Alexandra Park is a delightful mixture of informal woodland, open grassland, formal gardens and attractions such as the boating lake, cafés and the pitch-and-putt course. It covers 196 acres around Alexandra Palace in North London.

The Friends of Alexandra Park is a voluntary group that promotes the use of the Park, encourages the conservation of its wildlife and protects the Park from unwanted development.

Become a Friend here - buy our book "A History Of Alexandra Park" in our shop

Our normal activities include:

Alexandra Park is a delightful mixture of informal woodland, open grassland, formal gardens and attractions such as the boating lake, cafés and the pitch-and-putt course. It covers 196 acres around Alexandra Palace in North London.

The Friends of Alexandra Park is a voluntary group that promotes the use of the Park, encourages the conservation of its wildlife and protects the Park from unwanted development.

Become a Friend here - buy our book "A History Of Alexandra Park" in our shop

Our normal activities include:

Members' Nature Walk

Sunday 7th April 11am to Noon

A new hedge, tadpoles, cow parsley trail, giant snowdrops or maybe an oak apple tree, plus whatever we pass by. Sounds of birds and with good weather butterflies will flutter by. A seasonal look at many aspects of nature in the park with Stephen.  Meeting place will be emailed to members.

Not yet a member? Just £5/household to join here.

Early Spring Wildflower Walks

Saturday 20th April at 11am and 2:30pm

A seasonal look at the wildflowers in the park with Caroline. What will be in flower at this time?

Email to book stating number of people and what time is preferred.

Conservation Work Party in the Anthill Meadow

Thursday 25th April from 10:00am to 12:30pm

A few years ago large areas of the Ant Hill Meadow (previously called the Butterfly Meadow) had been invaded by brambles.  We have been removing the brambles and improving the margins to encourage insect and bird life. Progress has been made but there is always more to do! Do join us for this or future sessions, if you are free. No special skills required; enjoy exercise, plenty of fresh air and good conversation. Please bring gloves and a drink/snack for the break we take halfway through. We will provide tools, but bring secateurs if you have them. We work from 10 am to 12.30 pm, but come for as long as you want. Meet at the Ant Hill Meadow, or if you're not sure where that is, please email us at

Art in the Park

Thursday 25th April from 10:00am to 11:30am

Join other park lovers in a relaxed and friendly group to enjoy time spent outdoors, observing nature through drawing, painting or photography. Bring something to sit on and your own materials (though some basics are provided). The group is free and open to all, whatever your level. Watch out for an email to book in advance, or email to find out more.

Spring Fungi Walk

Saturday 27th April at 2pm

Clifford Davy will lead us around the park to look at the fungi coming up in spring -  yes, there are fungi that come up in spring. One is appropriately called the St. George's Mushroom. (St George's Day is 23rd April.) 

There are also bracket fungi that are present all year - pictured left is the Dryad's Saddle. Email to book stating number of people coming.

Spring Bird Walk

Sunday 28th April at 8am

A walk scheduled to coincide (hopefully) with returning summer migrants. Last year we recorded 45 species, including a flyover cuckoo. No booking required. Meet at the Cricket Pavilion.

Family Art in the Park

Sunday 28th April at 10:30am to 11:30am

Join Katy Fattuhi to enjoy this flower-filled time of year with some paper craft, collage and nature-spotting activities. There will be fun for all the family! Family Art in the Park sessions offer nature-based arts and crafts activities that connect children with the seasons and the natural world in Alexandra Park. 

To book, email with the number of children and adults.

Family Activities Day in the Grove

Monday 6th May at Noon to 4pm

Family activities day with a chance to make things and find things! Details still to be finalised.

Annual General Meeting and Talk

Thursday 9th May 7pm for 7:30pm

A talk and our Annual General Meeting. Come at 7pm for drinks with the meeting starting at 7:30pm promptly. More details to follow.


Fungi Talk by Clifford Day - 27th March

Clifford Davy started by outlining the vital role of fungi in an ecosystem: as decomposers they free the nutrients in dead plants for use by growing plants and thus all other organisms. (He pointed out that the leaves that fall each autumn would simply build up without decomposers.) Fungi also share nutrients in another way: as mycorrhizal fungi, which establish close links with tree roots underground. Mycorrhizal fungi provide trees with minerals and trees provide fungi with sugars. We were then treated to a photographic tour of mushrooms. We saw them in all colours and a huge variety of forms – spots (coral spot), blobs (King Alfred’s cakes), balls (puffball, one recorded as weighing 25 kg, which fed a family of seven for a week), cups (scarlet elfcup), and feathers (hen of the woods), to name but a few. And they range from delicious (penny bun) to fatal (death cap). A great introduction to Clifford’s fungus walk later in the month.

