Our regular Members' Walks are open to all Members of The Friends of Alexandra Park (you are welcome to join on the day - only £5 for a household). 

Members are led through a different part of the Park each time, with a chance to discuss the flora, fauna, the history, and future plans for the Park.  Usually finishing with a beverage at one of our cafes.

Members' Walk: Winter flowering plants - 4th February

On this month's Members' Walk, a dozen people joined me to try to find five flowering wildflowers, five flowering planted flowers or shrubs and five flowering trees.

We started in the Rose Garden where we ticked off several wildflowers including groundsel, shepherd's purse and annual meadow grass. Shrubs included winter honeysuckle, Viburnum x bodnantense, Mahonia and witch hazel.

Wandering below the Palace, we passed red dead-nettle and annual mercury to tick off our five wild flowers. We saw the first flowers on the purple-leaved plums (pictured left) and just below the palace we could just make out the winter flowering cherries.  Closer to we passed the Cornelian cherries which were starting to display their vibrant yellow flowers.

As we reached the western arboretum, we saw a great display of daises on the right and on the left we found a Raywood Ash in flower. Walking on a hazel was found with its male catkins and discreet red female flowers making up our five flowering trees. We also saw a planted section of crocuses making our five planted shrubs and flowers.

Members' Nature Walk: 8th October

A sunny day for our walk, which we started in the Rose Garden. We walked down the hill looking at the trees, listening for the birds and inspecting the fungi at our feet. A weeping silver lime tree near the bunker in the Blandford Hall area was admired, as it was doing its trick of turning its leaves around when the sun gets too hot (pictured – look for the whitish leaves). This is thought to reflect more of the sun and thus lessen overheating. We took a little time to search out some galls, with examples seen of artichoke galls on both oak and yew – though they are caused by different species on each.

Members' Nature Walk: 11th August 

We were lucky with the weather for our evening nature walk, warm and pleasant. We looked at the trees in the Redston Field including the remaining Italian Poplars, Oak trees (one with an old oak processionary moth nest), a Columella Elm (not quite the tree ordered!) and evidence of the aptly named Elm zigzag sawfly (pictured left).

Next to the field, we inspected the settling pond - used to stop flooding of nearby houses and to filter out any noxious materials running down from the Fairground/Paddock car parks.

We took an off-path look for an exotic fern (Western Sword Fern) which has made its home in the park.

Looking just off the paddock car park, we spotted a tomato plant happily growing.

We finished off walking along the Lower Path trying to get a view of the noisy sparrowhawks........

Members' Nature Walk: 17th June

We met up at the Gas Hut and started by having a look at an oak processionary moth nest and discussing the problems associated with these pests before walking up to the Blandford Hall area hoping to catch sight of the sparrowhawks nesting there - no luck unfortunately. We did, however, spot speckled wood and holly blue butterflies.

Returning down the hill, we passed through the long grass and finished at the Anthill Meadow where we were very fortunate to see several different species of butterfly including the striking marbled white (pictured left).

Members' Nature Walk: 15th April

A muddy walk around and into the Nature Conservation Area exploring some of the less used minor paths. We saw streams, the remains of snowdrops and ivy broomrape and some lilies starting to grow. Also looking at dutch elm disease on some trees as well as spotting the first flowers coming out and identifying some trees. Also bird song was in evidence with chiffchaffs and great tits providing a musical backdrop.

Members' History Walk: Saturday 25th March 

As a precursor to the re-enactment of the first match of the British Ladies’ Football Club the following day, Gordon led a walk across the park recalling some of the history of football in and near Alexandra Park. ‘Near’ because that first women’s match took place just outside the park on land now occupied by North and South View Roads. (Male) journalists were not impressed by the quality of the women’s play.

 The group made their way to the Upper Field, now home to Go Ape, but originally the home ground of Alexandra Park Football Club (APFC). At this point it turned out that one of the group had played there for APFC in the 1950s. Gordon was delighted to hand over to Ashley, who gave first-hand accounts of playing on the Upper Field (apparently in better condition then than it is now) and training under the lights of British Car Auctions in the yard behind the palace. 

Members' Nature Walk: 5th February 

A cold, but successful day for the Big Garden Birdwatch including a walk led by Bob Husband of the RSPB London NW Group.

The group from RSPB were very pleased to see 2 peregrines on the BBC mast, but probably their highlight as well for other locals was to see two firecrests in the Blandford Hall Area - we were led there by local bird expert Marcus. We also had excellent views of a kestrel flying just over our heads below the Rose Garden. Nothing rare on the Boating Lake; we had tufted ducks together with shovelers, mallards and pochards. Greylag and Canada geese, moorhens and coots and a highlight for the locals was to see a mute swan. The swan had been ringed follow this link for some details.

Some of the other notable spots included redwings and jays. We also heard nuthatch, stock dove and great spotted woodpeckers.

Some more pictures from the day.

Fuller report (with numbers!) from RSPB NW London Group can be read here.

Members' Walk: 14th January

 The park before the palace: Gordon outlined the unsuccessful attempts to raise money to buy the farmland before the park finally opened in 1863. Our walk took us to the two major constructions in the park’s early years: the racecourse (1868) and the banqueting hall (1864), built to feed the thousands of visitors to the horticultural shows, military displays and bands. The hall subsequently functioned as a dance hall, a rifle range, a place to display Samuel Cody’s massive kites, and finally a paint store, which possibly contributed to its eventual fate – a fire in 1971. All we can now see of it are the silver birches that have covered the site.

Members’ walk: 12th November

 Gordon gave us on a fascinating insight into the park from the point of view of its water rather than the more usual plants, fungi or animals. We met at the Gas Hut and walked down through the Conservation Area, looking at and discussing the wet areas, some surprisingly dry areas, and the well-hidden pond, which has silted up somewhat and will have to be cleared of vegetation. The wetter eastern end of the park is currently the subject of a feasibility study for the creation of a wetland. 

Members' Gall walk: 16th October

We started off with galls on ash seeds, which look rather like frass (insect droppings) – not a pretty sight. Things got better: a spectacular set of cherry galls on the underside of an oak leaf (pictured). Also on the underside of oak leaves were common spangle galls, which are aptly named. On the tops of maple leaves, we looked at peppercorn galls, which start off pale and then darken. Nail galls also form on the tops of leaves, and tend to be red on lime and paler on sycamore. Then there were the galls that form on buds: marble, ramshorn and cola nut. Our finale was the surprising sight of a ramshorn gall growing through a cola nut gall. 

Members' Nature Walk - August 

We met up at the BBC Tower and Sue pointed out a peregrine on the mast. We admired the clearly visible view of St. Pauls before walking down through the rose garden noticing the low level of the pond.

Some horse-chestnuts and relatives were inspected for leaf-miner damage and the large crop of acorns was noted (a very poor year last year).

