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…”

benches in north lodge park

Benches to complete the project

To complete the landscaping we all need somewhere to sit and we have identified places across the upper lawn where we think benches would help bring the park together. 

benches in north lodge park

Bench sponsorship will be allocated on a first-come first-seated basis.  If you are interested, a donation of £850 will secure a traditional bench in your name, with a line of text of your choice engraved onto the bench back.  £1700 will secure you sponsorship of one of the special conversation benches.  

Benches will be maintained for at least 10 years.

For more details, including all terms and conditions, visit  northlodgepark.org.uk

new bridge in north lodge park cromer

New Bridge Opens Quietly

new brisge in north lodge park

Social distancing requirements meant a very quiet opening of the new Playful Connection bridge in North Lodge Park at the beginning of August.  The plaques from generous sponsors – raising over £35,000 towards the costs of the project – were installed on the bridge on 1st August, and many of you have already been to look for your plaques, and to admire the wonderful views from the bridge.

Please remember that social distancing should be maintained at all times on the bridge, including when looking for your plaque. 

The play equipment on the Upper Lawn is now being installed, and subject to sign-off from the play inspector and NNDC this should be open by the middle of August.  The gardening volunteers will then get to work around the new bridge and on other planting across the area and the old clock garden.. 

new bridge in north lodge park cromer

New Bridge Opens Quietly

Due to the need to maintain social distancing, the new bridge in North Lodge Park opened quietly at the weekend after the plaques were installed. Many thanks to over 300 of you who have sponsored part of the bridge raising over £35,000 towards the costs of the project.