Planting for OPM Predators - 27th March

A few of us helped Leo, the Assistant Park Manager, sow and rake in a mix of wildflower seeds around oaks in the Grove (pictured), the South Slope and near the Rose Garden [Eastern Arboretum?]. The sun shone as we worked, and the rain watered in the seeds as we left. In the coming weeks the flowers will attract pollinators, including a fly that parasitises OPM caterpillars. Birds will be drawn in by the pollinators and also eat the caterpillars.

Some more pictures here. 

Art in the Park - 21st March

We had a good turnout (nine sketchers and one photographer) as the lure of the cherry blossoms and the spring sun drew people out (excuse the pun!). The petals gently fell around us as we took up spots amongst the blossoming trees and decided what to draw/photograph. Some focused on trying to capture the ethereal candy-floss effect of the cherry trees and others focused on the views both up and down the hill. A thoroughly enjoyable morning, though once again it passed too quickly! We look forward to having slightly extended sessions as the weather warms. The group is very friendly and open to anyone who would like to give outdoor sketching a try – please do join us!

Conservation Work - 19th March

We returned to the Anthill Meadow this month, after a break of four months working in various parts of the Grove. And what a muddy session it was! Following all this winter’s rain, especially February’s record-breaking rainfall, the ground was saturated. I don’t think any of us escaped a mud spattering by the end of the session. We did a hard but satisfying morning’s work, extracting bramble roots from the mud. Some of us reduced field maple saplings to hedge height, to vary the habitat levels at the upper edge of the meadow. We were rewarded with spring birdsong as we worked, a couple of chiffchaffs being particularly insistent. We’re looking forward to the meadow blossoming in the next few months and being abuzz with insects.

Moss and Liverwort Walk - 17th March 

Professor Jeff Duckett led us on another look at mosses and liverworts (bryophytes) in the park. Starting with on and off rain - great for mosses, the weather gradually dried up - better for participants.

We spent the time mostly in The Grove where a large number of different species were found. Although moss and liverworts like damp conditions they can survive in many different places. We found them on a brick wall, on stone, in grass and on the bark of trees. One particular leaning ash tree provided a lot of mosses to investigate.

Jeff told us how bryophytes like the high nitrogen that we have in the atmosphere nowadays and expected the number and quantity of mosses to decline when this is reduced. 

Some more pictures from the walk here.

Winter Tree Walk - 24th February

Adrian introduced the walk by saying that trees in winter have many distinguishing features that make it possible to identify them. He also suggested that participants consider how each tree got there in the first place: was it planted as part of an avenue, as a single specimen, or had it just taken advantage of an unoccupied spot, as many sycamores do? And if it was not part of our native flora, was it a welcome addition, such as ginkgo, or an invasive pest, such as Caucasian wingnut, which is colonising various parts of the park? The park was at its muddiest, so the group kept mostly to hard surfaces round the Boating Lake, which has a more interesting collection of trees than many realise. There will be a follow-up walk in early May to see how much changes during March and April. 

Talk: A clean energy plan for the park and palace - 21st February

As the Head of Environmental Sustainability, it was Mark Evison’s task to assess the baseline sustainability of the park and palace. He found that some employees already had sustainable policies up and running, while in other areas, such as power use, there was much room for improvement. So he focused on eight areas: biodiversity, carbon footprint, energy management, catering, governance, transport, waste management and water use. The next step was to commission Rodrigo Matabuena of AECOM, funded by an £85,000 grant from the GLA’s Local Energy Accelerator, to formulate a clean energy plan and generate a list of projects for which funding could be applied for at short notice (which is usual for funding applications). Rodrigo pointed out that the biggest carbon reduction would come from a series of ground-source heat pumps in the park. If they could be installed by 2028, carbon could be reduced by 85–98% by 2040, thus helping to meet Haringey’s aim to be a carbon-neutral borough by 2041. 

Spring Litter Clean-up - 17th February

With 22 members responding to the call to dig into the brambles and bushes for old litter, we were able to split into three groups and cover much of the park. It’s amazing what people leave in the park, and we lost count of the number of bags we filled, but this team were pleased with their haul. 

Conservation work in The Grove - 15th February

The blackthorn, cherry, dogwood, field maple, guelder rose and hawthorn hedge pictured above was planted about six years ago. This year the saplings were big enough to lay. Robert Cole, of the National Hedgelaying Society, showed us how to saw about two-thirds of the way through the trunks near the base to leave a flexible strip that could be bent over at an angle. That live strip will allow the shrub to continue to grow and thicken up, thus creating a hedge that will protect the spring bulbs in that part of the Spinney. The hedge was finished off with supporting stakes held together with binders woven in the south of England style (different areas of the UK have different styles). The stakes and binders were all sourced from the park with the help of the John O’Conner ground maintenance team.