Next stop was the weeping ash tree with its shaggy bracket fungus and yellow coloured spider's webs (picture). The falling spores had coloured the webs.

Walking into the Blandford Hall area, we noted the regeneration of the woodland since the 1971 Blandford Hall fire. We spotted a yucca plant deep in the shade and a silver-leaved lime turning its leaves upside down to reflect the heat.

We spotted signs of the zigzag sawfly and heard the sparrowhawks flying overhead before exiting close to the Bedford Road entrance.

Members' History Walk - July

On a seemingly pleasant evening, the group completed a swift circuit of the park from Cufos to the Grove. Gordon started with a reminder that the park once stretched down to the bottom of the Avenue and included lakes and a circus. Moving on to the Upper Field, Dr Barton’s airship and the Crouch End Vampires football team got a mention; then on to the Banqueting Hall, the first building in the park and the location of Samuel Cody’s display of man-carrying kites that led to his transformation from Wild West showman to British Army flying pioneer.

Crossing Alexandra Palace Way, Gordon described features that could not be reached in the time available: the rifle range and the swimming pool, and after a brief debate around the hot air balloon weight (or was it a barrage balloon anchor?) the group reached the Racecourse. By then the chilly wind forced some to retire from the walk, but a hardy few reached the Grove; in the 18th century it was a garden frequented by the guests of Topham Beauclerk, including Dr Johnson.

Members' Nature Walk - June 

The weather was perfect for our stroll westwards from the Park Avenue North entrance: warm with a gentle breeze. Midsummer is a good time to look at grass flowerheads, and we saw several, including meadow foxtail, perennial ryegrass and timothy (which, oddly, is said to have been named after a man called Timothy...).

In terms of trees, we compared the leaves of English elm and wych elm and admired the fluttering of aspen leaves (the tree is our only native poplar). We heard many birds, including blackbirds, blackcaps and wrens, and even spotted a couple of oak processionary moth caterpillars.

Members' History Walk - April

With the Bike Show in progress on the Pavilion car park and the public testing bikes on the slopes below it, we kept to the lower areas of the park to consider the many sports that have taken place in the park over the years. From the ladies’ archery contest at the park opening in 1863 to trotting, outdoor bowls and cricket (still being played in the park after 116 years), sport has always been a feature of the park. In fact the Alexandra Park Company, which developed the park, had a motto of ‘Healthy Exercise – Rational Recreation’. Gordon was able to point out a few visible features of earlier sporting activities, such as the swimming bath and the outdoor rifle range, and confirm their location on maps. And of course pétanque will shortly be added to the long list of the park’s sports. Pictures shows players in the Fairground Car Park

March Members' Walk - The View 

This is definitely our shortest, slowest type of Members' Walk. We wandered from The Beach (the area outside the Phoenix Pub) along the facade of the Palace to below the BBC Tower taking an hour to do it.

The weather was generally poor with rain and only moderate visibility, but we did manage point out what is visible from the terrace including the protected view to St. Pauls. We also took time to look at the new buildings going up and those recently completed.

February Members' Walk - this year 

Gordon usually looks back at some aspect of the park's history, but this time he looked ahead to some of the activities which will be happening in the park this year - from concerts to conservation work, with the occasional diversion to trees, flowers and flying things. 

Members' Conifer Walk - January

 It was a windless morning, which was lucky because there was a large group (26) of us but we could still hear Stephen clearly. 

We started off with pines, which have needles in pairs, threes or fives. In the stand of black pines next to the Grove café, we discovered that their needles come in pairs. Next came the Bhutan pine, with feathery-looking needles in fives. 

And onto trees whose needles come in ones: spruces and firs. We looked at the needles of a blue spruce, which are attached by a peg, and whose cones point down and eventually fall to the ground. 

Later on we looked at a grand fir (the one on the South Slope that often gets decorated with baubles in December), with needles attached like a sucker, whose cones point up and stay on the tree. We looked at redwoods: the dawn redwood, which is deciduous, and the giant redwood, which is not. Both have cones with a pattern that is reminiscent of lips. We also looked at quite a few other conifers, so we all came away feeling pleased that we’d learned so much.

Spreadsheet of Conifers in the Park

Members' Walk and Christmas Meet-up

We had our traditional festive walk in The Grove followed by a drink and mince pies with suitable COVID precautions - well attended and appreciated.

Members' History Walk - November

Perhaps attracted by a desire to learn more about the interestingly named Topham Beauclerk, quite a sizeable group joined Gordon to find out more about the history of the Grove. It was formerly the garden of a fine house called the Grove, lived in during the late 18th century by said Topham Beauclerk. He had an observatory and a conservatory built in the garden, but these are both long gone; as are more recent structures such as the Japanese Village, a restaurant with a large terrace and an elegant bandstand. The location of the last of these is now marked by a liquidambar tree, which in years to come will be equally elegant, but won’t house (human) musicians. 

Members' Nature Walk - October 

We took a stroll along the eastern edge of the park starting by the Gas Hut. The original idea was partly to admire all the spiders' webs, but they had greatly reduced in numbers over the last week and we were pleased to one garden spider. 

A couple of different ladybird species were seen including a harlequin (picture left) and a seven spot. It was a bit too dull and cool for many insects so we looked a some of the birds in the park and on the reservoir. Included were cormorants, great crested grebe and a grey heron. Three Egyptian Geese also put in an appearance, but the highlight should have been the kestrel on the fencing, but was later informed that it was just a wood pigeon! Never mind - next spring, we will have a proper bird walk.

Members' History Walk - September 

A small group of members enjoyed a leisurely stroll in the area east of the palace while Gordon spoke about the various entertainments that have been on offer since the late 19th century. Starting with the two switchbacks (forerunner of the roller coaster) that ran across the ground now occupied by the Pavilion car park and the Rose Garden, we moved on to the Boating Lake, which has always offered boats of some sort, the latest being the tasteful unicorn pedalos. However, the Lakeside Miniature Railway, which ran round the lake for 20 years from 1950, was of more interest. (There’s a detailed account of its history in Bulletin No. 60 (2019) published by the Hornsey Historical Society.) The walk ended on the Upper Field among the young people enjoying Alexandra Park’s most recent entertainment offer: Go Ape. 

Nature Walk - looking at tree pests and diseases

A good turnout helped by lovely evening sunshine for walk down from the Rose Garden. We looked a lot of galls and fungi as well as other problems faced by trees in the park.

Oak processionary nests were observed just below the rose garden on the same oak as were seen knopper and common spangle galls (both caused by wasps).

Mite galls were seen on walnut, sycamore, holm oak and lime (lower picture) trees.

Fungal tar spot was obvious on the leaves of many sycamore.

We took a look at two species of horse chestnut seeing the traces of horse chestnut leaf miner as well as a fungal blotching.

