Welcome to Alexandra Park

Butterflies have enjoyed this spell of hot weather: A Gatekeeper in the Butterfly Meadow

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 Autumn 2018, is open every Sunday, and the first Saturday in the month, 2pm - 4pm.

Green Flag and Green Heritage Award retained

We are very pleased to hear that Alexandra Park has retained its Green Flag Award for 2018. This is due to the effort of the Park Manager, Mark Evison, the Trust's staff and volunteers, the Park Contractors, John O'Conner and ourselves! Picture courtesy the Park and Palace Trust.

Friends Events

Family Bug Hunt rescheduled date

Saturday, 25th August 1:30pm

After having to reschedule due to the very poor weather for bugs, we are very pleased to announce that we have agreed on a new date.....

We hope butterflies, caterpillars, crickets, grasshopper and lots more!

There will be sweep nets and butterfly nets to use.

Rebecca and Dave will be there to help you and little ones identify the mini beasts that you find.

To book free place(s) please email AllyParkN10@gmail.com with numbers of adults and children.

Conservation Work Party

Tuesday, 18th September 10am to 12:30pm

Wonder if the butterflies will still be around in the Butterfly Meadow.... Last month we saw this Artist's Bracket fungus pictured left. 

Bramble and tree sapling removal will be the order of the day.

Do join us if you are free. No special skills required; enjoy exercise, plenty of fresh air and good conversation. Bring gardening gloves and secateurs if you have them, but if not we have a variety of tools 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.

Friends' Past events

Details of many of our previous events can be found here

These are the most recent events:

The Great Fete

The Friends had a stall at The Great Fete (the new name for the Summer Festival). We offered the opportunity for kids to make Butterfly Crowns (top pic). This was impressively popular and we actually ran out of raw materials half an hour before the close, but not before 65 kids had gone off very happy with their creations.

To test the kids and the adults, we had a Tree Leaf Quiz (middle pic) with leaves from Lime, Weeping Willow, Holly, Sycamore, Silver Maple and Cherry. This gained in popularity with trees close to stall being labelled to help the learning process. Some children were impressively knowledgeable.

Our final activity was a photo quiz (bottom pic). There were twelve pictures of the Palace and a map with 12 locations. It was "just" a question of matching them up.... Lots of puzzling, but eventually two people out of over fifty participants got all the questions correct and the tiebreaker had to come into operation.

What else was going on? Lots! The whole event was concentrated, this year, on the South Slope and in spite of some worry about having stalls on a slope, it worked really well. There was lots for kids to do and most of it free (as were our activities). Music in various places of all types Brass Bands and original work from locals as well as more "commercial" stuff. The Streat Life food and drink
festival was up on the Terrace.

An example of the other stalls included the Friends of Alexandra Palace Station, Thrillseekers, Friends of Ally Pally Theatre, Viva City, Wild about our WoodsTryhard Clowns. Next to our stall was Haringey Council promoting healthier lifestyle and allowing people to mix their own drinks via pedalling a cycle.

Later on there was a film on the South Slope "The Dream Girls".

and for some more pictures from the day this link...

August Conservation Work

Sun and clouds for our return to the Butterfly Meadow. Fourteen of us were on hand to remove more brambles and tree saplings from the area.

While there, there were sightings of several different species of butterflies. Brown ArgusCommon BlueSmall CopperSpeckled WoodGatekeeperMeadow Brown and a white of some type.

Also spotted was a nice clump of Artist's Bracket fungus.

As we finished, a pair of butterfly spotters came to see our Brown Argus butterflies that they had read about - a nice reward for our work in improving this site. These butterflies hadn't been seen here before this year.

Members' Walk: Ten of the Best

Half a dozen of us met for a Nature Walk to look at ten different organisms. 

