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Previous events in the Park

Separate pages contain reports of our

 Bat hunting walks  Bird watching walks  Bug Hunts
 Friends' Work Days  Fungus Forays  History Walks
 Members' Walks  Moth Evenings  Tree walks
 
Bands                           
Wild Flowers


Other events include the following:


AGM plus Archives of Alexandra Palace and Park Update


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At the Annual General Meeting of the Friends of Alexandra Park. Kirsten Forrest and James White from the Palace team showed a selection of some of the fascinating images that emerged from the Park and Palace archives found during the restoration work in the Palace. These included pictures of the old Pavilion Tea Rooms in The Grove, the old Boat House and pictures from inside the Palace.

The first part of the archives has been uploaded to Google Arts and Culture and can be found here.

They also asked if any of the Friends of Park were interested in doing research into Gardening in the Park......

 
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In addition Mark Evison, the Park Manager, gave us an update on the park and illustrated some of his work (dealing with licencees, coping with the litter, tree vulnerabilities and management). New positive achievements included large numbers of awards for the Park (Green Flag, London in Bloom etc.) and the new surface to the Lower Road. 

The Friends’ chairman, Gordon Hutchinson, gave a report (read it here) on the activities of the members and a plea for additional help to do yet more.

Concern was raised over the Wood Green Area Action Plan and how it could affect the Park.

The Committee was re-elected, but if you wish to join us you will be very welcome. allyparkn10@gmail.com

A Wild Place: the ecology of London in place names Feb 2017

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Thirty people packed into the Park Information Centre on a Wednesday evening to hear Mathew Frith of the London Wildlife Trust. He gave us a great exposé of how many of our well known London suburbs have names with nature connections.

He also revealed how some road names reflect local natural features while others are merely names to improve the sound of the area.

Take back one fact. Penge is the only London area with a Celtic name origin......


Talk on Hedgehogs and Camera Trapping Nov 2016

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The evenings are becoming darker so time was ripe for our first talk (one of four) of the Winter season.

Chris Carbone was our expert who took us through some of the results of camera trapping on the Ally Pally Allotments as well as on the Parkland Walk. Some of the conclusions were that foxes (often seen in the traps) were about for most of the time with a small break in the middle of the day. Hedgehogs on the other hand were most noticeable after midnight and before dawn.

He explained that he had participated in a Royal Parks survey last year in Regents Park which holds the last healthy-sized population of 
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hedgehogs near the centre of the capital.

Chris delighted our packed room with pictures from his camera trap projects in other parts of the world with close up views of tigers and other exotic beasts. 

Chris further inspired his audience with his wish to start a hedgehog monitoring project in Alexandra Park and possibly linking it with local people's gardens to find out the health of our local population and to try and tie it in with other populations closer to the centre of London.


This highly interesting evening was greatly enjoyed - make a point of coming along to one of our next few talks....


Haringey Walking Weekend, October 1/2nd

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The Friends staged two Parks walk as part of the Haringey Walking Weekend.

On the Saturday, Laura guided us around the North of the Park visiting The Grove, The Palace with the views...., the Boating Lake and passing through the old Blandford Hall area.

Council Photographer, Dave Tothill,  took some excellent shots on Saturday - check them out here.

Sunday's walk was a look at the South of the Park with some of the trees of the Western Arboretum, the traces of the Racecourse which closed in 1970, Redston Field, Newland Field, by the reservoir and Nature Area.

Over 30 people joined us for the walks and it was good to see almost entirely new faces appreciate the Park. People often say that they come to the Park, but that they have discovered another part to explore.

Brilliant sunshine for most of the time added pleasure to the experience.... 


Summer Festival 2016

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Congratulations to the Palace for putting on such an extensive and enjoyable event. At the Friends of Alexandra Park stand in The Grove we welcomed visitors of all ages, many of whom took part in our tantalising (and challenging) picture quiz “It’s behind you!”, which asked people to match pictures of views of the Park with photos of buildings behind them.  (The winner, Tessa Hough, pictured receiving two Hornsey Historical Society publications). Others from farther afield who were unfamiliar with the Park were keen to learn about its history.  Our activities entertained children, despite the attractions of the nearby Ferris wheel and merry-go-round, and welcomed several new members.