A few large bracket fungi were seen - Southern Bracket and an Oak Bracket (top picture). In the Blandford Hall area traces of Zigzag Sawfly on elm were spotted.

The last section of the walk took us across the road to see symptoms of Ash dieback and Dutch Elm disease as well an oriental chestnut gall.

Members' Walk - History of the Racecourse

Wednesday 14th July 2021

On a mild evening we met up at the Fairground Car Park for a walk around the course of the old racecourse. Gordon explained that the course predated the palace opening up in 1868. 

The first race had just one runner..... 

We heard stories of the "character" of the racecourse meetings attracting not the highest grade of punter. One famous race commentator was especially fond of the "pan handle" course, John McCririck, and expressed his wish to have his ashes scattered on the course.

The horse racing finally finished in 1970 after celebrating over 100 years of operation. The main reason for its demise being the tight bends and adverse camber on the route around the bottom of the park. 

There is a Pathe news clip available online showing the course in action and there was even a comedy called the Galloping Major in the 1950s with large sections shot at the Alexandra Park Racecourse.

The picture on the left shows the view back from the finishing straight.

Members Walk - Wildflowers

26th June 2021

It’s amazing how many plants you can find if you look closely at a stretch of grass or the roadside verges in a park. Caroline and Stephen led three walks and between them found 70-odd species, which included several grasses, and flowers from the cabbage, daisy, dock, mint, rose, and pea families.

On what could almost be described as a warm evening, Gordon led a group around the park, pointing out significant events and individuals in its history. As always the group was surprised to hear that destruction by fire was not confined to the palace – the football pavilion, the Banqueting (aka Blandford) Hall, two cricket pavilions, and more... 

The likely function of the ‘bomb’ (which it definitely was not), provoked debate – anchor weight for hot air balloons or for barrage balloons? One of the group claimed it was definitely the former. She had researched Ally Pally’s famous balloonist/parachutist Dolly Shepherd, on the way to writing a children’s book on Dolly’s life, and Dolly’s daughter had confirmed that. After a quick look at the racecourse, the circuit of the park was completed in the Grove at the spot where the rather lovely Edwardian bandstand once stood.

Wild Flower Walks - April 2021 

In fine weather, but with a cool wind, Caroline led two wild flower walks to give two small groups of people insight into some of the spring flowers found in the park. 

Another perfect day for the wildflower walks. We saw a good range of bluebells – native, Spanish, and hybrids that were rather more native or rather more Spanish. There was lots of lesser celandine and chickweed, but only one coltsfoot and just a few common dog-violets. 

A sharp-eyed person spotted the flowering part of lords-and-ladies, which looks like a crayon and was in fact what she had used it for as a child. And we compared various leaves – dock with wild garlic, meadow buttercup with creeping buttercup, and nettle with red deadnettle, white deadnettle and black horehound (the latter has a curious smell when pressed).

These walks were so popular that an extra walk was led by Stephen at the other end of the park in the Nature Conservation Area. A list of wild flowers and trees flowering on that walk. Seen at the end of the walk was a young oak apple..... (a type of gall)

History walks, Dec 2020 

Chapter 8 - ponds, pools and reservoirs was the theme for the fully subscribed History Walks.  The weather held and the small group could be shown locations important in the past.... A few extra historical facts about the watery part of the park, not included in A History of Alexandra Park.

Picture shows a corner of the old Swimming Pool by the reservoir.

Members' Walk - History 5th October 

In spite of the inclement weather, Gordon led two history walks based on Chapter 7 of the new book. We found out about the Blandford (Banqueting) Hall history and how fire put an end to it in 1971. Other topics included the building of airships and their test flying from the park during the early of the 20th Century. Much more information to be found in our new history book....

September Members' Walk - Trees 

The Friends re-launched their walks programme with a series of 5 Tree Walks with numbers strickly limited to 6 including the walk leader.

The subject of the walks was "6 favourite trees". The participants could take their pick from trees in The Grove or the Western Arboretum.

Trees chosen was frequently were the Swamp Cypress, Caucasian Wingnut and Cork Oak.

Pictured trees are the Dawn Redwood also often chosen.

Early March Members' Walk: New Trees in the Park 

Meeting at the Newland Road entrance, a hardy group of about ten of us congregated to inspect the trees that have been planted in the park this Winter season.

After explaining where (and why) there were oaks planted along the southern boundary, we walked North to look at a group of three trees planted just to the left of the tarmac path. Older oak and beech were mentioned, but these went in (in 2014) after the path was upgraded.

The three trees newly planted were River Birch, Red Maple and Swamp Cypress (left) and are aimed to help screen the rest of the park from new developments.

After a longish walk and some heavy rain, we found ourselves beside the Pitch and Putt where Indian Horse-chestnuts have been planted to replace lost Horse-chestnut in this line of trees. The new species are more resistant to pests and diseases.

After mentioning Small-leaved Limes and small Oaks planted further North, we continued our walk to the South Slope. There we stopped by an Atlantic Cedar and a trio of Scots Pines - planted to replace a lost tree and to match in with trees previously planted.

We missed out Quince and Elm planted by and in the Redston Field (time pressures).

Continuing West into the Western Arboretum, we encountered the newly planted Coastal Redwood - this completes the trio of redwoods in the park. We already have Giant Redwoods and Dawn Redwoods.

The next tree to spot was the Persian Ironwood planted by the crocuses near Alexandra Palace Way replacing an earlier Silver Birch.

Crossing into The Grove, we looked at the Lime Avenue where missing trees have been filled in with Small-leaved Limes before stepping into an old holly stand which now contains a Liquidambar. Picture shows one of the Limes being planted. This site marked the place of a previous bandstand.

Crossing the path, we came to a deciduous conifer, the Golden Larch - looking forward to seeing some nice colour. Nearby is a Japanese Red Cedar.

We finished our walk by popping our heads into the Railway Orchard and indicating two new trees a Mirabelle 'Golden Sphere' and a Damson 'Merryweather'. Time for a cup of tea and biscuits in the Park Visitor Centre.

Trees planted.


January Members' Walk 

Green in the Blandford Hall area was the theme of this month's walk. The idea was to walk up through the woodland area above Alexandra Palace Way and look to see what has green leaves this time of year.

We came across two large specimen trees, a Cedar of Lebanon and a Monkey Puzzle tree (left) which were quite a surprise to find for some of us. A lot of Holm Oak - "a Mediterranean invader" - was seen as was Holly and Yew. Shrubs included Buddleia and Garden Privet.

The only tree to be flowering was the holly with its male and female flowers on separate trees. A Herb Robert flower was also spotted, but in this generally shady area, early flowering is not expected. 

One of the more odd sightings was a small Yucca plant keeping going in a shady area...

Reports were heard of a Red Admiral butterfly seen in the area the day before. Unfortunately were not met with a sighting on this day.