    It was a team effort: Mark Evison, the Park Manager, sanctioned the work in the first place (and admired the end result) and Rubén found Robert Cole from the National Hedgelaying Society website. Robert Cole, 22 Friends and three members of the John O’Conner team completed the work in a day and a half. Everyone enjoyed learning a new skill and had the satisfaction of seeing the result, which has been much admired by passers-by. Now we are all eager to see how it looks as the leaves appear. 

Winter Bird Walk - 10th February

This was our first winter bird walk led by Gareth. We started by the boating lake and the many participants (22) managed to get great view of the birds in around the lake and we were particularly pleased to see our winter visitors - the redwings - flitting in and out of the ivy on trees near the boating lake (pictured). Among the birds seen there were tufted ducks, pochards, mallards, Canada, Egyptian and greylag geese, feral pigeons, coots, moorhens and black-headed gulls. Gareth also set up his scope and enabled people to see a peregrine perched on the BBC Tower. 

We then wandered off in the direction of the reservoir where gadwall and great crested grebe were seen with robins and dunnocks singing nearby. Just a selection of the birds that we saw on a very successful first outing for this walk.

More pictures from the walk here.

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.

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch by the Boating Lake - 28th January

On a sunny Sunday, the RSPB NW London Group set up a stall by the Boating Lake to promote the Big Garden Birdwatch and encouraging members of the public to take part.

They also counted the birds of different species that they saw around the Boating and on their guided walk. 

Birds seen included redwings and peregrine falcons as well as the usual birds on and around the boating lake. The full list is yet to be compiled, but here is selection of the birds seen: mallard, tufted duck, shoveler, pochard, moorhen, coot, Canada goose, greylag goose, Egyptian goose, black-headed gull, common gull, blue tit, great tit, coal tit, long-tailed tit, goldfinch, carrion crow, jaw, magpie, feral pigeon, wood pigeon, great spotted woodpecker.

We did hope to see a firecrest on the walk, but no luck this although we were treated to views of a pair of sparrowhawks.

Some pictures from the day here.

Art in the Park - 25th January

It’s now been three years in a row that we have met outdoors in January without the weather scuppering our plans! It was very mild this time, so once again we felt the end of the session came too soon. Katy re-introduced the idea of drawing inside a circle, which some of the group took up with enthusiasm and found to be a particularly effective way of capturing winter tree forms (picture by Marylin). We had a new joiner, who mentioned how good it was to come outside to draw and what great opportunities the park has for doing so.

Talk: Samuel Cody from Alexandra Palace to aviation pioneer -24th January

Gordon admitted that he had been fascinated by Samuel Cody since discovering his activities at Alexandra Palace – horse riding, sharp-shooting and melodramas. Cody was also very interested in large box kites, which he began to develop and test in Alexandra Park. They gained him a contract with the Army, which enabled him to start helping the Royal Engineers to build the Army’s first and second airships and then Army Aeroplane Number 1. Cody flew this aeroplane near Aldershot on 16th October 1908, the first flight in Britain of a piloted, heavier-than-air machine. However, the British government decided there was no future in aeroplanes (!) and cancelled Cody’s contract. But he continued to build and fly planes and win prizes put up by the newspapers, becoming something of a celebrity. His popularity was such that, after he died in the crash of one of his planes, he was buried with full military honours and tens of thousands lined the route of the funeral procession.

Conservation Work Party - 18th January

An unexpectedly large number of us (19) turned up to help to prune the fruit trees in the Railway Orchard and the Grove Orchard (picture by Helen Odozi). We had a good tutor in Rubén, who really did inspire confidence in us to have a go at pruning, exhorting us to enjoy it as well – which we did! At the end I think we all understood the importance of standing back to survey our work as we went along, to ensure that the right shape and airiness was achieved for each tree.

Members' History Walk - 13th January

Much of the history of the Grove can be learnt from old maps, so we started in the Park Visitor Centre to study the series of maps that span from before the park through to 1935. From these maps we could see the appearance and disappearance of a variety of features, including the Japanese Village, the elegant bandstand and the restaurant that had a large terrace. We then took a walk round the Grove to identify where these structures were, and with the help of an old photo established that the restaurant and terrace were at the boundary of Little Dinosaurs.

A great turnout for an interesting first Members'  Walk of the year. Not yet a member? Here is a link to join at just £5/household.

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