Some pictures of the Water Slide, Children's Races and people enjoying the Festival here.

Do you want to try your hand at our competition? Match the Views here to the Buildings behind them here.

Answers here.


Family Fun Day, May 2016


Considering the indifferent weather, we were very happy with over 50 people of all ages taking part in our first Xplorer challenge and many more coming into the Park Information Centre.


People seem to really enjoy this activity and we will be repeating it later this year.


The other activities which went well included a nature scavenger hunt - also v popular (all sorts of creepy crawlies brought back not all to the delight of the volunteers!), leaf identification, and a couple of Park quizzes.

Very enjoyable and satisfying for the Friends involved.


2016 Friends of Alexandra Park AGM

The Alexandra Park and Palace Trust CEO, Louise Stewart, was the speaker for our AGM. She gave an insight on how the first months in charge have been and what the future will be for both the Palace and the Park. She said, for example, that she was surprised at how quickly designs changed on the Graffiti Wall by the Skate Park and how she became emotional when seeing pictures from the 1980 Palace fire.
She explained the thinking behind moving the deer out of the Park to Devon and talked about the management of events within the Park. - There were three major events in the Park in the last year; the Red Bull Soapbox Derby, the Summer Festival and the Fireworks display. It was agreed that there were lessons to be learned especially from the Fireworks event (damage to the Park from vehicles).


The Go-Ape facility is hoped to be at least partially ready for July's Summer Festival.

Good News! Louise Stewart also announced that the Trust would be looking into making a bit for Heritage Lottery Fund money specifically to improve the Park.


Mark Evison, the Park Manager and Louise then took questions. She was asked about the likelihood of events like the Wireless Festival and reassured the members that this was not on the cards...


Also the question was raised about the future of the Deer Enclosures and we were told that no decision has yet been made.


The protection of “nature areas” of the Park was also raised.


Some concerns were aired about the shutting off of the Park to people wishing to walk across it for commuting during events – no change in strategy is envisaged.


Other concerns were raised about access to the car park(s) by the Ice Rink and the people manning the entrances. Louise took the comments on board and reassured the audience that steps were already underway to improve the communication of the the contractors controlling the entrance with the public.


Gordon Hutchinson thanked Louise Stewart for agreeing to come to our AGM and we hoped that we would continue to have an excellent relationship with the Trust management.


After the presentation from Louise and Q and A, the Chair, Gordon Hutchinson gave a brief summary of the year's many activities (over forty), and thanked the committee for their hard work and all the members who have helped with the Park Information Centre and activities over the year. Treasurer Nick Bryant reported that the Friends’ finances were healthy, with membership now over 270.

Committee member and website guru, Jenny Bryant, has left the Committee and was heartily thanked for her contribution over the years.


Other Committee Members remain and we are always on the look out for anyone who wishes to join us.

All thirsty work, so to celebrate our 10 years, we broke open the bubbly and toasted a bright future.


Geology Talk, April 2016

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A packed Park Information Centre was the scene for Diana Clements' Geology Talk. She explained that the last great ice age effected the London basin profoundly with the path of Thames being radically altered (pushed South). She pointed out where various high points were around London and their geological significance. 

Diana then led on to the geology of the area with specific reference to Alexandra Park and how it is now (with plenty of springs) and how it was in the past.

We learnt that the ice once just crept down South far enough to cover the area depositing various difference stones and even fossils to be discovered in the area.


Insect Talk by Dan Hackett, March 2016


A good number of people gathered for convivial drink and chat before this month's talk.

The illustrated presentation went through the insect kingdom giving examples of what has been found and what might be found in our Park.

He explained the differences between true bugs and beetles and told us that indeed stag beetles have set up home in an old decaying Ash Tree at one end of the Lower Road.

Dan also mentioned the mimics like the Wasp Beetle and the Bee Fly (pictured).

