pgc all green working and signpost with lettering new colour 2
pgc all green working and signpost with lettering new colour 2
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learning circle mosaic in conway recreation groundThe Learning Circle mosaic in Conway Rec was created by Tamara Froud based on drawings by children from St Monica's school of plant and animal life in the Rec. Incorporated into it are the initials of three Friends of Conway Rec members who passed away during the three years that it took to create the mosaic

If you don't know Conway Rec (or Conway Recreation Ground, to give it its full name), it's a small but perfectly formed park located between Conway Road and the end of Cannon Road, notable for its pond with water lilies (regularly visited by a heron) and its tennis courts. It has an interesting history that you can read about on the Friends of Conway Rec's website - until just over 100 years ago it was a "foul-smelling" swamp, despite being surrounded by very smart new houses!

This year a beautiful new feature was added to the Rec. The Learning Circle mosaic, created by renowned mosaic artist Tamara Froud in collaboration with the Friends and with neighbouring St Monica's school, took three years to complete. Below Keith Weller introduces the Friends of Conway Rec and describes some of their projects, including the Learning Circle. You can also read more about the Friends in the August issue of Enfield Dispatch and on the Friends' website.

Introducing the Friends of Conway Rec

FriendsOfConwayRec logo horizontal

The Friends of Conway Rec are volunteers who work to protect and improve a small local park. Twelve years ago, collapsed pond drainage caused a flood, and the replacement process meant emptying the pond and removing all plant and animal life. When the water had returned, the Friends built small islands on which ducks, moorhens and geese could nest and raise families. Most years - to the surprise and pleasure of passers-by - tufted ducks and mallards walk their brood along and across adjoining streets to the larger feeding grounds in Broomfield Park. Conway pond is home to many water birds, insects and amphibians. Grey herons visit regularly and stand imperiously on the islands and banks.

The volunteers hold work days every month or so throughout the year, usually on Sundays starting around 10am and breaking mid-morning for a drink, snack and chat. We’re lucky to have lots of regular volunteers of all ages, and new members are always welcome. Just drop an email to and you’ll be kept in touch with the Friends’ activities and other local park events.

pieces of the learning circle mosaic awaiting installation

Pieces of the Learning Circle mosaic awaiting installation

The Friends’ work is guided by a small committee and open meetings take place every few months to report on progress and invite comments and ideas. We meet in the clubhouse of Conway Tennis Club and work with the club to make our shared surroundings as pleasant as possible for everyone who visits, whether for sport or just to enjoy the green space. We are also in close contact with Enfield Council’s parks team and aim to work in partnership with them to keep the Rec in good shape.

Several substantial projects have been completed over recent years. For example, the Friends designed and installed four information panels, focused respectively on the history of the Rec, its plant life, resident animals and birds, and the pond.  Some years ago, collapsing pond edging was renewed and rebuilt. More recently, tens of intrusive leylandii were removed and replaced by a range of fruiting and flowering trees and shrubs that attract birds, butterflies and bees. We’ve also planted other trees and hedges across the Rec, created some wilder areas to encourage wildlife and aim to recycle as much plant material as possible through composting.

installing learning circle mosaic in conway recreation ground

Tamara Froud and helper carry out final installation of the mosaic

Some projects have only been made possible through kind donations from the local community and occasional grants. If you enjoy the Rec and want to support its continuing good health, donations are always welcome. Again, just drop us a note and we’ll explain how this can be done.

The Friends most recent project has been a ‘Learning Circle’. The distinctive venture is piece of mosaic artwork that reflects the plant and animal life in the Rec and provides a focal point for local schoolchildren and families wanting to explore. We were delighted when Tamara Froud, a highly-respected mosaic artist, agreed to take on the project.

While disrupted by the pandemic, work has continued over the last three years. Tamara invited pupils from our local primary school, St Monica’s, to draw and paint the animals, birds, trees and flowers they had seen in the Rec. Tamara then drew on the children’s work to design a wonderful mosaic circle, with the pond at its heart. The Friends of the Rec built a base, surrounded by natural stone setts, and the mosaic was finally installed this June. It contains the initials of three Friends of the Rec who we’ve lost over the same period.

If you’d like to learn more about the Learning Circle or other projects, join us, or offer ideas, do email. You can also keep in touch with what’s going on through our website, our noticeboard at the end of Cannon Road, and occasional Newsletters. Conway Rec belongs to us all, and the Friends will keep doing their best to keep this little green space clean, safe, interesting and attractive.

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