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Welcome to Alexandra Park
in North London

Alexandra Park is a delightful mixture of informal woodland, open grassland, formal gardens and attractions such as the boating lake, cafés and the pitch-and-putt course. It covers 196 acres around Alexandra Palace in North London.

The Friends of Alexandra Park is a voluntary group that promotes the use of the Park, encourages the conservation of its wildlife and protects the Park from unwanted development. 


Friends Tweets

  • We organise walks and talks about trees, bats, fungi, moths, insects, birds and the history of Alexandra Park. You can also join our work parties.

 

 

  • We run the Park Visitor Centre, where you can find out more about the park; there are also activities for children. In the winter months, we open every Sunday 11 am to 1 pm and also the first Saturday of the month.





Friends Upcoming Events


Conservation Work Party

Tuesday, 21st May 10am to 12:30pm

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Last month the weather was a bit iffy, but we did see types of butterfly including this brimstone. Also lots more wild flowers were coming out, May should bring a flood....

No special skills required; enjoy exercise, plenty of fresh air and good conversation. Please bring secateurs if you have them, but we have extras you can use. 

We usually work from 10 am to 12.30 pm, but come for as long as you want. Meet at the Butterfly Meadow, if you know it, or at the finger post where the path from North View Road meets the Lower Road, at 10 am. 







Annual General Meeting and Talk: 12 Years Managing Alexandra Park

Wednesday, 22nd May 7pm to 9pm


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Mark Evison, the Park Manager, will kick off the evening by talking about his 
12 years managing Alexandra Park. 

He will reflect on the changes he has seen in the park and provide an update on some of the improvements we might see in the future. 

After that we will share what the Friends group has achieved in the last year, and hear your views on the direction we should take in the future.

There are a few one-off jobs that we would love some help with. Some are inside, including opening the Park Visitor Centre or serving drinks at a talk, and others are outside, including bramble bashing in the Butterfly Meadow or helping on our stall at the Farmers’ Market once a year. Come and talk to any of the committee members at the AGM.





Family Activities Day

Bank Holiday Monday

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Free!.... plus Xplorer activities - Park Visitor Centre in The Grove



Friends' Recent Events

Family Activities Day Early May

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Lots on offer for kids with leaf identification, a scavenger hunt - to find things like bugs and daisies - and a chance to make a herb pot or a sunflower seed pot. Not enough? There was also two Xplorer Trails in The Grove for younger and older kids.

The weather wasn't so sparkling, but at least there was no rain and we welcome over a hundred people over the four hour period.

It was great to see the smiles on kids faces as they went away with their home-made plant pots or came back from a successful Scavenger or Xplorer hunt.

Also a special thanks to all our volunteers who made this such a successful afternoon.



Spring Bird Walk

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Cool morning in April for our APOG (Alexandra Ornithological Park Group) led Bird Walk with Gareth at the lead.

Starting in The Grove as usual we listened and watched. Good sightings and hearings of Blackcap and Stock Dove while on the ground a Magpie and Green Woodpecker were the entertainment.

We were quite a large group with more than a couple of 
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dozen. 

Moving away from The Grove, we checked the South Slope before passing to the Butterfly Meadow spotting a Speckled Wood butterfly on the way.

Arriving for the Bird Ringing Demonstration, we had a good view of a Peregrine Falcon chasing a gull towards the reservoir before returning v. quickly over us.

Found in the mist net was a Dunnock which was weighed, measured and ringed before flying off.

Other birds seen/heard included Wood Pigeon, Carrion Crow, Long-tailed Tit, Blackbird, Parakeet, Wren, Grey Heron, Dunnock, Greenfinch and Starling.



Members' Walk: Wild Flowers

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A cold and overcast April day for our Spring wild flower walk. An impressive 19 people were present to search for wild flowers and a few native trees.

Meeting at the Park Visitor Centre. We gave the participants a list of the flowers expected to be seen. (and all bar one were!)

By the centre, we saw Daisy (left), Lesser CelandineHybrid BluebellsHerb Robert among many others with some participants trying to out-guess others....

Some trivia was added along the way including the fact that the Celandine comes from the Greek for swallow and flower is meant to welcome the arrival of these birds....

Another unsubstantiated fact was the the name of Forget-me-not (seen walking towards The Grove Car Park) came from a German who picked the flowers gave them to his true love before being 
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swept away in the Danube crying "Vergissmeinnicht". See here. or from German Wikipedia an alternative explanation: "Because the blue flowers remind of the folk belief in the eyes of newly in love people, forget-me-nots were given as love and loyalty, mostly from the man to the woman."

The other side of the car park, we found that the Wood Anemones were still flowering and someone spotted a flower not on the original list - a Smooth Sow-thistle. Double points!!!

Divertissement... We looked the Horse-chestnut and noticed how the colour changes from white and yellow to white and red when flowers are pollinated. Picture left courtesy of Conchita Navarro.

