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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.






Events in the Park (mostly ordered by date)

Friends Events in Green other select events in Blue.


TCV Work Days including Tree Planting in Alexandra Park

Our regular The Conservation Volunteers group BAT (Biodiversity Action Team) East will working in the park on Tuesday, 25th and Wednesday, 26th February. They plan to be continuing the tree crown raising and cutting back the shrubs around the park boundary. (near the Redston Field). 

For more details and to let them know that you are coming..... email david.allen@tcv.org.uk or call on Tel: 07917 267 573. Website page here.






The other group..... Lambeth TCV otherwise known as BAT South will be planting the last of the new trees in the park on Tuesday, 3rd March. Some small whips will be planted as well as two specimen trees - a Persian Ironwood and a Japanese Red Cedar. For more information: Tel: 020 7735 6525 (Richard) Email: lambeth@tcv.org.uk Website page here.


Spring Litter Pick

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Saturday, 7th March from 10:30am to Noon

The Park Contractors, John O'Conner, do a great job keeping on top of the litter. We try to clean up those difficult to access places. Meet at the Park Visitor Centre in The Grove where you will be issued with a litter picker. In just a short time we should make a significant difference to the Park.







Members' Walk: New Trees in the Park

Sunday, 8th March from 2pm to 3:30pm?

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Warning (1)
our Members' Walks should last last just 1 hour, but there is a lot ground to cover so this walk will overrun. No problem if you have to leave early.

Warning (2) we will be walking off the paths and covering a lot of ground so please come suitably shod.

We will meet in Rose Garden and take a walk all around the park looking at the new trees that have been planted over the Winter. The route is planned to finished up by the Rose Garden.

Picture shows Palace volunteers planting an Oak. The Friends also helped plant these new trees, but most of the work was/will be done by The Conservation Volunteers.

What trees will we see on the walk? Liquidambar, Small-leaved Lime, Indian Horsechestnut and Atlas Cedar are a few of the examples. The trees new to the park include Coastal Redwood, Persian Ironwood, Golden Larch and Japanese Red Cedar.
 

Conservation Work Party

Tuesday, 24th March 10am to 12:30pm

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We will be
 be back in the Butterfly Meadow this month. We will look out to see if some our sown yellow rattle seeds have come up yet. (picture left)

The work will be the usual removal of bramble and saplings which have so far been so successful in improving this area.

Meet at the Butterfly Meadow or at the junction of the Lower Path and path to the North View Road entrance.















Talk: The Story of Alexandra Park and Palace

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Wednesday, 25th March 7:30pm for 8pm prompt start

Stuart Little will present elements from his film about the Park and Palace.... This will be great opportunity to see some elements of history from the early days up and until the (second) fire in 1980.















Friends' Recent Events


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A fully booked, packed room greeted John Polley of the New River Action Group. He had come up from deepest darkest Devon to give us a fact and anecdote filled talk on the New River. 

At over 400 years old, John explained the New River's beginnings with the (largely) forgotten Captain Colthurst, then Sir Hugh Myddelton and Robert Myle through to its final completion with a circuitous route roughly following the 100 foot contour from Hertfordshire to Saddlers Wells. 

Later short cuts were made cutting out loops in the river at Whitewebbs, Tottenham, Hornsey (used run by the Three Compasses), Enfield and others.

The functioning of the New River as well as a tour along the New River all featured in this interesting and packed presentation.

There was, but a little time for questions at the end.....





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Mud pushed the Friends to move their Conservation Work from the Butterfly Meadow.....
We met by the Park Visitor Centre where we had some whips (saplings) to plant in the new growing hedge across the path from the centre. We replaced some perished saplings and extended the line closer to the path.

The weather? poor, damp, but this didn't put off a good number of volunteers of all ages from turning up. Other jobs included tying up shrubs next to Meson House.




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We were very lucky to welcome Greg Packman for our Winter Tree Walk. He surveys and looks after the trees in Alexandra Park. As well as giving us some great tips on Winter tree identification, he talked about some of the tree management issues in the Park.

We met up by the Park Visitor Centre for a quick briefing before looking at the Horse chestnut tree and its large sticky buds which may be a protection against insects tucking in.

