Posts Tagged parks

“Help a London Park” results

The results are in: and there’s no prize from Boris for Islington.

Of the ten parks getting extra money from Boris, two are in north London: Dollis Valley Green Walk in Barnet, and Lordship Park in Haringey. It’s a real shame that the Mayor of London has no extra money for Barnard Park, Elthorne Park or Bunhill Fields.

But no need to despair. The good news for Barnard and Elthorne is that Islington Council has committed an extra £6.6M for the borough’s parks: more than Boris was offering London-wide.

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Islington parks on Flickr

Some photos of Islington parks, among others in London, here.

I particularly like the glimpse of the fernery at Astey’s Row, part of the New River Walk.

There are also pics of Bunhill Fields, Caledonian Park, Barnsbury Square, Gillespie Park, and Barnard Park.

Also Canonbury Square just up the road from me, not only the former home of George Orwell, but so prettily planted I’ve seen it used recently for wedding photos.

It’s become a bit of a truism that Islington has less green space than any other borough. Certainly we don’t have the vast expanses of green, some with lakes, of the outer boroughs. But what Islington’s parks lack in acreage, they make up for in character.

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Orange shoots

No, not a post about opinion polls. Although it could be.

The crocuses are out in Morton Road gardens, the park opposite my home.

It seems unbelievable that only three weeks ago we were deep in snow.

There are some great photos of the snowscenes, including this one of Canonbury, looking like a winter version of the set of Mary Poppins.

Apparently the crocus symbolises ‘cheerfulness and gladness’. So I shall keep smiling at all the orange shoots out there.

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Last chance to vote for Barnard Park!

Today is the last chance to vote for which London park you want to get extra funding from the Mayor of London.

I’m backing Barnard Park. You can do the same here.

Other Islington parks in the running are Elthorne Park (where Lib Dem Cllr Greg Foxsmith is running a lively campaign to get the vote out!) and Bunhill Fields on the City Fringe.

Not sure which park to support? Text ‘parks’ and your full London post code to 62967. This will automatically vote for the nearest shortlisted park in Islington (or whichever borough you’re in).

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Vote for your Islington park

The Mayor of London has put forward extra funding for ten London parks, and it’s down to Londoners to vote for which ones we want to benefit. Islington has three parks on the list – but you only get one vote.

I’m voting for Barnard Park in Barnsbury. It was my local park when I lived on Hemingford Road. Created out a postwar bombsite, it’s home to football pitches, an under 5s group and the adventure playground as well as lots of greenspace. It’s also had problems with anti-social behaviour and vandalism. Local people have wanted to improve it for years, and the Council’s been working with community groups to come up with a masterplan – but it needs funding. Some money has come in from Thames Water, as compensation for their ring main works which saw some of the grass and paths relaid. There was also some income from the development of the old depot site alongside the park – a brownfield site used for housing. But now there’s a chance to get even more investment via this initiative. It’s a fantastic chance to fund the community plans, so well worth a vote.

Bunhill Fields in Finsbury is opposite the site where my Grandpa Ansell (dad’s dad) lived and worked. It’s a unique historic burial yard, attracting visitors from all over the world in pilgrimage to the graves of William Blake, John Bunyan and Daniel Defoe. They were all non-conformists, denied burial in consecrated churchyards, or preferring to be buried elsewhere. Bunhill Fields – a corruption of the word ‘bone hill’ – just outside the city of London boundary, was the ideal spot. Now it’s sandwiched between two historic chapels – Wesley’s Chapel on City Road and the Quaker Meeting House off Bunhill Row. It’s also a lovely oasis from the City bustle, and actually maintained by the Corporation of London.

At the other end of Islington is Elthorne Park at Archway. At one end of St John’s Way, it’s an island site and feels larger than it looks from the outside. In the middle of the park is the peace garden, dedicated to the memory of Nobel prize winner, Philip Noel-Baker. Appropriately, given Noel-Baker’s involvement in sport, Elthorne Park is also home to a boxing club, pitches and a trim trail. Earlier this year, the local councillors unveiled the improved pitch, but there’s more improvements that local people would like to see, including a new wildlife garden. That would fit well with the work of Sunnyside Gardens, an organic community garden just across the road.

Whichever you prefer, do vote for an Islington park! Full details on how to vote are here, and you have until 30 January to make your mind up…..

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Islington Play Rangers

I came home to a leaflet on the doormat advertising the new Islington Play Rangers service.

