RIVERHEAD PARKLAND is a large informal recreational area, owned and maintained by RIVERHEAD PARISH COUNCIL who acquired the part nearest to the centre of the village in 1981. It lies between St Mary’s Drive (off Worship’s Hill) and the Hole in the Wall footpath off Brittain’s Lane. It was originally part of the grounds of “Montreal”, the home of General Jeffery Amherst, conqueror of Canada, which was demolished in 1936.
After the Hurricane in 1987, an extensive tree planting programme was undertaken thanks to the generosity of a local tree surgery firm. There is a stream along one side which has its source on Salters Heath and eventually flows into the River Darent at Longford bridge on the border between Riverhead and Dunton Green. It has been divided into 3 fish ponds by weirs as it flows past our site. In the past, moorhen and a kingfisher have nested, and ducks are regular visitors. Efforts are being made to improve the water quality to encourage wildlife and the return of amphibians to the stream.
THE NEW area of parkland alongside the footpath from the Hole in the Wall at the bottom of Brittains Lane through to the rear of the Riverhead Infants School, at the top of Worships Hill, was acquired by Riverhead Parish Council in 2005. A lot of clearance has taken place and new fencing and gates have been erected.The pond has been dredged and the trees and shrubs around it thinned to allow more light in. As a result a lot more wild-life has already returned. A wild-flower meadow has also been planted.
THE PARKLAND is maintained by a working party of volunteers, assisted by contractors when necessary. Contact is Clive Himsworth (01732 452669).
VOLUNTEERS are always welcome to join the working parties, which normally take place on the second Wednesday morning of each month from 9.30 for 2 hours. For working party dates click here. There’s lots to do, including picking up litter, cutting hedges, pruning trees, spreading wood chippings, keeping saplings clear of weeds and clearing the sluices in the stream. Tools and refreshments are provided but do come appropriately clad, including boots and gardening gloves..
WE ARE so fortunate to have this wonderful parkland area in the centre of the village and the various footpaths through it are used by the school “walking buses” every day – so please do help the Parish Council to keep it looking good!