Smelling the flowers: What a city park meant during lockdown

2nd January 2021

Marieke Wrigley tells her story of connecting people with nature during the pandemic.

During the first wave of lockdown, Marieke Wrigley visited Brockwell Park every day to capture images of the park’s vibrant wildlife, flora and fauna. Amazed by what she saw and the people she met, Marieke has created a book and calendar of the images to showcase how London’s green spaces have helped a community through the pandemic. Smelling the flowers: What a city parks meant during lockdown is a strong reminder that nature is a comforting force in times of uncertainty and will continue to lift our spirits as we enter the new year.

How has Brockwell Park benefitted you this year?

I have been so lucky to have access to a place of such beauty and sanctuary – literally on my doorstep. It benefitted me greatly through being able to connect with nature and other people on a daily basis.

What inspired you to collate your photographs into a book and calendar? 

I was taking photos every day and posting them on social media and got some very moving responses from other people, and this is what inspired me to put the book together. I think it is the great variety of wildlife and the many different beautiful views that makes Brockwell Park so special which can’t be captured via just one image.

You must’ve met some lovely and interesting people during the project, did you feel a reassuring sense of community during the pandemic?

I really did – the sense of community was one of the overriding themes that shone through in the reflections and quotes that people were kind enough to share with me.

Have you witnessed the same heightened appreciation at Brockwell Park in lockdown 2.0?  

I think the first lockdown introduced many people to Brockwell Park who did not know or use their local parks beforehand and have developed a love for them. I think there continues to be this same level of appreciation in the months since.

Have you noticed any part of Brockwell Park that deserves more attention or should be protected?    

I am aware that the council is proposing that the park is used to host a number of paid music festivals next year. This concerns me greatly as it will mean a large portion of the park will be fenced off to which local people will not have access, for a period of weeks. The noise from the festivals will also have a detrimental effect on the wildlife and there may be damage caused to the fabric of the park.

The book and calendar would make brilliant presents for South London locals or nature-lovers, where can people purchase them?  

The books and calendars are on sale now and can be purchased via the website below. Thank you! www.smellingtheflowers.org

 

Two years ago, Marieke retired from a 30-year profession as a mental health worker and took up her passion for nature photography. She now runs a pet photography business www.presentmomentspetphotography.com.

 

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The legacy of Ethel’s vision and determination lives on thanks to the continued efforts of the Friends of the Peak District, and she remains an inspiration to everyone within CPRE