A full list of the green leaves identified can be found here. (in approximate order in which they were seen)

Members' Walk and Social

We took our normal seasonal stroll around The Grove hearing about work in the spinney opposite the Park Visitor Centre including a new pond. Also new trees are being planted in the park with help of the Mayor's Fund including a Japanese Red Cedar in The Grove. 

After the short walk, we retired to the Park Visitor Centre for some festive mulled wine and mince pies.

November Members' Walk 

The intermittent drizzle didn't dissuade a group of Friends from meeting up to show each other some of their favourite places in the Park.

We admired a walk where one Friend friend's ashes were scattered and stood and admired views from different places in the Park. A small deviation took us to inspect a memorial tree planted 20 years ago to commemorate a local musician before coming to the balloon tether (picture) where one Friend related her grandmother's experience of stirring liquorice in the old Barretts factory while bothered by wasps. 

We touched the Cork Oak below the Palm Court before finishing in The Grove where we compared a painting done by one of our members to the actual view.

Tea and Coffee followed at The Grove Cafe.

October Members' Walk - Seeds and Berries 

Four of us braved the rain to look at the seeds and berries in the Park. We looked at plants which wind and insect pollination and those that use wind or mammals to distribute their seeds.

At the Gas Hut meeting place we contrasted the samaras of Field Maple (quite straight) and Sycamore (V shaped) before looking at those of the Ash.

Also nearby we looked at the drupes of the Guelder Rose (red) and Dogwood (black). 

Walking along the Lower Path, we stopped to admire some Wild Carrot and Bristly Oxtongue before rounding on some Teasel. This was striking as there were seeds sprouting in the seed heads. Picture from elsewhere.

We looked at blackberry and rose hips - both of which can be used by man, mammal and birds. We saw acorns which are often spread by Jays which bury them as a Winter store and don't retrieve them all leaving some to germinate.

Ending the Butterfly Meadow, we looked Alder "cones" and found some small seeds inside. By this time the rain was very hard and the walk ended amicably.

Members' Nature Walk - August 

Note all the butterfly picture and a few of the other links not taken in this area (, but all pictures from the park).

After the wild wind of Saturday, things had calmed down considerably for our walk. Starting by the Gas Hut, we had a look at some Knopper Galls on an Oak tree (after an embarrassingly long search) explaining about the gall wasps that form them.

Next was a parasitic flower, the Ivy Broomrape, which has no leaves and takes nutrients from the Ivy.

We walked towards the Nature Pond looking at Guelder Rose (inedible) and Dogwood Berries (poisonous) as well as Great Willowherb and, from a distance, the first dogwood leaves colouring for Autumn.

As to butterflies, we spotted quite a few including Common BlueGatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood and Red Admiral (the latter being quite tatty).

Other nice spots were a ?Common Blue? Damselfly (pic by Tony Jakeman) and two types of dragonfly, the Common Darter (left pic also by Tony Jakeman) and Southern Hawker. In the woods, we saw the effects of Ash Die-Back and further flowers including Hoary Ragwort, Russian Comfrey and Spear Thistle.

Exiting the woods, we walked alongside the lower road and looked at few more flowers including Common Fleabane and a first time for Wild Carrot

Members' Walk - June: A look from Park and Palace 

Awful weather over the last few days and and gentle drizzle for the time of the walk itself so no surprise that we were just three.

Had a look to see what could be seen from the Rose Garden. Broadwater Farm and buildings in Stratford were all visible with the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium looking dominant to the East from the top of the steps.

We moved up to the terrace to get a good look at the protected view of St. Pauls. For all of these buildings, we were very lucky to have Tony with us who brought his Scope (birdwatching telescope).

We could see lots of progress on the various new builds visible at Tottenham Hale and on Seven Sisters road with the Altitude development by Hornsey Station looking quite complete.

Woodberry Down buildings stand out by the new wetlands area and we spotted the buildings in the Stratford area.

Poor visibility made the Canary Wharf area look dull in the gloom. 

We continued the tour of the horizon with the new buildings in the City and the Elephant and Castle area.

Visible on the horizon to the left of the city was the new City North construction going up in Finsbury Park.

Other sights seen were the London Eye and the Royal London Hospital.

Looking closer to home it is very difficult to spot Crouch End Clock Tower, but thanks again to the Scope...

We all adjourned to the Phoenix to warm up and escape the weather surrounded by Madonna fans ready for here interview in the Theatre.

DISCLAIMER All the pictures were taken the following evening.

March Members Walk: Our Watery Neighbours 

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.

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.

Members' Walk: Winter Trees - Feb 2019 

Starting in the Park Visitor Centre with an eight minute talk on trees, Winter and what we can see in the Park, our group ventured outside to see what we could see....

One of the Winter ID tricks was looking at the bare twigs and seeing if the buds are in opposite pairs up the stem or not. Most are not (they are on alternating sides), however, ash, horse chestnut and maples are "opposite" and this can be could clue to Winter tree ID. The ash has noticeably black buds and the horse chestnut large sticky buds. So a ID of the Horse Chestnut outside the PVC and the ash tree further down was successfully made.

One effect this time of year is the early emergence of leaves on young and very young trees. We saw, opposite the PVC, the lines of recently planted hedge shrubs/trees and some of the hawthorns were coming into leaf well before their more mature cousins elsewhere in the Park. 

Walking on to look at some Redwood trees first we spied the three Dawn Redwoods by Alexandra Palace Way which are one of a small group of deciduous conifers (those that lose their leaves in the Winter). The most well-known of this group being the Larch of which we have 0 examples in our Park.

The Giant Redwood (evergreen) further along had kindly dropped some cones on the floor and we were able to spot the characteristic "lips" on those cones. (First picture taken here.)

We passed by the small Monkey Puzzle Tree before walking down to inspect the poplars (white and aspen) that will soon be putting on an early Spring display.

From the Lower Path, we energetically climbed the hill, admiring flowering hazel and spotting the difference between Oriental and London Plane trees - the former has commonly 3 fruit balls dangling whereas the latter has usually just one or two.

Up top the Cornelian Cherry was just starting to open its yellow flowers and we finished by the Purple Plums below the BBC tower which are breaking into flower. (second picture)

Friends December Members' Walk and Christmas Social 

The December Members' Walk was started in drizzle from the Park Visitor Centre (PVC) in The Grove. We looked at the new sparrow and butterfly boxes and examined the progress of the new hedge to protect the snowdrops opposite the PVC. 

Picture left is actually a nuthatch checking out the sparrow box.

Then we took a muddy detour into the Railway Field Orchard and admired Jenny's new signage telling visitors precisely what fruit had been planted in the orchard.

We saw a few wildflowers out including Dandelion, Daisy and Chickweed as well as Annual Meadow Grass.

Looking at a couple of dioecious trees (those that have separate male and female trees) - the yew and the holly we managed to find their red berries.

