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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

Thursday, 25th April 10am to 12:30pm


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Last month we saw vegetation starting to push through, but only dandelions in flower and just one butterfly. Things will have really pushed on by now....

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. 




Bird Walk and Ringing Display

Sunday, 28th April 8am to 10:30am

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Gareth will help us to identify birds as we walk round the park, then Gerry will give us a bird-ringing demonstration and tell us about the conservation benefits of tracking birds in this way.

What might we see - in previous years, we have seen peregrine and hobby, but more likely sparrowhawk and kestrel.

Recently an avocet was seen on the filter beds - you never know our luck.....

Meet at The Grove Car Park at 8am. (No booking required.)












Friends' Recent Events

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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Cold and layers needed to combat the cold, 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. 



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Mostly sunny, but there was a chill in the air when the clouds went over. 14 volunteers turned up to help attack the brambles. Can you spot 11 of them in the picture on the left?

Only one flower out in the meadow area - dandelion, but we still managed to catch a glimpse of a peacock butterfly

Some excitement as possible germination of Yellow Rattle was observed. Elsewhere Rosebay and Great Willowherb were poking up through the earth and large clumps of knapweed were in evidence.

Birds are beginning to make their presence felt with Great Tit, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Dunnock, Parakeet, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Carrion Crow, Robin, Wren (loudest) and Chiffchaff (most persistent).



Members Walk: Our Watery Neighbours

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Meeting at the Gas Hut, we walked along the eastern edge of the Park to the first viewing platform just after the Nature Pond. We heard about the New River which was completed in 1613 and originally ran along that edge of the present Park boundary. It was later moved (1850) to alongside the railway where it presently runs passing behind the Wood Green reservoir also originally in place before the Park was created.

We heard how a group of activists helped save the New River back in the 1980s. It now provides about 8% of London's water.

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We moved just outside the Park to look at the Filter Beds (another link to another filter bed picture). Here, there are plans to build 300 houses on the Metropolitan Open Land. Other locals are keen to transform the area into a wetlands to provide valuable green space for the addition housing already happening in the area (where the old gas holders used to be).

There was a great turn out for this walk - 27 people braved the wind so there is quite an interest for this subject.




The Conservation Volunteers

February 2019

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TCV worked around the Butterfly Meadow in the Park this month on the same day as the Friends' volunteers. TCV spent a good deal of time clearing some saplings along the edge of the Lower Path below the meadow.

Other jobs involved removing some leaves in the meadow itself as well as helping out with the bramble clearing (picture).

The weather was extra-ordinary for February with temperatures approaching 20 degrees.



The next conservation session in the Park will be on Wednesday, 24th April. Meet at 10am. To book or for more information contact David Allen the new BAT East Project Officer, email t.nandi@tcv.org.uk or call on Tel: 07917 267 573.









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