There are some exciting changes taking place at Osterley House and Park at the moment. One You Hounslow’s Digital Marketing Officer, Mike Carveth visited recently to interview Osterley’s Outdoor Activities Development Officer, Ed Hewison to find out what’s happening for 2017.
What activities do you offer here?
A wide variety actually including, running, cycling, yoga and a number of different water sports. A key part of this is our parkrun which attracts around 130 people every week, which is amazing considering how many there are available locally.
So people can just register on the parkrun website and then come along?
Yes, people just register on the parkrun website, receive a bar code and come along. The volunteers are amazing here as well, they have created a really strong, friendly community.
How long is the run?
It depends how long it takes you really! It’s just a 5k run. That’s probably the best thing about it that there is no pressure, it’s relaxed and for everyone to take part in. There’s no pressure to run, some people walk and some come with their dogs!. It’s a really good thing to offer. Following on from that, we have Junior parkrun which will be launching in April. This is for 4-14 year olds and is a 2k run, this will be starting on 9th April.
Is there a mix of paid and free classes?
There is a mix of paid and free classes as we work with external partners, but the paid classes are not for profit, just to cover costs. For example, we have yoga in the house for £5 a session, which is quite cheap for the area and is just to cover the cost of the sessions, it’s not a money making exercise.
It is also similar for canoeing and paddle boarding which we deliver from April onwards; that’s £6 a session with The Sharks canoeing club.
We do have some free cycling sessions at the moment as well with The Bicycle Society – these are ladies only cycling rides which are funded by London Sport. We are running these sessions every Sunday morning from 10am to 11am.
So can people sign up via their website?
Yes, ladies that would like to attend can just sign up at www.thebicyclesociety.co.uk – they are a London based organisation and they do a lot of teaching for the area. The bikes are stored here so all people have to do is come along and have a relaxing Sunday bike ride!
Can you tell us about the pathways project that is going on at the moment?
The pathway project is part of a wider national programme at 10 National Trust properties across the country. It’s really exciting for Osterley as it’s resurfacing a lot of the paths that are in a pretty poor state right now, particularly Osterley Lane which is quite muddy with potholes. Most of the paths are being resurfaced, which is ideal for all sports really. Running, cycling , walking, people with buggies and wheelchairs are all a key part of the project. Alongside resurfacing the pathways, we are building a new cycling skills area by our car park. That is going to be amazing for The Bicycle Society and for the property as a whole, people will be able to ride it for fun or have a specific skills coaching session from beginners right up to advanced riders. Alongside that we will have a new blue trail so there’s a lot going on. Also, another part of the project is Osterley Lane becoming more horse friendly. There will be verges on the side of the path to accommodate horse riders and so all users can enjoy it side by side.
Are there any other new activities coming in 2017?
There are indeed. As I said Junior parkrun starts at the beginning of April, and paddle sports will be back as of April as well. There will be canoeing and paddle boarding on a Saturday and Sunday from 12pm to 4pm and later on in the year towards mid-summer we’ll do some more skills sessions on a Weds evening as well for people who want to get a bit more into their canoeing.
Aside from that the National Trust has a national campaign called ‘The Summer of Sport’. There will be a series of sessions and tasters throughout the summer holidays so that will be really exciting and hopefully we can permanently bed in some different sports gaging from what people show an interest in. We are lucky here as we have so much space and scope to increase what we are doing and we feel the best way is to see what interests people the most. Everything that is available here will be on our website – https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/osterley-park-and-house If people are interested in parkrun or Junior parkrun its best to go to their websites - www.parkrun.org.uk/osterley/ & http://www.parkrun.org.uk/events/juniorevents/
What would you say to people who are interested in doing sport in Osterley, but have never been before?
I would say there is so much to do that if you came for a whole weekend you would be pretty tired! We are trying to very hard to make everything as reasonably priced as possible because as I said before it’s not a money making venture it’s just about getting as many people here as possible enjoying the grounds and getting active. From the numbers shown at parkrun and our NightRun a few weeks ago, it’s clear to see that the demand is definitely there. If you are a parkrunner you might come to Osterley and see there are other sports going on and then become interested in taking part in something else, that’s what we are striving for, people to try something new and to enjoy it. Once the pathways project is finished it will make a big difference all round as access will be greatly improved.
All the paths are open to the public and the addition of the new cycling areas will also be a major bonus for people that enjoy cycling. The advantage here is it’s so safe and closed off, so if you are maybe not confident enough to cycle on the road then it’s a great place to come and learn. The new track will be really good fun and something very rare to have in London, this will be a big improvement for local cyclists.
It all sounds great. Thanks very much for your time Ed.