Welcome to Alexandra Park

Goldcrest in a male Yew Tree in The Grove

The Friends of Alexandra Park work to promote and protect Alexandra Park - the grounds around Alexandra Palace in North London.

Alexandra Park was originally designed by Alexander McKenzie, in 1863, as a park and pleasure ground. 

The 196 acres of park now consists of a delightful mixture of informal woodland, open grassland, formal gardens and attractions such as the boating lake, cafes and the pitch-and-putt course.

Friends Tweets

  • The Friends Events calendar  includes walks and talks about trees, bats, fungi, moths, insects, birds and the history of Alexandra Park. Also, opportunities to join our work parties in the park.

Information Centre, until Spring 2018, is open every Sunday, and the first Saturday in the month, 11am - 1pm.

Tree Planting plus in The Grove

The Conservation Volunteers have been doing regular monthly work on Sundays for many years. This will be changing...

On Thursday, 1st February 10am to 4pm

This month's task will be tree planting to create a new hedgerow and understory in the Grove, as well as some clearance work.

Starting in 2018 the regular Ally Pally Sunday conservation sessions will be moving to a mid-week task with our regular BAT East team. The first session will be on February 1st an then regular monthly sessions should resume from April. Check here for updates, or contact Tom Nandi our BAT East Project Officer, email t.nandi@tcv.org.uk or call on Tel: 07917 267 573. for more info. 

They carry out various conservation tasks such as pond clearance, building foot bridges, planting trees, and opening glades to increase bio-diversity.

Friends Events

Talk: Planting for Nature

Wednesday, 24th January 7:30pm for 8pm prompt start

Last year we had an excellent talk on bats, enthusiastically delivered by Lisa Worledge. This year she will be talking about how we can encourage wildlife into our gardens and the park, for example by providing plants which are attractive to insects, which will in turn bring in the birds, and maybe bats. A lot of us would like to know what to plant, and why, to bring as much wildlife as possible into our urban environment, so come along and 'learn all about it'.

Join us for refreshments from 7:30pm with the talk starting at 8pm prompt.

Space is limited, so please email allyparkn10@gmail.com to book places and we will reply with the venue.

(pictured Rowan berries)

Winter Tree Walk

Saturday, 3rd February 2pm to 3:30pm

Details to follow, but there will be a Winter Tree Walk in the Park to have a last look at Winter before Spring starts up in earnest....

February Conservation Work Party

Wednesday, 21st January 10am to 12:30pm

Will there be signs of Spring? There wasn't much in January.... (also the sun shone.)

The Common Ragwort was in flower in January as was Grounsel, but that was about that in the Butterfly Meadow.....

Come enjoy the fresh air and good conversation. Bring gardening gloves, shears and secateurs if you have them, but if not we have spares to loan.

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 (newly surfaced) Lower Road.

Past events

Details of many of our previous events can be found here

These are the most recent events:

January Conservation Work Party

Sunshine, sunshine for our continued work on the Butterfly Meadow. More brambles removed. The progress is really quite impressive.

A good dozen people turned up impressive for mid Winter work group and were treated to hot juice and biscuits at half-time.

Looking around though, we have probably reached the low point on wild flower count. The only two flowering wild flowers seen were Grounsel and Common Ragwort. Looking forward to next month (Wednesday, 21st January) for more flowering activity.

Stall at the Farmers Market

On the Day of Snow, the Friends had stall at the Ally Pally Farmers Market. After a forecast of rain, the snow was a welcome surprise, however, it did mean that we couldn't use a car to transport our stuff from the Park Information Centre. Luckily we now have a trolley and with a few trips we were set up.

Many of the stall holders had been unable to get there so there was plenty of space for us. We started selling calendars (some with our brand new Paypal reader so we could card payments - a sign of the times).

Breaks for hot chocolate, tea and coffee were most welcome to warm us up. Although there were not a lot of people at the market, rain would have brought out considerably less.

At the end of day we had sold a very respectable 22 calendars. Leaving us with just 15 of the original 170 odd to sell before Christmas. They will sell out.

At the end of the day some kind people helped us take our stuff back up the hill - end of a memorable day.

Members Social and Hedgehog Update

An impressive 40 members turned up for our annual social. Instead of our usual walk in the cold, we welcomed back Chris Carbone of ZSL to give us an update on his Hedgehog Survey in Alexandra Park and elsewhere in London.

The key finding of the survey was that the hogs were found aplenty in both The Grove and in the Ally Pally Allotments, but were completely absent from the rest of the Park. Their main active period was after midnight.

Foxes were also captured on camera and they were found throughout the Park. Not many hedgehogs were found in other
sites surveyed in London with the exception of Regents Park which has a population of approximate 25 urchins (old name for hedgehogs).

