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Our new butterfly garden is now open to the public

On Thursday 6 September the Mayor of Ipswich, Councillor Mary Blake opened the new butterfly garden in Christchurch Park.

This garden is a real example of teamwork. The Friends have long promoted the idea of a butterfly garden in the Park but it only became reality through partnership with members of the "Green Team" from Ipswich School who designed the garden and carried out much of the building work (under the watchful eyes of the Park's gardeners) and the Papworth Trust who do so much for the Park.

The result is a stunning sensory garden that looked spectacular in the blazing sunshine at the opening.

The Park was graced not only with the presence of the Mayor, the Headmaster of Ipswich School and many representatives of the Green Team, the Papworth Trust and Park staff but also no fewer than six species of butterfly.

Pictured here is a comma feasting on one of the newly-planted buddleias. Do take a chance to view the garden which can be found at the north end of the Wilderness Pond.

Crack down on dog fouling

Dog fouling crack down – Council patrols will target offenders!

Ipswich Borough Council  recently released this press release which followed on from meetings with FoCP representatives and others:

"Every month approximately 5 tonnes of dog waste is collected from dog waste bins. That’s really good and we thank all those good people who are doing the right thing and clearing up after their dogs. Sadly not everyone is clearing up after their dog and there are still too many piles of dog mess left on the parks and streets. This is so lazy and irresponsible. Little children can accidentally step into it or even worse fall onto it. It can also get stuck into tyres on bicycles, baby buggies and wheelchairs and is very difficult and unpleasant to clean up. Dog waste can transmit bacteria and viruses including, tapeworm, roundworm, E. Coli, Parvo and more.

Highly trained staff within IBC which include Park Patrol Officers, Litter Enforcement Officer and Community Caretakers have joined forces and will be taking a tough line on those not clearing up dog fouling and dropping litter. The team are patrolling the parks, streets and Highways of Ipswich and will issue offenders with a fixed penalty notice for £50. There are very few permissible excuses for not clearing up after your dog and the team operate a zero tolerance policy, no messing!

We need your help too, if you spot an offender in your street [or in the Park], let us know and give us a description of the offender, both owner and dog, the times the route is walked and we will arrange a patrol. See it, report it to Park and Open Spaces tel 01473 432132 or online through the IBC website under "report it".

Bag it, tie it and bin it - this may mean taking it home to your domestic bin and not throwing it on the ground or up a tree when you leave the Park if no bins on your chosen route. Don’t leave it behind for others to tread in or it will cost you!"

Jubilee celebrations at Christchurch Mansion

This picture (courtesy of Pat Grimwade) shows people enjoying the Ipswich Hospital Band celebrating the Queen's Diamond Jubilee on 4 June 2012. Why not come along to the Park for "The Last Night of the Jubilee Proms" on June 30th? Join the Heart of England Orchestra for an evening of Proms classics and flag-waving favourites, with an explosive firework finale. Ticket information for this and all Ip-art events can be found at

The Queen's Diamond Jubilee, earlier this month, was celebrated in style in Christchurch Park. But this was not the first monarch's Diamond Jubilee to be honoured here. As can be seen in this early photograph (courtesy of Stuart Grimwade), the town's Mayor, Felix Cobbold, threw a party for children from elementary schools in the Borough on 24 June 1897, two days after the national celebrations for Queen Victoria's sixty years on the throne. Cobbold held a reception in front of the Mansion (he had only recently given the house to the town on condition that the Council purchase the rest of the Park which may explain the "Long Life to our Mayor" banner!). There were athletic races, steam roundabouts, booths and swings. The band of the Suffolk Regiment and the Stoke Excelsior Band provided the musical entertainment and after a bugle was sounded, the children were called to tea.

English Heritage has produced a wonderfully informative booklet on the nation's Victorian celebrations, which can be read by clicking here.

Anglian Water has lifted its hosepipe ban after the wettest April since records began 113 years ago. 118 mm of rain fell which is 255% of the long term average for April in this region. 

Are we likely to see a hosepipe ban again in the near future? Anglian Water says that "the chances of a dry winter are around one in nine, so to have seen two successive dry winters in the last two years is quite unusual; a third lies outside our experience".

However, the Environment Agency still says that we are officially in drought and the Park's management plan to use their water resources wisely in the coming months.