The Play Rangers will be leading free group play activities in parks and on estates in Islington for 8-13 year olds, in the 4-6pm slot after school.

I think this is a great idea, especially as many of the holiday play schemes have now finished. The Play Rangers will be in Morton Road gardens once a week until the end of October.

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Park life

Holiday-makers off to the seaside may be on the lookout for Blue Flag beaches. If you’re in Islington, why not visit one of our Green Flag parks?

Eight parks around Islington have now been recognised as Green Flag winners. Whittington Park and Royal Northern off the Holloway Road, Gillespie Park (home of the Ecology Centre) near Arsenal tube, Newington Green on the Hackney border, Paradise Park in Holloway, Edward Square near Kings Cross (complete with poetry carving), Fortune Street in the shadow of the Barbican, and Spa Fields in the heart of Clerkenwell.

Plus two community gardens have won Green Pennants: King Henry’s Walk in Mildmay, and Culpeper near Islington Police station in Barnsbury.

Whittington Park is the most recent to get its Green Flag: attractions include the wildflower planting that brightens the Holloway Road and even an outdoor gym.

All the parks are very different, each worth a visit. More information on Islington’s parks is available from the Council and also on the excellent London Wildweb.

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Green light for Newington Green

94% support is something most politicians can only dream about.

But that’s the level of support for the joint campaign run by Islington Friends of the Earth, Newington Green Action Group and Mildmay’s Lib Dem councillors, to turn Newington Green plastic-bag-free.

Newington Green is a fantastic spot; it has an amazing radical history and a lively Turkish community; it’s been transformed in recent years by an imaginative re-design of the central park, yet has kept a great mixture of local shops – including some of the best independent cafes in Islington.

If you can’t get there in person, you can enjoy a virtual tour of Newington Green here.

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Dog days

What’s brown and sticky and left by a dog? A stick.

Or worse. Sadly the brown sticky stuff left by dogs on Islington’s pavements is no fun.

Dog dirt is not the nicest thing to talk about; but residents raise the issue with me time and time again… Dogs may be man’s best friend, but irresponsible dog ownership is bad news for everyone in our area. So I’m glad that Lib Dem-run Islington Council is planning new measures to tackle irresponsible dog owners, make our streets and estates cleaner, and keep our parks and play areas safe. The Council is proposing to fine owners who don’t clean up after their dogs or who fail to keep them under control. And they are planning to exclude dogs from some sports and play areas. There is a detailed list of the sites available on the Council website (the consultation period ends on Friday, 11 April).

I’m pleased to see it includes both housing estates and public parks. Bureaucrats may recognise the distinction; dogs do not….

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Duncan Terrace and the New River walk

Quite a nice piece in last week’s Islington Tribune about plans to improve Duncan Terrace Gardens. Jill Nicholls, the chair of Duncan Terrace residents’ association is a charming and forceful woman, who, as she says herself, ‘takes no prisoners’. So her praise for the Council’s efforts to improve this popular small park is worth having.

Duncan Terrace Gardens is one of a series of linear parks marking the route of the New River which brought drinking water from Hertfordshire into the heart of London. The New River, masterminded by Sir Hugh Myddelton, transformed life in Islington. Myddelton Square, Hugh Myddelton school and statues of Sir Hugh at Islington Green and in the Town Hall commemorate the man, while the source at Chadwell near Great Amwell gives its name to Chadwell Street and Amwell Street.

Originally the New River flowed as an open canal down what is now Petherton Road, through Canonbury, then Colebrooke Row. Now it is covered over, and forms a series of linear parks through Islington, including the pretty New River Walk in Canonbury (which has an ornamental waterway) and the fernery along Asteys Row. In fact you can walk the route of the New River all the way from Hertfordshire.

Later the New River was extended to Mr Sadler’s wells at Clerkenwell and the reservoir in Claremont Square. The New River Company was formed and built homes for its workers nearby. Charles Allen House on Amwell Street and Mylne Street off Myddelton Square are named after company executives.

Now the grand offices and laboratory buildings have been converted to housing (a much more green solution than new tower blocks, Ken Livingstone please note). You can see the New River Head gardens, and information about the history of the site, from a viewpoint off Myddelton Passage.

Over recent years, Islington Council and Thames Water have been improving the spaces along the route, so it’s good that Duncan Terrace Gardens are getting their turn now.

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