Passing by Ciro's (The Grove Cafe) to admire flowering Rosemary, olives on the Olive Tree and flower buds on the Bay Tree we moved westwards before turning left at the top. 

By the 345 playgroup we saw both flowering Ivy and Fatsia japonica (False Castor Oil plant) and noticed the flowers were very similar - they are in the same plant family.

A look at the newly discovered Strawberry trees with their heather-like flowers (left) seemed to encourage the heavens to open....

So after looking at a flowering Hebe, and mentioning her role as cup bearer to the gods before being supplanted by Ganymede, we retired to the PVC for well-deserved mulled wine and mince pies.

An enthusiastic social gathering of about 30 of us nearly polished off all the mince pies and left only the dregs of the mulled wine.

The Park Visitor had been beautifully decorated by Frances and Jane and was much admired.

Members' Walk: Sport in the Park 

We were taken on tour of the Park to look the various sports that have taken place over the 150 plus years of the Park.

With a sheet illustrating many examples of the sports with pictures taken from the Google Arts and Culture Archive we discussed many sports. You can look at it here.

We met under the BBC Tower before walking to the Upper Field where we heard about the bowls that took place in what is now the Pavilion Car Park and Boxing before hearing how first the Crouch End Vampires followed by the Alexandra Park Football Club took up residence. (They had an old railway carriage as their Club House).

Walking up to the site of the old dry ski slope, one of our members gave us a first hand account of learning to ski there and hard, unforgiving surface. (top picture)

Next stop was the Blandford area and the site of two tennis courts in the 1930s. (left)

We strolled down from our vantage point to the old racecourse area to hear of the sport that was important in the Park right up until the 1970s.

Members' Walk: Plant Galls 

With this niche subject matter, it was a pleasant surprise to see a dozen or so people come on the walk (although the amazing balmy weather may have had a little to do with it).

We looked first at Pear Rust in the Railway orchard - orange colouration on one side and a strange growth on the other, a gall caused by a fungus. The party then moved off to leave The Grove and cross Alexandra Palace Way.

We observed a gall on the ash keys of a Golden Ash which were caused by mite and then proceeded to look at the first of many galls on oak all caused by gall wasps, the first was a spangle gall on the leaves.

Some of the other galls seen on oak leaves were oyster galls, smooth spangle galls and silk button galls.

Galls seen on oak buds were artichoke gall, cola-nut gall and marble gall.

Gall on the acorn was found knopper gall and one on the acorn cup caused by Andricus grossulariae.

Away from the oaks, there was a mite gall caused by Aceria macrochela on Field Maple and one caused by a midge, Iteomyia capreae on a willow.

We finished the walk looking at a couple of mite galls on a willow on the South Slope. The willow red bean gall and one caused by Aceria tetanothrix.

After the official end, we passed by a Silver Maple and saw the mite galls pictured left.

A special thank you to Kate who spotted the marble galls...

A list of the galls found and a little extra information can be found via this link.

Pictures of plant galls from the park can be found here.

A great little article on plant galls from Trees for life here.

Members' Walk: Arson or Accident? 

The sunny weather brought out a large number (14) of members meeting up at the BBC Tower. The theme was buildings that have disappeared whether by fire or accident.

Gordon gave out a sheet listing most? of the buildings that have gone from the park and reasons for their disappearance.

We took a walk to the Boating Lake to discuss old buildings there (in the playground for example) together with the circus which was in what is now Valance Road.

To the Upper Field and discussion of an old railway carriage that used to be used by footballers (fire) and the site of the Airship Hanger.

Stretching our legs towards the Blandford Hall area, we heard about the building that pre-dated the Park and burnt down in 1971. (pictured left) 

We continued down towards the Lower Road where we heard about old buildings in the Nature Conservation Area before passing the Butterfly Meadow and walking down onto the old Racecourse.

Once on the Racecourse, we heard about the buildings along the course as well as the old Cricket Clubhouse and associated buildings - fire again played a serious role.....

We finished there in the sunshine.

Anyone having any additional information on the fate of buildings in the Park, please email us! 

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 Meadow.

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.

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 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 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.

Wild Flowers seen

Reports on previous Members Walks.

May Members Walk: The Old Racecourse 

On a pleasant evening, we met up by the Farmers' Market to trace the old racecourse. Gordon showed us old maps of the area and pointed out where the Paddocks and ring were before walking to a position by the finishing line where the Grandstand used to dominate.

We saw pictures of the racecourse and its grandstand in its pomp...

Continuing towards the cricket pitch the route of the course was pointed out where it went around the pitch. We were told how long the racecourse had lasted (1868 to 1970) and the reasons for it closing (mostly safety - corners too tight with adverse camber).

We finished near the 5 furlong start point before a few of adjourned to the Starting Gate which has itself an interesting collection of Horse Racing Memorabilia.

Some information on the Race Course here on the Harringay Online website.

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.

October Members' Walk 

We stuck to our time! A one hour walk around the Boating Lake to look at the birds on it and a few around it.

Brian accompanied us for the walk (Lesley Ramm's recording). 

What did we see? (picture by Nick Bryant)

Four species of duck, our resident Mallards, Tufted Ducks and Pochards together with - newly arrived for Winter - Shoveler duck (below).

This was perhaps the highlight as they had only been reported for the first time yesterday by one of the avid birders Bob Watts.

We looked at probably the hardest ID question - the difference between the female Pochards and female Tufted ducks. The males of these birds are much easier to identify.

We also contrasted the Moorhens and Coots.

There were Herring Gulls and Cormorants near the middle island, but all around the lake were Black Headed Gulls - not so black headed in their Winter plumage.

Canada Geese tracked us around and both Feral and Wood Pigeons were clearing up around the lake.

September Members Walk 

A welcome big turnout for this month walk with 15 Members gathering in The Grove.

The theme for this month's Members Walk was Boundary Oaks. Meeting up at the Park Information Centre, where many old maps are kept, we inspected them for traces of old field lines where we might find oaks predating the set up of the Park.

We started looking in The Grove where there are probably the oldest trees in the Park including the fenced off oak familiar to many visitors. (pictured)

We then moved to look at trees by the edge of the allotmentswhich may may be old enough to have been there before the Park as well as a line on the edge of the road leading into the Garden Centre.

Crossing the road there is another old oak a candidate for being prior to the park.

We walked around the Palace and ending up below the Rose Garden and seeing another line of oaks. These are probably old enough to have been present before the Park was set up. Some of these oaks have been fenced off as they have recently been dropping some limbs. 

A final line of trees was in fact the most certain to be examples of trees present before the park. This line extends from the woodland near where the old Blandford Hall was across Alexandra Palace Way and to below the Lower Road. One of these trees fell down in February 2014 and its rings were counted. The number added up to just over 200 meaning that the tree was over 200 years old and was already 50 years old when the Park was founded.