In the year that the Olympics come to London, a new “Park Run” has been unveiled in Christchurch Park.  One of five such circuits that have been introduced into Ipswich’s parks, a loop of this way-marked circuit is exactly 2.5 kilometres long. The course is also a healthy walking route and forms part of the Ipswich Heart Town initiative.

"Trim Trail": look out later in the year for three pieces of wooden gym equipment which will be added adjacent to the path that runs up the west of the Park near to the Bridle Way. 

To view the poster, click Here  

Mabel, our favourite tawny owl, has successfully raised yet another family - and she and her young have been caught on camera by Paul Sherman, an expert wildlife photographer, who has contributed generously to the Donated Images section of our website gallery.

Friends of Christchurch Park “Brass on the Grass” concerts

We very much hope that you will be able to attend one or more of our four Brass on the Grass concerts this summer.  These hugely popular concerts take place on Sunday afternoons by the Arts and Crafts Shelter in the Arboretum and although we provide some seating, you are encouraged to bring your own chairs/rugs and of course a picnic or other refreshments.  The ParkMobile will be giving free trips around the Park and an ice-cream van will be in attendance.  All concerts run for two hours, beginning at 2.30pm, and are completely FREE.  Once again, we are extremely grateful to our sponsors who make these concerts possible.

8 July             The Ipswich and Norwich Co-op Band sponsored by The Ipswich Society

15 July           Suffolk Phoenix Brass sponsored by a generous Friend of Christchurch Park

22 July           The Ipswich Hospital Band sponsored by Scrutton Bland

29 July           Stacks of Sax sponsored by The Lions Club of Ipswich

Ipswich Borough Council is complying with Anglian Water’s directive from 5 April not to use hand-held hosepipes in all its parks and open spaces during the current drought.

If the dry weather persists, they will be using water from two ponds in Holywells and Christchurch parks - up to 20 cubic metres from each site each day. The ponds are fed from a natural source and the overflow system (thousands of litres of water) normally drains either into the river or into the sewer system.

The Council tells the FoCP that it is doing everything it can to reduce the need for irrigation across its parks and open spaces, including planting more drought resistant perennial plants, using mypex sheeting and applying water retaining mulch in new landscape schemes.

Anyone seeking further advice on the hosepipe ban should consult the Anglian Water website: <

The Friends of Christchurch Park are delighted to announce the publication of Portrait of a Park: a year with the wildlife of Christchurch Park by local artist and naturalist Reg Snook.  Highly informative, hugely entertaining and beautifully illustrated throughout, this 78 page paperback takes the reader on a journey through the wildlife year and brings vividly to life the sights and sounds of Ipswich’s very special town centre Park.

Reg has known and loved Christchurch Park for over forty years, and his curiosity and passion for the Park and its creatures shine out from every page.  Derwent May of The Times says: “This is a very enjoyable and informative book.  The author has a really deep and intimate knowledge of the birds and other creatures found in the Park, and his colour illustrations are splendid.  I hope the book attracts many readers.”  Simon Barnes of the same newspaper adds: “Urban parks are the interface between people and the wild world.  They need protecting, they need celebrating.  This book does both.”

Portrait of a Park, priced at £7.50, is published on 24 November 2011 and will be available from the usual retail outlets (including online - click the link to go direct to the book's page at, where the "Marketplace" vendor is our selected distributor) as well as direct from the Reg Driver Centre in Christchurch Park.  The Centre will also host a display of Reg’s artworks (many of which will be for sale) for two weeks from the same date. 

Proceeds from the sale of this book will be used to support wildlife projects in Christchurch Park, and Reg has generously agreed to support the Park with a percentage of the sale price of his pictures.  Both the book and the artworks will make fabulous Christmas gifts.

The official launch of Portrait of a Park will take place at the Reg Driver Centre at 7.30pm on Wednesday 23rd November, when Reg will introduce the book to us and talk about the birds and animals featured in it. There will also be an exhibition of his artworks for sale. Wine and soft drinks will be served. Limited parking will be available at the car park inside the Bolton lane entrance.

If you're a member of The Friends, don't forget that the launch event will be your last opportunity to obtain your free copy of Reg's book, and to buy additional copies at the special promotional price of only £5.00. If you can't get to the meeting, then please make sure that your application form (which formed part of the last FoCP Newsletter) gets back to Ann Snook by 23rd November.

New members will qualify for the offer so, if you're not already a member, now might be a good time to join. You can find out how on our "How to join the Friends" page.