The big five in the park

Big Bad WolfBig Bad Wolf

The first in a series of five monthly concerts will take place in Wanstead Park this month. Gill James from the Friends of Wanstead Parklands introduces the first headline act and reports on more upcoming events.

If you go down to the woods today... you might see the Big Bad Wolf in Wanstead Park's Temple garden. No need to be frightened though; this Big Bad Wolf is a London-based quartet, described as producing "scintillating sun-drenched music, featuring lazy trombone and truly amazing riffs". You can catch them on the afternoon of 21 May, along with indie rock band The Switches, plus more local musical talent.

This summer's Sunday afternoon al fresco event in the most beautiful place in east London is the first in a series of five monthly concerts scheduled until September. Bring a picnic, sit on the grass and buy drinks from the pop-up bar. Entry a snip at just £2 on the gate. You can take a free tour of the Temple while you are there. The Temple is not a religious building, except in the eyes of lovers of fine architecture. Arguably the only 18th-century summer house left standing in this area, it is a treat to behold in this idyllic setting.

The Friends of Wanstead Parklands are keen to raise the profile of the Temple and its surrounding park, and to see it enjoyed more by local people. They are working with the City of London, who own the park, to make a Heritage Lottery Bid to improve various aspects of the Park. They have already successfully won a grant from Tesco to improve the seating around the tea hut, which we will all be able to enjoy this summer.

In addition to the concerts, a series of events are planned in and around the Temple itself, at least one for every month of the year. This includes a programme of guided walks on history and wildlife, culminating in the Epping Forest Walks Festival in October. For children, an exciting new programme of nature activities is about to be launched. The first of these will be part of the Wren Wildlife Group's Bio Blitz weekend (16 to 18 June). Then, on 8 July, there will be a children's fun day in the Temple garden. The park will also welcome back those old favourites, the Illyria travelling theatre company, who will be performing three summer plays in their own inimitable style. Many thanks to the City of London for bringing a touch of Hampstead to Wanstead.

The Friends of Wanstead Parklands are keen to ensure the Temple stays open every weekend on both Saturdays and Sundays throughout the year so that we can continue to enjoy and make further use of this wonderful place. As staffing shortages can be an issue for the City of London, they have offered to organise a pool of volunteers who are willing to help out at the Temple on an occasional basis. Please get in touch with me if you would like to get involved.

Live music will be performed at the Temple garden in Wanstead Park on 21 May from 2pm to 7pm (entry: £2). For more information on Wanstead Park, visit To volunteer at the Temple, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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