown we proceeded to create the new bridge and play area to open up the upper lawn. The transformation to the eastern end of the park is amazing, and it’s great to see so many people enjoying the space and hear all the positive comments. 

benches in North Lodge Park

A huge thanks goes to those of you who helped the project by sponsoring a plaque on the bridge – apologies there weren’t more available but we are looking at another opportunity for those of you who missed out (watch this space), and those who sponsored a bench on the upper lawn.

The landscaping and ground works around the project are in progress, with new beds around the bridge to soften the harsh edges.  We are working with Cromer Green Spaces to make some parts of the park more wildlife friendly. 

  • The top end of the upper lawn is being left un-mown this year to develop into a natural wildlife area; there has been no treatment to this grass for many years so we are hoping for a natural development suitable to sustain wildlife
  • The southern third of the old clock garden is being sown with fresh wildflower seeds suitable for wildlife, this area will be more of a wild flower area, with plants that support a wide variety of wildlife

All our 2020 events were cancelled last year, but we are carrying forward last year’s theatre events and planning for Macbeth in June, HMS Pinafore in July, and Alice in Wonderland in August.  Tickets for these shows will go on sale at Easter.

north lodge park cafe
We’re still getting plans together for reopening the café, which we hope to do in time for Whitsun, so sometime during the third week in May.

Opening in May isn’t ideal as it means there won’t be time to get ourselves together before the summer rush – when we first opened in 2015, we did it in August in less than two weeks from a standing start!  

We’ll need all the help we can get, so if you want to join the merry band of volunteers, now could be the time.  Email us at cafe@northlodgepark.org.uk to discuss how you can help – we’ll need café helpers and bakers.

We also need to appoint a cafe manager – if you know anyone who would like to join us and manage the cafe please ask them to get in touch.  As usual in the summer we will supplement volunteers with some seasonal helpers – if you know any students looking for a summer job, tell them to look no further!
Please stay safe in these difficult times – let’s hope the next year brings better times; as Eeyore said: It never hurts to keep looking for sunshine.
benches in North Lodge Park

Upper lawn benches have arrived – yippee

After a rather frustrating couple of months I am pleased to report that the sponsored benches have arrived, and our volunteers have put them into position.  Many thanks to all those that have given so generously to support the project. I hope you have time to sit any enjoy.

Truly, the bench is a boon to idlers. Whoever first came up with the idea is a genius: free public resting places where you can take time out from the bustle and brouhaha of the city, and simply sit and watch and reflect. – Tom Hodgkinson

High Street Co-op benches

The rose garden in North Lodge Park is a tranquil spot to sit, and has been a real benefit to the community through this challenging year. Cromer’s High Street Co-op store has donated two benches to North Lodge Park, to provide extra seating for the community to use on the grass area next to the rose garden. “We really support the work of the Friends group in North Lodge Park and wanted to give something practical for the community to use”, said Stuart Vail, manager of the High Street Co-op in Cromer, “it has been great to see the park so well used.” Presenting the cheque is Heather Cox, who over the past 33 years with Co-op, and previously Budgens, has raised thousands of pounds to benefit local causes. Heather feels passionate about supporting the community that has supported the store over many years. The Friends of North Lodge Park are also one of the 3 local charities Co-op members are supporting this year – a percentage of all members spend in the shop is given to local charities.

Photo credit Malcolm English Photography

Something to celebrate

Quiet opening of the new bridge

Thank you.  You have sponsored 360 planks on the new bridge, raising over £40,000 towards the total project cost of £240,000.  Our thanks also go to all funders, including Cromer Town Council who funded the play equipment, and to NNDC who have agreed to take responsibility for ongoing maintenance of the bridge and play area.  Apologies for the delay installing the final plaques – we wanted to get the grass matting down near the cliff path before they were installed.

The new bridge has begun to transform the park with open aspects from the bridge, all round views, and full accessibility to the upper lawn – bringing new life to this side of the park.  Following some unforeseen delays,  the play area is now complete, has been safety inspected and grass seed sown.. 

Three months after the park opened in 1929, Mr Benjamin Rust donated the first bench for North Lodge Park, and Mr Troller a further six soon after, setting a precedent that has continued.  Once again you have come up trumps to sponsor 9 benches to be placed on the upper lawn, which we aim to install over the winter. 

We think we can help nature in the park too, from wild flowers and insects to small mammals and birds. Working with the wild-life group Cromer Green Spaces we are committed to making parts of the park more attractive to wildlife. The top end of the upper lawn is being left as a wild area of grasses, the southern end of the ‘clock garden’ a wild flower area.  You may have seen the white-topped posts marking the areas to be left wild.

In addition to the wild areas, volunteers will be undertaking planting around the bridge this autumn to start the landscaping work to complete the project.  We won’t be able to complete all the planting this autumn and this work will continue next year.  If you would like to help our team of gardeners do get in touch at gardening@northlodgepark.org.uk

“…very well done on what you are doing and what you have acheived so far. Delighted with my plaque on the bridge which itself looks very good and very usable…”

“…I wanted to send you a hasty email to both thank and congratulate you all on the FABULOUS accessible bridge and play resource you have created in the park.  When it is fully open, this amazing resource will enable my disabled mother to play with her grandchildren in a safe and accessible space. This means a great deal to us as a family. Thank you…”

“…Well done Friends of North Lodge Park. Good positive bridge enhancing the area …thank-you to all, look forward to the landscaping from the hard working team …”

“…We were delighted to see the bridge open, as we’ve walked past it most days watching the progress.   We were so pleased to see the plaque to commemorate my parents … we look forward to seeing the planting that the amazing volunteers have got planned, it will really finish off the area.   The play equipment looks very innovative and will prove a great hit with local youngsters and visitors and will bring the park alive again for all ages…”