Getting back to nature at Pimp Hall

Pimp Hall Nature Reserve in Chingford is the site of a new community venue – The Learning Lodge – will be a space where people from all of the borough can take part in events, community projects, or just enjoy the quiet seclusion and natural beauty of the location, which has been somewhat forgotten in recent years.

The use of the site as a community venue and reanimation of the nature reserve is a joint partnership project between a group of community organisations in the borough: Organiclea, HEET, the Forest Recycling Project, the Hornbeam Environment Centre and Friday Hill Tenant Management Organisation.

As part of the project, the venue will be used to deliver a low-cost living campaign, which will help residents who want to cut their bills and live more sustainably.

The nature reserve is on the site of the former Pimp Hall, a manor and estate which was established in the 13th century, and is named after Reynold Pympe, who was lord of the manor around the 1500s.

Unfortunately the manor house is no longer there, but the beautiful Tudor dovecote remains in the nature reserve. The site continued to be used as a working farm until 1934, when it was bought by Chingford Council and subsequently taken over by Waltham Forest, and the nature reserve now shares the site with a park and allotments.

The Learning Lodge at Pimp Hall will help local people to get the most out of the site by being a focus point for visits, education, and regular activities for adults and children. The space will also be available for hire as a venue for parties or workshops.

To celebrate the new project the reserve held a special open day in June, when more than 200 local residents came to visit and get a taste of some of the activities which will be taking place including nature walks, herbalism, energy saving workshops, yoga and art activities.

It was a fantastic experience for visitors to be able to rediscover the nature reserve, find out about the new project and share their views about how they want the venue to be used.

By Ed Swan

Anyone who wants to take part in activities at the venue or suggest new ones, get involved in volunteering at the site, or hire the space – contact Amy at amy@hornbeam.org.uk. www.hornbeam.org.uk/learning-lodge

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