Sycamore and Ash followed and with key points to identifying the trees in Winter - these trees have buds that come out "opposite". This means that there is always buds in pairs either side of the twig.
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Greg then contrasted the Hornbeam and Beech trees - both have pointed buds, but the Hornbeam ones turn back into the twig whereas the Beech point out proudly. (left)

Stopping at a Holm Oak, he showed its clustered buds at the top of the twig (like all oaks). Then we looked at a Lime Tree in the Avenue and he explained a lot of the problems in managing such an avenue.

Other trees that we looked at were the large Veteran Oak and a Sweet Chestnut - the latter with its prominent lenticels

Also in The Grove there is a large dead standing tree (Sweet Chestnut?) showing a great example of cubical brown rot with Greg explaining its use in breaking down the wood and recycling nutrients into the soil.

Just outside The Grove, we looked at the fate of a Hornbeam attacked by Ganoderma residaceum (underside here) and a Sycamore killed by Soot Bark disease.

On the up side, we admired the Dawn Redwoods and Wellingtonias before finishing up by our leaning Cork Oak opposite the Palm Court.





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Huddling in the protection of the Palm Court entrance with Storm Dennis bringing rain, we hoped that a few people would turn up for the walk. In fact an impressive 16 people met to listen to Professor Jeff Duckett explain about Bryophytes (Mosses and Liverworts).

We started off just looking some mosses on the stonework which included Tortula muralis and Grimmia pulvinata (pictured).

Jeff explained that mosses are on the come-back trail after the reduction in pollution, but also because of the increase in NOX emissions from cars (they benefit mosses). See his separate report here.
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We wandered down and looked at the mosses on a Plane Tree and in the grass before crossing Alexandra Palace Way. There Jeff was slightly surprised to see moss on a Dawn Redwood, but pointed out an Ash which was expected to have mosses and showed how they specifically liked live in the drip line (where the water comes down the tree).

Walking along the Lower Path, we found a poplar with a nice collection of mosses on it including this Orthotrichum diaphanum.

In vain we looked bonfire sites which can be good for mosses, but apparently the Park had done too good a job clearing up!

We finally found a liverwort, Frulania dilitata, (related to, but different from mosses) on an oak below the Butterfly Meadow by which time the rain had called a halt.








The audience left the talk, by Andrew Wood from Hertfordshire Butterfly Conservation, much wiser on the habits and appearance of butterflies and moths: from what they eat (nectar and some rather less pleasant substances), to how they mimic other insects (including wasps and hummingbirds). Andrew posed and answered a dozen questions that revealed the amazing variety amongst lepidopterans. He also talked about how to improve habitats for butterflies and moths and the effects of climate change.





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The Friends joined TCV BAT South in digging up oak saplings from below the Rose Garden and from the Butterfly Meadow and then replanting them (picture left) to help re-form the line of oaks running down into the old Deer Enclosure. This is in order preserve and re-create an old line of oaks along a field edge predating the park's existence.

In the afternoon, we planted some saplings to fill in gaps along the border of the pitch and putt area. (lower picture)




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We had our annual stall at the Ally Pally Farmers's Market. The weather was quite kind to us with only a splash of rain. We recruited several new members and sold over 30 of our 2020 calendars.

The sellers were fortified by some left over mulled wine and mince pies.

We enjoyed our day at the market, a great asset to the park.






Big Garden Birdwatch

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A report on the RSPB NW London Group's presence by the Boating Lake for the Big Garden Birdwatch can be found here. The total number of different bird species seen was 24 with the highlights definitely being Peregrines by the BBC Tower and, for some of our regulars who often see those birds, the appearance of a female wigeon on the Boating Lake (picture left). Also of noted was that some of the black headed gulls were getting their "black" heads ready for the breeding season.







The Conservation Volunteers

January 2020

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This is where it gets very complicated..... There are actually 3 different TCV (The Conservation Volunteers) groups working in the Park this month. TCV BAT South are working for 3 more days (9th, 15th and 16th) and are coming over specially to plant trees in the Park. The new addition is TCV BAT North who used to be our regular group. They are based in Railway Fields near Harringay Green Lanes station. Their job was to start the laying of a hedge between the old racecourse and the cricket pitch. (left) The existing overgrown shrubby trees were cut back and layed. .... and what does BAT mean? Biodiversity Action Group.



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Our usual TCV group, BAT East, worked this month on the 21st, 22nd, 27th and 28th. They did a lot of clearing around the settling pond area by Redston Field and cleared vegetation from the base of trees along the edge of the Redston Field as well as doing some crown lifting (picture left afterwards).


















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