He discussed the butterflies that can be found within the Park and those that struggle. One quite common butterfly the Brimstone is not often seen in the Park as we know of only one of its food plants, the Alder Buckthorn by the reservoir.

In contrast three different skipper butterflies (Large, Small and Essex) can be found in the park and are often to be seen in the Butterfly Meadow where the Friends have been doing a good job of habitat restoration.

Dan explained about some of the nastier insect parasites that eat other insects slowly from the inside leaving all the vital organs until last to keep their meal fresh.

We thank him for a most engaging and informative evening.


If you would like to see some pictures of some of the insects that Dan talked about please follow this link.


Wild Flower Talk, February 2016


We were privileged to have renown botanist, David Bevan come and talk to the Friends on Wild Flowers of London.

He pointed out that London is a hot spot for wild flowers in more ways than one. The higher temperature allows plants that wouldn't otherwise survive to prosper.

David took us on a tour from central London out to the leafy fields of Harrow...

Our speaker explained that the blitz bomb sites post war, with their explosion of new plants, were the spark that enthused a whole generation of London Botanists. One good example that is still to be found in many places is buddleia.

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We heard the story of the Oxford Ragwort coming to London by following the train lines. It loved the clinker which was similar to the volcanic stone of its native Mount Etna.

Our borough of Haringey 3 species of orchid have been known including the Common Spotted Orchid. Have you ever spotted one?

David mentioned that now is the time to look out for early flowering Colt's Foot (pictured by the cricket pitch).



Winter Pruning and MaintenanceFebruary 2016


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The Urban Orchard Project led a session in the orchards to prune the trees and prepare them for another year's growth. On site were the Park Contractors, John O'Conner, the Park Manager, Mark Evison, and members of the Friends of Alexandra Park.

Pruning was of several types including removing growth that touched other branches, cutting off twigs growing back towards the centre of the tree, encouraging more bushy growth and trimming any unwanted low branches and finally cleaning up any damage.

Holes were made at the bottom of the cages to allow access for removal of litter etc.. Also holes were made to allow branches to grow outwards.

Most of the cages were reduced in height and the sharp edges turned over.

Lots of shredded bark was added to the trees to a diameter of 1 metre (outside the edge of the guard) to help the trees grow.



AGM 2015, May 2015



A successful AGM with 50% more attendees than last year. The Friends were told that they had organised over 30 events over the past 12 months.

Mark Evison, the Park Manager (pictured), gave us some more detail on the new "Park Vision" for the future of the park which created a lively discussion.

The committee remained unchanged with Gordon Hutchinson remaining as Chair, but the call is still out there for anyone who wishes to join us.

The evening finished with short quiz on the Park with everyone showing that they knew quite a lot about Alexandra Park.

Sample question: In which year did the last horse race take place in Alexandra Park?




New Community Orchard Project Planted in The Grove, December 2014

A total of 26 fruit trees were planted in The Grove.

Who helped? Lots of manpower from John O'Conner, the Park Contractors who brought in Head Office staff as well.

We were also very happy to see three local schools involved. Heartlands High, Muswell Hill Primary School and Alexandra Park Schools. Ahmet Yener from the Lakeside Cafe did some serious digging and Ciro from The Grove Cafe brought some welcome cake...

The Park Manager, Mark Evison, took an active role together with many of the Friends of Alexandra Park and two other keen volunteers.

The project was led by The Urban Orchard Project, who had three people working hard all day.

We planted apples, medlars, damsons, pears, cherries on two sites in The Grove. For most of the time we were blessed with sun to encourage us in our efforts.

In future of the Orchard will rely on volunteer work for the planting and maintenance, as well as the help and work from John O'Conner - the Park Contractors, and will be under the overall responsibility of the Park Manager.

Orchard Project Maintenance, July 2015

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Due to diligent watering by John O'Conner, the Park Contractors, the Springfield and Railway Field Orchard trees look in "good nick".

Mark Evison (Park Manager), John O'Conner's, the Park Volunteers and the Friends of Alexandra Park spent a morning on maintenance of our two orchards in The Grove.