Wandering downhill, we looked the female and male holly flowers before crossing the road and heading towards the Paddock Car Park - a surprising wild flower hot spot.

Native bluebells, common vetch (left below) and most impressively a
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path through wild garlic.

After a look at some delicate Cowslips and Greater Stitchwort, we finished the walk with Borage and Greater Celandine and the last of decamped to the Capital Garden Centre for a welcome cup of tea and something nice to eat.

A good haul of flowers in a one hour short walk.

Disclaimedr. Links to Male Holly and Sow-thistle from elsewhere in the Park.








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Ten volunteers came to work in the Butterfly Meadow on a less sunny day with a few showers. Unfortunately in the recent sunny periods the brambles had grown quite a lot and great effort was undertaken to dig the new and old ones out. Other work consisted of cutting back some of the shading trees at the top of the meadow.

When a bit of sun arrived towards the end, we spotted orange tip, speckled wood and brimstone butterflies. Nursery spider and harlequin lady birds were around as well as a yet unidentified caterpillar. Bird song from chiffchaff and blackcaps as well as an overflight from a bird of prey which might have been a hobby....

Flowering plants included lesser stitchwort, red campion, dandelion and sheep's sorrel.

Good news was the germination of some of the yellow rattle sown in November.


Spring Tree Walk

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We met by the BBC Tower as the last the hail passed over leaving a chilly cloudy day with a patch of sunshine over the new Spurs stadium.

Adrian introduced the walk as a talk on the trees of the South Slope (actually South East) below the Palace. Seventeen of us made our way down the steps to investigate what's there.

We first looked at the reduced holly, cornelian cherries and hornbeam before stopping at a group of horse chestnuts large and small. (left) We saw the leaves and flower buds appearing and were reminded that this tree, like all maples and ash 
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trees, has opposite buds. This means that a twig appears on both sides of the branch at the same point in contrast to most trees where they appear in an alternating or spiral pattern. At this point the sun came out and kindly stayed with us for the whole walk.

We admired a cedar (bunches of needles and no proliferation of cones) and scots pine (pinkish bark higher up) to illustrate a couple of the conifers on the slope.

Oaks were mostly in flower with their long male catkins and light coloured leaves a welcome Spring sight.

We wandered into the secondary woodland below the grassy slope that has grown up since the closure of the racecourse in the early 70s.

There were a lot of different species represented in this woodland including especially Field Maple, but also lots of ash and some silver birchgrey poplar and plane trees. Slightly more surprising was, perhaps, the presence of a flowering cherry. (above)

We walked back up the slope to reward ourselves afterwards with tea in the Boating Lake cafe.

More pictures from the walk here.

Reports from earlier tree walks here.

Bat Walk, Spring 2019

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Layers were needed to combat the cold, but luckily no wind or rain so we expected to see some bats. 

Gordon used one of the smaller members of the audience illustrate the structure of a bat wing - long fingers with skin stretched between them. The usual vampire bat disclaimers were mentioned and after more bat information, the bat detectors were given out to the twenty or so strong audience.

A quiet period ensued as it got gradually darker and then on queue one or two pipistrelle bat made their appearance and after a distinct pause they were joined by a few more flying mammals.

Reports from earlier bat walks here.

Swift Conservation Trust Talk

It was a great pleasure to welcome back Edward Mayer to give us a further talk on all things swifts....

These are the birds you can help.

Edward of the Swift Conservation Trust started off by pointing out that there are lots of species we can’t help directly because, individually, we don’t own enough land. But each of us can help swifts by putting up nest boxes. In County Mayo, for example, extra nest boxes have helped to increase the population of swifts by 8%. With that inspiring thought in mind, Edward carried on to tell us about these aerial acrobats that drink, eat (up to 20,000 insects a day), mate and sleep on the wing.

We heard about how their wings are so perfectly designed that they haven’t changed for at least 49 million years (judging by fossils). We also heard how, with climate change, tropical insect-borne diseases are spreading, and how far-sighted Italian municipalities are encouraging people to put up nest boxes to bring in the swifts that will keep insect numbers down.

Unfortunately swift numbers are declining, and this is mainly due to modern buildings, which don’t have enough holes and crevices. So, if you are having work done to your house, makes sure the builders go in carefully, add nest boxes while scaffolding is up, and check out the Swift Conservation Trust website for many more ideas. 



The Conservation Volunteers

April 2019

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Work consisted of taking some of the wood available from the felled trees on the edge of the Paddock Car Park and extending the existing dead hedge on the side of the car park entrance road.

New posts were sourced among the available material and knocked in. Then wood was woven into the hedge. A significant section of new hedge was completed before suitable wood was exhausted.

Weather? Cloudy with showers and occasional touches of sun.


The next conservation session in the Park will be on Wednesday, 29th May. Meet at 10am. To book or for more information contact David Allen the new BAT East Project Officer, email david.allen@tcv.org.uk or call on Tel: 07917 267 573.









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