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.
Our normal activities include:
2022 Calendar and Fireworks
Email your photos, paintings and drawing of views, events and wildlife in the park for next year’s calendar to firstname.lastname@example.org. They need to be landscape format so that they display nicely on the upper calendar page. Deadline 15th October
Members' Nature Walk
Animals of all sizes in the Park in autumn. Details will be emailed out to members.
Conservation Work Party
Sorry this session has been cancelled. Hope to see you next month on Tuesday, 23rd November.
We are now well into autumn and this is our chance to cut back the brambles and seedlings of trees creeping into the Butterfly Meadow.
Art in the Park Group
Our new monthly Art in the Park group continues with local artist Katy Fattuhi on Thursday, 21st October.
The sessions are free, but you do need to book a place:
When you have booked we will let you know where we are meeting and can inform you of any last minute changes due to the weather.
Bring your own materials - you may want to draw or paint, or you may like to do some photography or sewing - whatever you fancy! Please bring what you think you will need. (Some basic materials can be provided - please enquire about this when booking if required).
Bring something to sit on - a fold up chair or a mat. If you would like to book a place or find out more please email email@example.com
Each month we will meet in a different part of the park and notice what is happening in nature at that time of year.
Katy runs an art group for children in the garden at Campsbourne School and also ran a small neighbours art group for adults in the park through the Palace View Mutual Aid group in the Autumn. She is passionate about providing opportunities for people to be creative in a no pressure way and to engage with nature, for all the benefits these bring.
Autumn Tree Walk
Trees in damper areas of the Park.
According to how muddy it is underfoot - participants should be advised to wear suitable footwear.
Further information to follow.
We need your help! We are restarting litter picking in the park. (Some volunteers never stopped.) With the hot weather coming and the lockdown easing, we need some more volunteers to help litter pick in Alexandra Park.
This award celebrates the local people who rallied to help Alexandra Palace clear its historic parkland of litter during lockdown. The efforts of the volunteers were critical in helping to keep the parkland safe and clean for everyone to enjoy.
Extract from a statement from the Palace
Alexandra Park has served as a haven for millions of people throughout the pandemic, with visitor numbers nearly double what they would be in a normal year. Unfortunately a negative side effect of this has been a huge spike in litter. Overall for the period May-December 2020, 147 tonnes of rubbish were collected in the park, an increase of 45 per cent on the same time in previous years.
RECENT EVENTS IN THE PARK
Conservation Work Party - Early October
More grass cutting and removal this session. During our break for drinks and chat, we were watched over by a robin sitting in a hawthorn bush. We continue to make a great difference to the area by reducing the fertility of the soil and allowing more wildflowers to predominate in the area. The weather was kind as well.
Wildflower Walk - October
Very unlucky with the weather for our wildflower walks in September with the rain trying hard to put us off. No chance, Caroline led a morning and afternoon walk in the south eastern corner of the park. It was impressive the list of plants seen flowering as just a casual look in the park gives one the impression there is nothing much. The largest number of plants flowering were bristly ox-tongues near the cricket pavilion. The picture on the left shows some of hardy afternoon group admiring them. Next time there will be sun.
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.
Conservation Work - September
We were lucky to have a lovely warm and sunny morning for the second of our sessions cutting the grass at the western end. If you were passing last Tuesday morning, you would have seen a line of 11 of us on our hands and knees, using garden shears to take the grass almost to ground level (pictured). As usual, all the cuttings were placed on the dead hedge bordering the meadow, so that any creatures caught up in the cuttings could stay local.
Art in the Park Group - September
There were eight of us this time, including a talented budding artist of 11 years of age! The weather was very kind to us – a glorious end of summer/cusp of autumn morning with strong golden light. The atmosphere was relaxed and everyone in the group slowly eased into finding something that caught their interest, whether a fascinating cluster of tree trunks or an early sign of autumn in the form of a fallen leaf, and then delved into some drawing (or in one case photography - picture example left by Tricia). We tried out each other’s materials too, which loosened things up and was a good way to try something a bit different. We ended by gathering our work on the grass to admire the variety of what people had noticed, carefully looked at and enjoyed. After the session there was some lovely feedback: ‘Such a good combination of art, nature and fresh air’; ‘I am still smiling!’