The last tree in the line and on the walk was within the Nature Conservation Area. (pictured left)

More pictures from the walk.

Members August Nature Walk 

Armed with nets, books and a trolley, we met at the Newland Road entrance.

At the entrance we saw one of Oak trees infested with Oak Processionary Moth. The nest and stripped leaves (with midribs left) were pointed out. The offending creatures will be removed by August 15th.

We saw a few butterflies including a Gatekeeper that was temporarily netted.

The highlight of this part of the walk was definitely the Wasp Spider sitting in her web. (pictured left)

These spiders have spread into the country from the continent.

Then in a Grey Willow we found a large group of Buff tip moth caterpillars much more brightly coloured than their adult form.

A theme then developed of pointing out galls, we had previously spotted a thistle gall and then we came across several examples of Robin's Pin Cushion on a Rose near the reservoir.

On Oak Trees we saw Knopper, Marble, Artichoke, Spangle, Silk Button and Ram's Horn galls showing the diversity of wildlife that depends on our native oaks.

It was fruiting season for many trees and shrubs and we looked the "berries" of Dogwood, Rose, Hawthorn and Guelder Rose.

The second picture (left) shows us searching in the long grass....

A nice stroll up towards to the Bedford Road entrance giving a nice indication of the flora and fauna that the Park has to offer.

July Members Walk

Rain did not discourage all our Members from taking a stroll around the Park that isn't anymore...

In the late 19th Century a large section of the Park to the North of the Palace was sold off for development and this walk had the idea of tracing what was there in the past and what is there now.

A pleasant wander (ignoring the rain) was had by all.

June Members Walk: View from the Terrace 

This is our shortest walk.... in 1 hour we manage to get from the BBC Tower all the way to the Palm Court.

This time we had a look at a couple of sites that have lost Gasholders and a few more new developments as well pointing out the landmarks from the terrace trying to keep pace with the buildings as they were lit up by the sun.....

Members Walk May 2017 

What If...there was serious money to make some improvements in the park? This was the subject for the May Members Walk.

Should the Park be more like a Theme Park or more like Hampstead Heath?

We discussed the possibilities of a big new playground like the one in Victoria Park? A mountain bike track? Toilets in the park? More paved paths, perhaps with lighting? An urban farm?*

There is no money at present for new developments in the Park, but in the future with a real possibility of another bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund later this year. What should be the priorities?

Toilets on a larger cafe in the Grove was suggested and had majority support. More hard surfaces? Some people want to see a lot more, some none. Most seemed to like the idea of a proper hard surface between North View Road and the Lower Path.

It was also mentioned that no further Circuses are taking place at the Fairground Car Park.

The effect on the Park of an increase in income-generating activities was discussed and they should be progressed.

The free re-broadcast of the Royal Opera House's production of Turendot on the South Slope was another point of interest.

*None of these are proposals - just a few ideas which have been floated at various times.

Members Spring Tree Walk 2017 

People arrived early for our Spring Tree Walk, but were not allowed to relax! There was a table full of leaves to identify. Some easy - Horsechestnut, Holly, Oak... some harder Rowan, Field Maple, Sycamore and some quite fiendish young London Plane tree, Amur Maple, Manna Ash.

April was a good month for a Spring Tree Walk with the Horse chestnuts putting on a great show with their white candelabras. It was pointed out that the flowers start off with a yellow centre before changing via orange to a red colour when fertilised.

We looked at a colourful gall on English Elm in The Grove (might be first British sighting).

We have two native oaks the Sessile (acorns with no stalks, leaves with stalks) and Pendunculate or English (acorns with stalks, leaves with virtually no stalks) and we contrasted the two.

The walk meandered around The Grove passing by a Norway Maple cultivar with a beautiful contrast between its red leaves and yellow flowers (pictured).

The walk finished in Western Arboretum with a look at some different Ash Trees, the Dawn Redwoods, Hornbeam, Cappodacian Maple seedlings and terminating with the favourite Cork Oak below the Palm Court.

March Members Walk 

On the hunt for wild flowers by the Bedford Road entrance.... Too late for crocuses and snowdrops (still to be seen in The Grove).

What did we see then? Lesser Celandine coming to its peak. Colts Foot, Shepherds Purse and a great favourite the Primrose. To add to flowers on flowers, we also saw flowers on trees Ash Tree, Wych Elm and male and female Goat Willow flowers.

Photo shows people studying the white Sweet Violet flowers. 

Friends February Members Walk 2017 

A surprisingly large group braved the very cold weather on February 11th for the members’ walk during which Gordon pointed out the layout of the racecourse, the position of its various starts and finish line, and of the grandstand and paddock (not surprisingly where the Paddock car park now stands). 

Unfortunately no physical evidence remains of any of these features but amusing quotes from the newspapers of the time provided some insights into the nature of the crowds that attended the races: this was no Epsom or Ascot. The management of the racecourse did not help matters with a small misprint on their adverts: “N.B. The company reserve the right of refusing admission to any person they think proper.”

Friends January Members Walk 2017 

The weather forecast was terrible on Saturday.  The weather forecast was terrible on Sunday. The actual weather itself was similar so a very small, elite and determined group set off from the Park Information to see what was in flower this time of year and to get an update on the Park. 

It was good to see snowdrops poking their heads above the soil by the Park Information Centre so flowering will be soon. 

Our walk took us towards the Palace where we saw the newly re-branded Phoenix-Bar and Kitchen then via the Rose Garden to the Boating Lake. Here we looked at some the ducks and geese etc. before adjourning to the cafe where two thirds of the company enjoyed a warming drink. 

We saw in flower: Garya elliptica, Skimmia, Hazel, Yarrow, Daisy (both native and garden varieties), honeysuckle (pictured), several types of Viburnum and Witch Hazel.

In the cafe we were lucky to bump into our Bird Walk leader, Gareth, who updated us on birds seen recently in the park including a large flock of redwings.

Friends December Members Walk 2016 

Our traditional December Members' Walk around The Grove was extremely well attended with a look at how things at this time of Winter. 

The attraction of the Mulled Wine and Mince Pies afterwards was obviously too much to resist and thirty odd people joined us in nicely, seasonally, decorated Park Information Centre.

This is becoming quite a tradition. Next year we will have to lay in more of the mulled wine.....

Members Walk: A View of London October 2016 

A cloudy start, but sunshine gained force for this strenuous one hour walk from the BBC Tower to the Palm Court.

Many buildings were pointed out, identified and discussed by a group of about a dozen members.

Several new towers present in the scenery including One, The Elephant and the Lexicon Tower.

Following from the month's quiz, it was pointed that the terrace faces Southeast, but that is always difficult to take in. (We naturally think it faces South.)

Visibility wasn't best, but we managed spot most the major tall buildings and boredom was minimal....

