After the Olympic test events: A walk around Greenwich Park

LOCOG has been showing off some of the restoration works in Greenwich Park following last month’s Olympic test events. The last pieces of the arena were being taken away yesterday, with the handover of the area back to Royal Parks expected any day soon. Derrick Spurr – the former park manager who’s now overseeing the Olympic preparations – is confident that the grass will recover by next month, and work is already taking place to cut it to the same length, scarifying it (to allow it to get air and water), and planting new seeds.

Some small areas are likely to stay fenced off for a little longer to give the grass a chance to grow back, and staff will continue to work on the equestrian course itself; which is likely to continue to appear greener since it is getting regularly watered, while Royal Parks generally just relies on rain to replenish its grounds. Today’s downpours can only help matters.

Walking around the park, it was interesting to notice some of the work that had been done – an extra 50cm of soil around the Roman remains near Maze Hill, for example. Derrick Spurr said he had trouble picking out where trees had been pruned for the events.

“When we were working on the trees, a woman marched up to us furiously, asking, ‘you’re going to do this to the whole avenue?’

“But we’d actually already finished, and she couldn’t tell what we’d actually done to the trees.”

Work is now under way on final stadium design issues for next year, as well as finalising volunteer recruitment. Issues around communication will be worked on, with some park users caught by surprise by this summer’s closures thanks to a lack of notice boards around the eastern side of the park.

But as for big screens, they’re the responsibility of the boroughs – so if you want to see them in Greenwich or Blackheath, best get onto Greenwich or Lewisham councils.

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