1) Wild Flower: Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) a plant that had been used for encouraging wounds to clot.
2) Monocot plant: Pendulous Sedge (Carex pendula) - it has a triangular cross section... Rushes are round, Sedges have edges and grasses have knobbly knees.
3) True Bug: Parent Bug (Elasmucha grisea) this shield bug is present on an Alder Tree in the Butterfly meadow and we observed youngsters as well as an adult protecting them.
4) Butterfly: Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria) a butterfly that tolerates shade and lays its eggs on grasses seen in the Butterfly
5) Plant Gall (pictured): Knopper Gall (Andricus quercuscalicis) this gall is caused by a wasp that has an interesting life cycle alternating between the English Oak and Turkey Oak - more info here.
6) Caterpillar: Horse Chestnut Leaf Miner (Cameraria ohridella) this moth lays its eggs on Horse Chestnuts and the caterpillars eat the leaves by tunnelling between the top and bottom layers.
7) Tree (pictured): Oriental Plane (Platanus orientalis) this tree (one specimen in the park) is one of the parents of the well-known London Plane, but has more indented leaves.
8) Bird: Feral Pigeon (Columba livia domestica) bred from the much rarer Rock Dove seen together with much bigger and white-collared Wood Pigeon (Columba palumbus) 
9) Mammal: Grey Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) introduced in the 19th Century and now has displaced our native Red Squirrel from most of the country spotted below the Palm Court.
10) Fungus: Chicken-of-the-Woods (Laetiporus sulphureus) is a common fungus, colourful and edible when young (only eat fungi if you are certain what it is - mistakes can be fatal) and seen in the Eastern Arboretum.

July Conservation Work

A break from the normal routine... Due to the hot dry weather, the Friends decided to concentrate on watering the newly planted saplings near the Park Information Centre.

These trees were planted by TCV and have had significant watering by John O'Conner, but in this long hot spell, it was felt that they could do with an extra dose of water.

A good turnout as usual and an efficient watering ensued...

Palace Band

The hot weather showed no sign of breaking with the welcome return visit of the Palace Band.

Warming up with the Radetzky March, the wind ensemble took us through a guided music walk through some familiar tunes.

As with last week, the band chose to refuge themselves in the shade as this weather melts the energy out of even the most young and athletic members of the musicians.

The audience as well were mostly in the shade although some people still can't get enough of the sun....

A pleasure to hear the band again and we hope that they will be back again in 2019.

MHDHS Summer Show stall

The Friends took the opportunity to have a stall at the Muswell Hill and District Horticultural Show. We had plenty of sunshine, but it was not as busy as usual due to a certain football match going on at the same time. Three helpers manned the stall for a couple of hours and we manage to generate quite a lot of interest including 3 new members.

Plenty of tea and cakes on offer to break our fast and slate our thirsts.

Our display board was also quite popular. Next door was a stall selling honey and we all took advantage of the opportunity to buy some local produce.

London Metropolitan Brass

The fine weather continued with people wishing for it to be a little cooler. The band sought out a patch of shade from which to play.

Pleasing to see the smart new banner that the band now has.....

Many rousing tunes and a few gentle ones to please the surrounding people. They also were searching out some shade as being in 25 degrees plus was not to everyone's taste.

Thanks again for a great performance demonstrating the depth 
of music in their repertoire.

Palace Gates Summer Fete stall

The Friends had a stall at the Palace Gates Summer Fete in June. We tested the acumen of adults and children alike with our leaf test..... Visitors had to identify some of the common trees in the Park from their leaves. Colouring was also on offer for the more artistically inclined.

As to the fete itself, music from a band, cakes, a tombola, etc. - the whole day went well in spite of the sun keeping above the clouds.

June Conservation Work

Sunshine as usual for our attack on the Butterfly Meadow. At this time of year, we are just trying to hold our own.

The grass had grow very tall and the first swathe of wild flowers was starting to come out. We attacked the brambles and while we were working we heard Chiffchaff, Blackcap still singing. The first Meadow Brown butterflies were flitting around. Plants in flower included Red Campion, Common Mouse Ear, Common Birds Foot Trefoil and the first Common Ragworts.