Picture by Gordon Hutchinson

Members' Walk, September 2016 

Transport of all types was the subject of this month's walk. From practical trains, buses and trams to the launch of the Sinclair C5......

We saw where trams originally finished where Airships were built and where people could dice with death on a Switchback.

There was even Sam Cody with his Man-carrying Kite not to mention the exploits of Thomas Baldwin and Dolly Shepherd with Balloons and Parachutes.

We discovered that we have had many different forms of transport in the Park and even had the opportunity to see Segways parading.

For excitement recently there have been two Red Bull Soapbox Derbys flying down the hill.

Bicycles - motorcycles all have made an appearance and do you remember the Dry Ski Slope? 

Members' Walk, August 2016

We spent our hour looking at lots of aspects of Nature and the Environment in the Butterfly Meadow. Firstly examining a strange looking plant gall, the Knopper Gall caused by a small wasp on English Oak. For wild flowers, we looked at the tall spikes of Rosebay Willowherb as well as Great Willowherb. These together with Ragwort were the main nectar providers for the insects at this point of the year.

The group also saw plenty of different trees on the edge of the area as well as saplings trying to push up in the middle of the meadow. Oak, Hornbeam, Goat and Grey Willow, Field Maple and Norway Maple were among the many trees seen.

Although the butterflies were not out and about, we were able to see Parent Bugs (a type of Shield Bug) who look after their young all over the only Alder tree in the area. At this time they were sitting on eggs

What else is special about this area? Yellow Meadow Ants create Ant Hills which in turn provide food for birds like the Green Woodpecker.

Members' Wild Flower Walk, July 2016 

A lot of people turned up for this walk so maybe it was not such a good experience for those who came....

We followed a route along the Lower Road with participants trying to find any wild flowers actually in flower.

They were given a list of what might be seen, but with no illustrations. Some attendees were beginners and some more expert than the person leading the walk, but most seemed spot some of the flowers along the route.

Lots of small flowers, but among the larger, more spectacular ones were Rosebay Willowherb, Mallow and Bristly Ox-Tongue.

The list grouped the flowers by family to try show what similar flowers have in common. e.g. Knapweed flower looks like Thistle flower.

The last plant seen was a Red Campion (pictured). 

Thanks to all that came along and makes us think that maybe a Beginners Wild Flower Walk might be a good idea....

Will add a list of the Wild Flowers seen soon.....

Other Wild Flower activities

May 2016 Members Walk Anyone for Tennis?

Inspired by maps from the mid 1930s showing more than 10 Tennis Courts, Gordon led us around the Park looking at what is now present in those places in the Park.

A lovely balmy evening for a quick walk around our Green Space. 

We started in The Grove and The Grove Car Park was indeed the site for Tennis Courts. While descending towards the Muswell Hill exit, we were told that there used to Courts just to the left of Alexandra Palace Way.

Continuing along the bottom the Park with the sun slowly descending we walked towards the Alexandra Park Club which had Tennis Courts in various position.

We then walked up to the Bedford Road entrance and up towards the Rose Garden and found out that Courts used to be set up by the Bunker.

Our final stop for Tennis was by the Boating Lake before some of us slated our thirsts in the Phoenix....

Pictures shows us consulting old maps just below the Cricket Pitch

Members' Walk, April 2016

We had an interesting time looking at some of the places in the Park associated with events and activities which have involved getting off the ground from balloons, man-carrying kites and an airship to BMX free-stylers and tree climbing. 

March 2016 Members Walk 

Splendid Spring weather for our Early Spring Wild Flower Walk. About 20 enthusiasts of all ages gathered by the Gas Hut to start our walk.

We were given a list of the plants to spot and pictures to help us, but the sneaky thing was that the pictures didn't have the names on.

Walk participants were asked to spot flowers as we walked around a small circuit of the Park. One of the youngsters spotted a Dandelion and we were up and running. Quickly Field Speedwell was ticked off along with Red Dead-Nettle before we had gone more than a few paces. 

On right of the Lower Road, we ticked off Shepherds Purse, Groundsel, Lesser Celandine, Daisy and Cow Parsley and on the left we observed a nice bunch of Primroses.

Walking further along, we came across a small euphorbia called Petty Spurge then we took the steps down towards the Alexandra Park Club. Turning left at the bottom along the old racecourse the group were enjoying the stroll so much that they walked straight past a nice little surprise of some Snowdrops still in flower. A little further along was one last minute female hazel flower.

Turning right along the new path we saw Blackthorn flowering, assuring us of sloes to come, before coming across a nice bunch of Colts Foot growing near the water. A Hawthorn next to it was pointed out which had been flowering since late January.

We reversed past the Nature Pond, and just managed to see one or two Goat Willow flowering and making their common name of pussy willow very evident.

Back at top the leader forgot to point out the White Dead-Nettle (shame). 

We then finished by taking our lives in our hands and crossing Alexandra Palace Way. Just over the road is a warm, South facing, grassy slope where we saw the last group of flowers - Scentless Mayweed, Common Chickweed, Sticky Mouse-Ear and Common Whitlow Grass together with Gorse with its vibrant yellow flowers.

Pictures 1, Pictures 2 and list given out on walk

January 2016 Members Walk 

After doing a Members Walk eighteen months ago in the Summer around the Boating Lake, we decided to repeat the walk at Winter time hoping to see something different and taking advantage of the Big Garden Birdwatch weekend.

A small (half a dozen) band of members took the stroll and checked the differences between our three year-long resident ducks (Mallard, Tufted and Pochard) and our Winter visiting Shoveler. All four species have very different looking males and females. It was good to see the Shovelers (male and female pictured) doing their party piece circling

After help from the RSPB members, we were able to show off the difference between the three different species of gulls present on the lake - black-headed, herring and common.

It was good to see several people using the proper bird seed bought from the Boating Lake Cafe (£1) to feed birds rather than bread. 

October 2015 Members Walk 

On a drizzly, autumnal day we met up in the Information Centre to look over old maps of the Park and especially The Grove.

We examined a few features including the old bandstand on the map and then went out into the field to try and locate them - not always easy. We also looked at old pictures and tried to decide from where they were taken.

Back to the Centre for a well-earned cuppa and biscuits.

September 2015 Members Walk 

The September Members walk attracted a good crowd of Friends to walk around the boundary of the Park.

We passed along the new path and planting from Newland Road to the Bedford Road entrance. Also we saw TCV building a new section of Insect Hotel and admired the Pluteus aurantiorugosus fungus.

We continued around the boundary and back to the Park Information Centre for welcome refreshments.

June 2015 Members Walk 

We decided to have a look at a whole load of different trees that can found between the Park Information Centre and the first part the South Terrace.

As a intro., we looked at leaves from 10 species found in The Grove all of which can be found in the wild, however, 5 were true natives and 5 later arrivals. Do you know which is which?

