Tolworth Treasure

Tolworth Court Farm Fields

What kind of Five Year Plan should Tolworth have? I would like to see a commitment to keep and manage its green spaces sensitively – because they are what make Tolworth special.

I was shocked to hear Tolworth referred to as a ‘ghetto’ by staff and students at Kingston University while I was studying there. It is one of the oldest parts of the Borough- with ancient and deep historical roots. There are the remains of a medieval moated manor at Tolworth Court, where Kingston Biodiversity Network holds open days. Tolworth Court Farm Fields is a wonderful wild treasure, which should stay that way.

Can you spot Tolworth Tower?

Alison Fure, a local ecologist, has been taking people on Apple Walks, fascinating insights into the history of orchards and fruit growing in this part of the borough. This includes the Tolworth Apple Store, an important piece of local heritage, which she is campaigning to protect.

Buy Alison’s chap book here.

On the borders of Tolworth is the Hogsmill Valley, where Millais painted the backdrop to his painting Ophelia, something I have written about in my poetry map, Over the Fields, an exploration of four generations of my family’s relationship with the greenbelt, which is at the end of the Sunray Estate, towards Malden Manor.

photograph by Bill Mudge

The other day, on my regular morning run down Old Kingston Road, I got to the bridge over the Hogsmill and stopped, to see a flash of iridescent blue zoom downstream: a kingfisher (click the link for a lovely video on the RSPB web site!). It’s not such a rare sight, if you stop there regularly, and look in the right direction, away from the traffic.

Tolworth is remarkable for its open green spaces, and we have a choice now- do we value them, and protect them, recognising them as our lungs and our unique heritage, or do we lose them and become more urban, more polluted and a lot less interesting?

(This article originally appeared in the ‘Tolworth Observer’ a newspaper produced as part of the public consultation on the draft Tolworth Area Plan. For more information see the Kingston Borough Council web site here.)

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The Five Year Plan….nearly Four Years in.

My son ran into school this morning without a goodbye or a look behind him, despite complaints when he woke up that he didn’t want to go, and he would rather be at preschool. I think he’s settling in…

I, on the other hand, have been trying to work out how I am going to fit the huge workload that comes with the MA I have just begun into my day. How best to discipline myself so I can get my reading/writing done? How to fit this around school pick ups and housework? I’m still not sure yet…

I have lots of ideas for writing, all of which are, of course, completely over-ambitious, challenging and will take huge amounts of research. I’m a glutton for punishment, a lucky glutton.

At the beginning of 2008 I started a Five Year Plan.  At the time I was wondering how I was going to cope as a single parent, and how I would ever be able to afford somewhere of our own to live, instead of relying on the generosity of my Dad. I think it helped me to feel like I was taking control of what, at the time, felt like a desperate situation.

I am now nearly finishing Year Four, and have ticked off ‘passing my driving test’ and ‘gaining a degree’ as well as smaller but just as important targets.

Next year, with luck, I will have completed my MA and the landscape will be diferent again. I will be starting a new Five Year Plan and I have been thinking about what might be on it.

I am thinking BIG (just don’t call me Stalin)