The picture taken is of a final instar Forest Bug (a type of Shield Bug).

Members Walk: Towers and Flowers

A half a dozen of us met up on a sunny, but slightly chilly evening by the BBC Tower. The visibility was good so we took the opportunity to have a good look at the general view as well as specific new builds.

On the local new build front, we could see the progress of the Altitude N8 development by Hornsey station.

Further away there was, of course, the new Tottenham Football Ground (left). Another tower going up is the new APEX building on https://www.flickr.com/photos/47046427@N03/28916859568/in/album-72157644952529584/the corner of Tottenham High Road and Seven Sisters Road. Also there are cranes visible at Tottenham Hale for the Ashley Road development.

Down at our feet was wall barley growing, but annoyingly someone pointed out a very soft grass which after looking up was found to be Annual Beard Grass (not a native).

We continued our walk with a look at some of the flowers planted in the beds below the Palace. There were a mixture of wild flowers and more ornamental annuals including Poppies, Borage, Vipers Bugloss and Californian poppies. (left pic)

For the wild flower part of our walk, we spotted some yarrow by the terrace and then crossed the road to walk in a loop to the left and back up to head towards the Rose Garden. Here, amongst the wild flowers seen were Dove's Foot Crane's Bill, Common Mallow, Ribwort, Buckthorn (left) and Broadleaf Plantains, Selfheal and Pineapple Weed.

We crossed the road and walked to the top of the old Dry Ski Slope were there were plenty more wild flowers to be seen. Red clover might not produce much excitement, but from an ecological point of view it was good to see a lot of Yellow Rattle (bottom picture) which should keep some of the vigorous grasses in check and allow more wild flowers to prosper.

Waves of Ribbed Melilot were perhaps prettiest show on offer...

We walked to the Rose Garden to have a last look at flowers and views. There we spotted some cultivated yarrow that contrasted quite well with the wild version seen earlier. In the fountain was a good collection of different coloured Water Lillies (and even some small fish). 

We ended our walk dead on time at 9pm looking at the insignificant flowers of the Honey Locust tree at the top of the Rose Garden.

Beginners Tree Walk

Robyn lead our popular Beginners' Tree Walk starting from the Bedford Road entrance. She picked on just about half a dozen of our common trees to tell us more about them and how to identify them.

First stop was the Sycamore. This tree is a maple - its name sometimes puts people off from identifying it with others of the same genus. Robin showed us the leaves and the seeds (helicopters).

Next stop was a Field Maple. This is our only native maple tree although not the only maple tree you will find in the wild. The leaves are more elegant and the seeds are angled very different from the Sycamore.

We moved onto the Oak, probably the country's iconic tree. We  heard about its longevity and use and how to recognise its bark and leaves.

The Horse Chestnut was the next to come under scrutiny, we inspected the large leaves and developing conkers.

To give everyone a change, the next stop was, probably the tree that nearly everyone can put a name to the Holly. We heard how males and female are on different trees. Berries will only be seen on the female trees.

Next stop was the fallen old field boundary oak which came down in 2014. Counting its rings, it was just over 200 years old pre-dating the park.

Hornbeam was our next stop, the most common tree in our local woodlands, but little known outside the tree-friendly world. It has very hard wood.

Lime came next on our list and Robyn pointed out that there was almost a circle of lime trees close to the old Blandford Hall site. These trees have heart-shaped, asymmetric leaves which often have colourful nail galls on them.

Last stop was a look at a final maple, the Silver Maple with a whitish underside and also often with galls on the leaves.

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

July 2018

One of TCV's July jobs was to open up some hedgehog holes in the old Deer Enclosures. You may spot some of these small gaps in the fence....

Next date Wednesday, 22nd August where they will be resuming some laurel clearance started by a corporate group a few weeks ago. The laurel has got out of control and is invading neighbouring rose beds and opening up the area will improve security for park users. Book yourself in using the contact information below. Starts at 10am.

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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