Horse and Sweet Chestnut, English Oak, Yew, English Ash, Holm Oak, Norway Maple, Sycamore, Hornbeam and Beech. 

So on a warm evening we spotted over 35 different species of tree. There were even six different species of Oak! (English, Sessile, Turkey, Holm, Turners and Cork). Though everybody's favourite seems to be the Cork Oak found just below Alexandra Palace Way near the bus stop. You have to just run your hands over it. (pic from a previous Tree Walk) Link to Trees seen on the walk.

These monthly walks are FREE and open to all members of the Friends of Alexandra Park. 

May 2015 Members Walk 

On same day as last year, we held a Wildflower walk starting form the Park Information Centre.

We had a pre-prepared list of wild flowers to find on the walk and enjoyed ticking them off as they were found.

This time, instead of walking around The Grove we went down to the Paddock Car Park. The edge of the car park was especially good for producing a number of wild flowers that enjoyed the poor soil and habitat edge.

We spotted several plants not on our list including salsify and the small flowers of cleavers.

This link takes you to a list of wild flowers seen in flower on the walk.

April 2015 Members Walk 

Exploring the Park that no longer exists...

After meeting Alexandra Park Library close to old main entrance to Park, Gordon took us on a short stroll up Rhodes Avenue to admire the portico of the original Tottenham Wood Farm part of whose land was sold to form Alexandra Park.

The house was subsequently used as the Club House for Muswell Hill Golf Club before being demolished with the exception of the portico still standing in the grounds of Rhodes Avenue Primary School. A kind lady from across the road came out and showed us a picture of the original farmhouse.

After this excitement we walked up The Avenue towards the Palace imagining how it used to be and comparing the different architectural styles. We visited the site of the old permanent circus before finishing up by CUFOS whence we retired for a well-earned cup of tea.

March 2015 Members Walk 

This event was programmed to be an opportunity to admire and identify the view from the Terrace. (pic taken on different occasion!)

In order to improve the experience, we were blessed with a cold weather with a chilling wind and severely reduced visibility. 

Half a dozen determined members still turned up.

There was a mini quiz on the evolution of the highest building record holders in London. (Robert won!)

Then we concentrated on looking at some of the closer buildings to the Park with confirmation via binoculars. Spurs football ground, Hornsey Town Hall, the New River Pumping Station and Wood Green Crown Court were examples of "spots".

We hope to repeat this walk on sunny, warm, clear day.

To see some pictures on building etc. identified from the terrace click here.

February 2015 Members Walk 

We met under the tall spire of the BBC Tower on a sunny Sunday morning. We strolled down towards the Bedford Road entrance where we encountered volunteers from TCV cutting-back bramble.

Their leader, Jack Newman, explained the work of the volunteers and then gave us a dramatic demonstration of tree-felling in an area below the lower path. It was textbook stuff with the sycamore falling in just the right direction. (no humans were hurt in this demonstration) 

Two members of the public engaged in a lively discussion of the "correct" management of the Park.

The group returned up the hill to the Boating Lake Cafe where the hard core enjoyed a well-deserved cup of tea.

July 2014 Members Walk 

On a lovely warm Summer's evening we had a Members Walk aiming to walk along a good portion of the boundary of Alexandra Park. 

Along the walk we admired a stegosaurus and found the old Sea Scouts area. We heard about and saw the top of the Park's very own Nuclear Bunker. There were about a dozen of us and Siri and we were in time to see some of the original graffiti being finished (picture) and had an enlightening discussion with the artist.

We finished on the terrace of the Bar and Kitchen where we enjoyed well-deserved refreshments.

June 2014 Members Walk 

Rain greeted a dozen members for our June stroll. We sheltered under the Boating Cafe roof while some of the birds of the Boating Lake were pointed out. Some are dramatic and easy to spot (usually male ducks) and some not so.....

There were young Canada Geese to be seen as well as a Dabchick chick (or should that be a Little little grebe). The rain stopped and it became pleasant as we meandered around the Boating Lake. We also had the chance to contrast the feet of the coot (pictured) and moorhen.  

The highlight for many was to see a cormorant fishing then flying off after making a circuit of the lake. We were provided with a guide sheet to tick off some of the birds to be seen.... (we saw all those not in italics.

May 2014 Members' Walk 

We had our fourth members' walk on the evening of Thursday, 15th May in The Grove.

We started with a patch of mauve honesty by the railway bridge at the Dukes Avenue entrance.

The largest and most impressive Spring flowers out was Queen Anne's Lace (Cow Parsley) with its delicate white flowers swathing wild areas of The Grove. 

This was contrasted with similarly flowered, but with more thuggish leaves of the Hogweed. 

Three different types of speedwell were observed as well as the green alkanet (which is blue).

The walk was well attended with about 15 people joining us and some us adjourned for a pleasant drink on a clear evening on the terrace of the Bar and Kitchen.

A list of the wildflowers seen on the walk and links to pictures taken of each one in Alexandra Park.

April 2014  Members’ Walk

The April members’ walk focused on the eastern edge of the Park and there were a few surprises in store.  First was the 20 metre Stegosaurus which has appeared in the playground of Dinosaurs Playgroup by the Newlands Road entrance in the south east corner of the Park. Gordon explained that the Trust is now re-established as the owner of the Playgroup land and building, and hoped to open the playground up to the public at weekends.  Gordon also sketched out the work which will take place this summer to improve the Newlands entrance and the path through to Bedford Road and related a little of the saga of the water leaks from Thames Water mains and other mysterious sources.

Next surprise for some was their first sight of the remains of the Lido, in the woods between the racecourse and the reservoir.  Only the edging is visible but this can be followed for the full 50 metres length. Margaret Scholes, who is researching the history of the Park, was able to tell us that there were reports of swimming events in the Lido up to the 1930s.

At the Bedford Road end of the path from Newlands, Gordon showed the plans for opening up the area around the path to make it more inviting, and providing bollards along the road to make an obvious pedestrian route into the Park.

March 2014 Members’ Walk

About a dozen of us strolled along the Terrace admiring the view with Stephen putting a name to many of the sights spread out in front of us before ending up at the Park Information Centre for a well-earned coffee. 

February 2014 Members’ Walk

Our first Members’ Walk attracted over 30 of you plus two dogs for a really enjoyable stroll around the Park on a gloriously sunny day. We started at the Totem Pole and meandered via the butterfly meadow to end up at the Park Information Centre.


Topics covered during the walk included the Totem Pole; the forthcoming spring clean-up (see below)  and butterfly meadow clearing; a bit of the history of the Alexandra Park Football Club, its drainage problems both historic and recent, and the latest drainage work on the pitches;  plus a brief summary of the plans for the Palace.


Around 20 members stayed on at the Information Centre for coffee and biscuits, and it was evident that for many this was their first visit.

Information about future Members’ Walks will appear in our monthly newsletters.