Today the Park and the Peckham Rye Common provide 113 acres of open space for the public to enjoy.
In 1995 the Friends of Peckham Rye Park was formed. They held their inaugural meeting on the 10th July at Waverley Lower School. The Park was falling into disrepair and neglect. Vandalism (the blight of today's society) had caused a lot of destruction and other problems, such as flooding of the streams, was taking its toll. It was felt that an action group was needed to stop the Park decaying further. It is one of the most beautiful parks in South London.
A campaign was launched to bid for money from the Heritage Lottery Fund to restore the Park to its former glory. This was successful and the works were started in 2004 and completed in 2005.
The Friends are an important group who care about the Park and the Common. All issues from vandalism to football to the building of the new café for the Park are discussed by the Friends. Ideas and potential problems can then be brought to the attention of the relevant councilors from Southwark and appropriate action taken.
The restoration of the Park
The greatest achievement of the Friends to date is the restoration of the Park to its former Victorian splendor. FOPRP were responsible for launching the campaign to bid for money from the Heritage Lottery Fund for this restoration, which took many years of hard work but with the help of Southwark Council, the money was granted and the campaign was successful.
The restoration works started in 2004 and were completed in 2005.
Further improvements to the Park.
Since the completion of the Lottery funded restoration of the Park in 2005 there have been additions and improvements to the Park. The Community Wildlife Garden project commenced in 2005. The site was not included in the Park restoration a site had no heritage value. Originally containing greenhouses which were dismantled in the 1970’s. It was still used as a depot for park maintenance until the late 1980’s, but became derelict after the depot moved to the southern edge of the park. After a public meeting in 2004 a decision was made to transform the site into a Community Wildlife Garden. The Friends were successful in their applications for funding from Southwark Council’s Cleaner Greener Safer fund and the Big Lottery Community Spaces programme, along with funds from the FOPRP resulted in work commencing in 2010 and the opening of the garden in2012. The Garden is entered through ornamental gates designed by Heather Burrell. A path leads through a summer garden to a winter garden past a meadow containing beehives. A further meadow contains a loggery. The central area is grassed with a pond and seating.
The garden is enjoyed by all who visit and is maintained by volunteers who usually meet on the first Sunday morning of the month.
A further derelict site within the park has recently been restored to the Park. With funding from the Cleaner Greener Safer fund, Queen Elizabeth Fields in Trust and the FOPRP, the site has been returned to the Park as a fernery incorporating shade loving plants.
On the eastern edge of the Park is an adventure playground for 8-15 year olds. Adjacent to the adventure playground is a skate park, an outdoor gym and an all weather table tennis table.
There are two children’s playgrounds, one situated within the Park and another adjacent to the café on Peckham Rye Common. Plans are in the pipeline to improve these areas.
The restored Park is a joy to the community and a source of civic pride.
Green Flag status
The Green Flag is awarded annually for excellence in park maintenance and management. The Park achieved Green Flag status since 2007.