Bat Walk - September
On a warm, calm evening, one of the best we’ve had for a bat watch, 18 people turned up to hear and see bats by the Boating Lake. They weren’t disappointed, though the bats were slow to appear, their numbers were again down on previous years and they didn’t stay for long; perhaps they have found a more insect-rich area elsewhere. Nevertheless the thrill of seeing the bats swooping low overhead and detecting the ‘shouts’ they use to echolocate their insect prey, via the clicks from bat detectors, made the wait worthwhile. As usual, only common and soprano pipistrelle bats were detected.
Band in the Grove - September
The London Metropolitan Brass Community Band made great use of our hot, late summer weather entertaining people in The Grove on Sunday. Perfect weather for great rousing tunes. Thanks again to them (and their picture!).
Conservation work in the Butterfly Meadow
Lucky with the weather, after a poor-ish spell, we had sunshine. We continued work on the west side of the meadow with a special attention to cutting leaders (long straggly bits of bramble) to stop them rooting.
Some tree reduction work took place to reduce shade coming from the Lower Path side took place.
Art in the Park Group
Sprinkles of rain early on tried to put a dampener on the first session of the new Art in the Park Group. A decision was made to transfer to the Park Visitor Centre in The Grove. Good news followed with the rain stopping so the artists moved out by the pair of yew trees in the small copse above Olympic Sculptures. The ridges of the trees proved inspirational for most of the group while a collage of leaves was also a subject to spark imagination.
Nature Walk - looking 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.
Conservation work in the Butterfly Meadow
After a cool-ish start, quite warm weather for bramble bashing! We made a good job of progress working on some encroaching bramble on the western side of the meadow. We heard parakeets, crows, two types of woodpecker whilst working. Large numbers of butterflies were seen, but they were restricted mainly to Gatekeepers and Meadow Browns. A Jersey Tiger moth also put in an appearance as well as the odd dragonfly.
Family Bug Hunt
Rebecca again led our Family Bug Hunt and inspired the children to search out their favourite invertebrates be it spiders or ladybirds. Among the finds were several species of ladybird, a ground beetle, gatekeeper butterfly, earwig, mirid bug, young green shield bug, crickets and grasshoppers as well as crab spiders. Some large moth caterpillars also drew admiration - a buff-tip and a white ermine.
The Palace has been appealing for donations, because of their almost total loss of income caused by the pandemic, and some of those donations have paid for additional John O’Conner litter clearing staff at the weekends. Please see the Alexandra Palace site if you'd like to help with a donation.
Some of the Friends normal events
Conservation Work Parties
We have been working in the Butterfly Meadow on an almost weekly basis for the last few months with limited numbers. This open space is covered in anthills of the yellow meadow ant. A great place to spot different butterflies and other wildlife. Other work parties have taken place in The Grove and by the edge of the Redston field and an annual litter pick.
Mostly taking place in the Winter and early Spring the talks focus on Nature (Butterflies, Bees, Birds etc.) with some on history and other subjects that are relevant to the Park.
We have had great talks on Bats, Trees, the New River and the old railway line that used to run up to the Palace.
Coming up when conditions allow, local resident Stuart Little will presenting elements from his film about the Park and Palace....
This will be great opportunity to see some elements of history from the early days up and until the (second) fire in 1980.
We put on a number of different Nature Walks throughout the year. Normally 2 Bird Walks a year, 2 Bat Walks, 2 Fungi Walks, 3 or 4 Tree Walks plus extra walks on an ad hoc basic such as this year's Moss and Liverwort walk. All these activities are open to all and free.
There are normally about 10 of these a year focusing on Nature (Wild Flowers, Tree Galls plus plus), History (seeing what was where) or just keeping people informed as to what's going on in the Park - these are our only Members' Only events.
The next walk (when pandemic restrictions permit) is planned to be:
Beating the Bounds: A brisk walk round the perimeter of the Park and a chance to look at what’s been happening in the Park in recent times.