Lively discussion followed and mulled wine and mince pies were consumed with alacrity.

December Conservation Work Party

Due to overwhelming demand from members we reinstated a December work party.

A good turn out (over a dozen) to further clear brambles and remove some of the excess grass to lower the fertility and promote the wild flowers. 

Not so much sunshine this time, but can't always win.....

Green grass, but by this time of year we didn't spot so many wild flowers. A few clumps of knapweed, last of the yarrow flowers and some sow-thistle.

Members Walk: Around the Park Perimeter

A beautiful sunny day for our walk around the Park. Starting in the Redston Field, we took an anti-clockwise walk keeping to the edge of the park only missing out The Grove and the edge of the Boating Lake.

On the way around we discussed some of the tree planting in different areas of the park and had a quick look at some of the historical artefacts including old parish boundaries and the old lido.

As we walked around it was explained about where the Horse Racing started from and the outline of the course.

The view from the terrace of the Palace out over London didn't fail to impress.

We also had a chance to see the new calendar. Overall it was great to catch up on a crisp autumnal day.

More reports on Members Walks.

Talk: Lost Railways of north London

We were treated to a tour along the railway that used to run from Finsbury Park south of Crouch End to Highgate then below Muswell Hill and ending up at Alexandra Palace. Most of this line is now part of the Parkland Walk.

Jim Blake came with a good collection of old photographs showing all the stations on the line and pointing out all the objects of interest along the route.

The whole line was scheduled to become a part of the Underground network in the 1940s, but WW2 put a hold on the (already well advanced) work before it was cancelled finally post war by a cash-strapped government.

Particularly of interest was to see pictures of tube trains on the line being pulled by a special battery powered loco.

Also it was intriguing to see a picture of our Railway Orchard in earlier years.

This talk was fully booked so we had to turn some people away so please take note when we advertise our next talk in January 2018.

November Conservation Work Party

No sun, but it stayed dry for us. After advice from an expert from the Wildlife Trust, we decided that a lot of our effort this month would be used in cutting and removing some of the grass from the site. 

This made a change from the usual bramble attack although some were removed at the same time. Also, we reduced the height of some of the more spindly, shading trees on the southern edge. This should help light and heat levels.

A usual pause for juice and biscuits was welcome and gave us a chance to catch up on the latest Park information....

While working in the meadow several fungi were discovered including Inkcaps, Fly Agaric and vibrantly red coloured Waxcaps (left).

Autumn Fungi Walk

A cloudy day, but fine for our Autumn Fungi Stroll led as ever by Andy Overall. We met up in the Park Information Centre where Andy gave us an overview of some of the most deadly fungi to avoid. He also gave us a look his new book coming out shorty -  a hefty tome full of pictures of fungi found in urban situations. More info on the book here.

We moved out of the Park Information and headed for the Railway Orchard where we spotted some Redlead fungi at the base of orchard trees. Several other fungi found in the Orchard area including Scurfy Twiglet, Conical Brittlestem (pictured left) and Wavy Cap.

We paused by the dead oak opposite the Park Information Centre and inspected the growth of the Smokey Bracket.

Walking towards the Palace, we happened upon some edible treats, the Field Blewits.

Looking into the wood chip by the roses there was a treasure of finds. Amongst them were Common Rustgills and the foul smelling Stinkhorn.

A single edible Trooping Funnel was discovered and a group of Horse Mushrooms.

We did a circuit of the Western Arboretum not seeing many fungi although we did spot an Iodine Bonnet.

Back to the entrance of The Grove we had a couple of last discoveries including a Snowy Waxcap.

Family Activities Day


On a cool Sunday in October, we had a Family Activities Day. A what? I hear you ask.

Three main activities were proposed... 

We had a Halloween-themed Xplorer trail in The Grove. Kids (and their parents) had to find coloured cards using a map and identify them (Ghosts, Witches, Bats etc.). Prizes were certificates and stickers.

The second activity was an Apple Peeling competition - the idea being to produce the longest piece of apple peel from a selection
of similarly sized apples using an ingenious machine supplied by the Orchard Project. The prize, this time, was a pair of tickets to the Ally Pally Fireworks (kindly provided by the Palace). The winner, Tim, studied the apples very carefully before picking out one and then produced a piece of apple peel 190cm (6'3") in length - a great effort.

Perhaps the main activity was inside the Park Information Centre. Children were hard at work producing "Cat Masks" - a hands on task involving glue, paper etc. and the results were beautiful to behold and the kids walked off proudly with their own creations.