The Park Contractors first removed the guards then we all set about weeding the area at the base of the fruit trees.

In order to counteract some of the pests liable to attack the trees small twigs were tied together to give a home to earwigs which prey upon the pests - one for each tree.

Picture above shows a Park Volunteer making these homes.

At same time Summer pruning of the stone fruit trees was performed by Mark Evison.

The guards were then nailed back shut with the trees ready for the Autumn.



Rapha Supercross in Alexandra Park, October 2014


The Rapha Supercross Event was held in Alexandra Park at the end of October for the 4th year. Mild weather and sunshine for this event with races for under 8s to Elite Racers. For the aficionados it was great to see Team Eurocar road racer Dan Craven (pictured) in the Elite and Fun Races. All pictures from the day here.







Family Mystery Trail, May 2014

A new event this year - a Family Mystery Trail, was held on the late Bank Holiday Monday, 2014. 

On a cool, cloudy afternoon a number of children and adults enjoyed answering clues which took them round The Grove, and as one father said, they observed all sorts of items they had never noticed before.  Juice and biscuits were on offer at the end, as well as a token prize of one of the small BBC booklets.

Copies of the clues to the Trail have been left at the Information Centre for others to try when they visit.


150th Anniversary of the opening of Alexandra Park, July 2013

What a brilliant day! Everything was happening, on a sunny July day, for the 150th anniversary celebrations in Alexandra Park.

There was music of all types in many places around the park – Jazz, Steel Bands, Brass Bands and more modern music.

Sport on the lower slopes, with everything from mini rugby to archery.




The funfair was in front of the Ice Rink and in The Grove they had a Carousel and a Helter Skelter. The showpiece was the tethered balloon on the slope below the Palace.

Is that all? No! There was Tree Climbing, Face Painting, golf lessons, dance, poetry, a long, long, long table on The Terrace for socialising and deck chairs on the lawn to sit and take in the view or just to snooze.
 


The Friends were base
d in The Grove which was branded as the “Village Green”. Local and special interest stalls competed for attention. Our stall highlighted the history of the Park and all the activities that have taken place in it from parachuting to horse racing. We also had drawing and other activities for children. We led four guided walks over the day helping the visitors to appreciate the history and natural history of the Park.



We also had the game “Where’s Ally?” where people had to identify different areas of the park from pictures. Around fifty entrants with nine people getting all the answers correct (including, reassuringly, the Park Manager, Mark Evison!).  The winner was Indijana who won the tie-breaker guessing the weight of Ally to within 5 grams.



Picture shows Gordon presenting Ally to Indijana and John.


Tree sculptures carved in Alexandra Park, July/August 2012

During the olympic games, tree sculptures were carved, by Shane Green, in the grounds of Alexandra Park
. These reflected the olympic disciplines of discus, cycling, diving, shooting,  hockey and triathlon.
 
   
Each tree sculpture was carved in a single day from existing dead timber.



Jubilee Tree Planting

To celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee three royal oak saplings were planted in The Grove, Alexandra Palace in the Spring of 2012.

The saplings were grown from the seeds of oaks in Windsor Great Park and are being sold by the Woodland Trust. 
Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive for Alexandra Park and Palace Trust, is seen here planting the trees with the help of children from the 3-4-5 Playgroup, which is based in The Grove.

The trees are tiny saplings and have been planted within the fenced area of the Veteran Oak.  They will, in time, take the place of the great oak when it has reached the end of its life. 


Cyclo-cross, October 2011


Cyclo-cross came to Alexandra Park on Sunday 23rd October with the final event in the Rapha Super Cross series.

 
 
 
 
 
 




BioBlitz and Springwatch Wild Day Out


 
Following this very successful event in Alexandra Park in June 2010, Dr John Tweddle from the Natural History Museum, gave a presentation on the many discoveries.
 
See the London BioBlitz Report and Springwatch Wild Day Out.



These pictures were all taken during the Springwatch Wild Day Out, in Alexandra Park:

 Stag beetle
 Red Fox
 Lichen
 
 Comfrey
 Noctule bat
 Common frog