Not enough to do? There were also Scavenger Hunts available and, of course, the Park Information Centre was open for the usual enquiries (Where's the nearest toilet? How do I get to "Little Dinosaurs"). Joking apart, there are always people interested in how to get to the Parkland Walk, looking at our historical photographs and seeing what events are coming up next.

.... and the weather? After a dull and cold start, the sun came out although you could still tell that we are now firmly in Autumn.

Autumn Tree Walk

With about 20 people pushing into the Park Information Centre, our tree walks are as popular as ever.

This walk was a tree guide to The Grove. Adrian started by pointing out the age of some of the trees close to the centre and talking about the changing colours of leaves. We then moved into the area adjacent to the car park which is populated by mostly native trees. We could see there hornbeams and ash as well as both downy and silver birches. There were also some small english elms surviving.

Extracting ourselves from this little patch we stood by the large holm oak. Most people think of oaks as deciduous, but this one 
keeps its leaves all Winter long.

We took a quick look at the two remaining chain saw sculptures (made out of an old dead cedar) before admiring the pines nearby. Both Corsican and Bhutan pines populate this area. The latter with impressive long, curved and resinous cones.

Passing the old veteran oak, we made our way towards the top of The Grove, looking at the Springfield Orchard which includes a couple of medlar trees with their distinctive fruits

The top of the grassy area contains a clump of Caucasian wingnuts which are trying to spread vigorously. Next to these trees is our only swamp cypress - a tall deciduous conifer looking over the 3-4-5 Playgroup. (pictured)

Circling around the Little Dinosaurs, we saw a Judas Tree on the right which had lost nearly all of its leaves and went on to admire a Red Oak with some colouring leaves.

Next en route was a sweet chestnut with its large serrated leaves.

To the left we noted the olive tree (planted by Ciro), hollies and european hop hornbeam trees (with their hop-like fruit) on the right.

Last stop was the Railway Field orchard before it was time for tea and biscuits in the warmth of the Park Information Centre.... 

Autumn Bat Walk

Another fully booked Bat walk were told
 stories of Vampires and Giant Fruit Bats. 

We usually keep a look out for Britain's largest bat - the Noctule. This bat usually flies quite high and is not often seen at the lake. So we were especially pleased to see one make an early appearance. It flew over the lake for 5 to 10 minutes.

A little later the Soprano and Common Pipistrelles were out and flying just over our heads.

We had great views and heard a lot via the bat detectors.......  

On-going events

Free Health Walks

Health walks, starting in Priory Road and walking into Alexandra Park, take place every Monday at 10:15 am.

Everyone welcome, whatever level of fitness. Lasts 45 minutes.  More details.

Park Run in Alexandra Park

The Ally Pally Park Run is a 5km timed run, jog or walk, which takes place in Alexandra Park every
Saturday at 9am.

On 23rd September the Park Run topped 300 runners!

Park Run is organised by volunteers and is free to anyone wishing to take part, but prior registration is needed. See http://www.parkrun.org.uk/allypally.

For an interview with the founder and director of Park Run in  Alexandra Park,  Catherine Edeam, see Interviews.

The Conservation Volunteers

November 2017

With limited numbers, we cleared a large section of bramble near the old Rifle Range in the Nature Conservation area. Ash saplings (many/most suffering from Ash Dieback) allow to promote more biodiversity. 

Other trees/saplings in the area included Horse Chestnut, Oak, Hornbeam, Sycamore, Hawthorn, Alder Buckthorn, Goat Willow and Guelder Rose.

Of interest....Willow Gall seen on Goat Willow caused by a sawfly.

Next Conservation Session Thursday, 1st February 10am to 4pm

This month's task will be tree planting to create a new hedgerow and understory in the Grove, as well as some clearance work.

Starting in 2018 the regular Ally Pally Sunday conservation sessions will be moving to a mid-week task with our regular BAT East team. The first session will be on February 1st an then regular monthly sessions should resume from April. Check here for updates, or contact Tom Nandi our BAT East Project Officer, email t.nandi@tcv.org.uk or call on Tel: 07917 267 573. for more info. 

They carry out various conservation tasks such as pond clearance, building foot bridges, planting trees, and opening glades to increase bio-diversity.

Want to hear about future Park and Alexandra Palace Way closures?

Natalie Layton of the Alexandra Park and Palace Trust has clarified that anyone wishing to receive future notifications of closures of Alexandra Palace Way (W3 etc.) or parts of the Park (not marketing emails) should send a request to: Natalie.Layton@alexandrapalace.com

If you are fascinated by the Trees in the Park you may wish to try out our  new and growing "Tree App".

Follow this link for details.

Items which originally appeared on this Home page, may have been moved to other pages, such as Park Issues and Previous Events in the Park. 

Please explore our other pages - scroll up, and see the menu across the top of the page.

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