Category Archives: The Hub Huddle

The Hub Huddle: Trees

News, info, thoughts and links from Lordship Hub, Lordship Rec and Central Tottenham

30th May 2020

Please support and share our crowdfunding appeal to help Lordship Hub survive the lockdown. We are only 36% of our target and are in real need of financial support. Thank you to all who have generously donated and please share our appeal widely!


The beautiful weeping willow at the bottom end of the woodland area in Lordship Rec

All trees have some important, basic environmental value and provide us with many benefits.

  • Trees produce oxygen,
  • Trees store carbon,
  • Trees purify the atmosphere and mask noise,
  • Trees conserve water,
  • Trees prevent soil erosion,
  • Trees provide a habitat to a wide variety of insects, birds, and animals,
  • Trees provide shade, food and medicines
  • Trees generally create a beautiful environment, advantageous for mental well-being.

In short, trees help to maintain the balance of nature and create fantastic recreational spaces in cities.

Once upon a time Tottenham Wood covered a large area of the old county of Middlesex from Muswell Hill to the marshes of the River Lea. It was the last refuge of wild animals such as boars, stags and wild bulls. King James I enclosed the wood for his private hunting in the 17th century and it has been suggested that Henry VIII may have also hunted there during his visits to Tottenham.

Today nothing is left of the original wood in Tottenham but in 1985 an area of it was recreated by the planting of a small wood in the south west corner of Lordship Rec. It was done by local residents, including schoolchildren, in partnership with the Council as an area of nature conservation. Planted with native species, these include a wide range of trees, shrubs and other flora such as oak, poplar, hornbeam, hazel, cherry, silver birch, blackthorn, dog roses and honeysuckle. A survey in 2016 by members of the woodland group found a total of 425 trees (with a circumference greater than 20cm), and 512 if elder, hazel and holly are included.

View of the woodland with field maple

Sadly it became dense and overgrown and suffered from rubbish dumping and few people ventured in. Following lobbying from the Friends of Lordship Rec it was then “rescued” as an area for conservation, relaxation and appreciation of nature. The Friends organised the construction of a winding path throughout the wood helped by the Conservation Volunteers (TCV). Interpretation boards designed by the Friends were added in late 2008.

There have been problems with waterlogging of the path and this has been addressed with help from TCV by digging out a mini stream and a pond. The wood is a haven for wildlife including birds, insects, squirrels and foxes. Currently there are tadpoles in the pond so there may be some frogs in a few weeks.

The wood requires regular maintenance to keep the paths in good order, remove invasive or non-native species, coppicing hazels, prune shrubs and trees to maintain sightlines and collect litter. Coppicing is the practice of cutting trees and shrubs to ground level, promoting vigorous re-growth and a sustainable supply of timber for future generations. Cutting an established tree down to its base encourages the fresh growth of many smaller shoots, which quickly grow upwards towards the sky. After 8-15 years, these are then harvested, restarting the cycle once more. This can help to prevent the manifestation of dead or diseased wood in the tree, by renewing constant fresh growth and the removal of old wood, allowing the tree to live for a lot longer than if it were left un-coppiced.

A member of TCV creating a bridge over a waterlogged part of the woodland path (left) and volunteers doing coppicing work in the wood (right).

Work in the woodland is done by a group of volunteers from the Woodland Group of the Friends of Lordship Rec in a two-hour session each month. We also receive help on three days each year from TCV which has included replacing the boards at the edge of the path and the bridge over the mini steam. We have also had help from Trees for Cities (TFC) in the past two years and their tasks have included making informal dead hedges at either end of the wood. Unfortunately, all these activities have had to be suspended in the current situation.

The wood has been reclaimed from an overgrown area blighted by rubbish and antisocial behaiour to become an attractive and valuable public wildlife and recreation area for local residents. It is very popular with dog walkers, families and other park users. During the last ten weeks of lockdown it has become even more important as an area of peace and tranquillity where we can escape from our homes. Children in particular are enjoying making dens, looking for tadpoles in the pond, seeing the wild flowers blooming in the wood and just generally becoming familiar with ‘nature’.

The pond dug by volunteers in the wood and the tadpoles who live in it.

If you are interested in volunteering in the wood contact Catherine Collingborn at


Bruce Castle Park, on Lordship Lane, Tottenham’s first public park, is home to the oldest oak tree in Tottenham, an ancient sessile oak tree which is over 450 years old.  It was possibly a sapling when Henry VIII met his sister Margaret, Queen of Scotland, at Bruce Castle in 1516, and certainly would have been there when his daughter Elizabeth I visited in 1578.  It came runner up in the Woodland Trust’s Tree of the Year award.

As the photograph above shows a large branch of the oak broke off in 2011 and this is the cause of its asymmetrical shape. There is concern about other branches and the general health of the tree so further work is being investigated.

Tottenham Trees are a group of local people who are passionate about trees and everything about their protection and cultivation. They have created a great website with a huge amount of information.

This information is taken from the Tottenham Trees website
Pick ripe seeds directly from the tree or gather from the ground. Use a paper or hessian bag to take your seeds home. Put seeds from different species in separate bags and label them.

Preparation of different types of seeds
Fleshy fruits – Mix the berries with water and then gently mash them with a potato masher. Viable seed will sink to the bottom and the residue of the fleshy fruit can be discarded. For rowan or mulberry, put the berries in a sieve and gently squeeze with your fingers under running water to release the seeds.

Cones – leave cones in a paper bag to dry out naturally for a few days but not by a radiator or fire or in direct sunlight. The cones will open up and release the seeds.

Nuts – separate acorns and chestnuts from their outer casings and drop them into a bowl of water. Discard the ones that float and collect the ones that sink.

Winged seeds – these can be planted with the wings left on, just separate the seeds from each other and from their twigs.

Tree seeds are programmed to germinate in the spring so have a better chance of germinating if they have been exposed to the cold of at least one winter. Tree growers simulate a cold winter through a process known as stratification. Do this by soaking seeds in cold water for 24 hours and then putting them in a plastic bag (clearly labelled) in the fridge for a couple of months.

A longer method is to mix an equal volume of seeds into a stratification mixture containing one part compost and one part coarse-particle material such as bark chips, perlite or sharp sand. (Or just use compost.) The mixture should be placed in a pot or bucket with holes in the bottom for drainage and should be moist but not saturated. Cover your containers with mesh or netting to protect your seeds from birds and rodents. Leave over the winter in a cool place such as against a north facing wall.

Once stratified, sow your seeds in a suitable container such as a milk or juice carton or large yoghurt pot. Pierce holes in the bottom of the containers for drainage. Small seeds like birch and alder should be sown on the surface of the compost or soil and covered in a thin layer of sharp sand. Sow a pinch of seeds per container. Larger seeds such as acorns should be sown singly and covered to one and a half times their length in soil or compost.

Place the containers in a shady, sheltered spot to protect the seedlings from the elements. When the seeds have germinated, thin them out leaving one seedling per pot. Water the seedlings regularly and give them some liquid plant feed during periods of active growth. Weed occasionally but make sure you don’t pull up the seedlings by mistake. After a few months the baby tree may outgrow its container so transfer it to a larger one.

Your baby trees will not be ready for planting in their final growing positions until the next tree planting season: November to March. If you have space to plant your tree(s) in your garden then great, but if not make sure they are put somewhere where they will be cared for.


The seven sisters of Tottenham by John Greenwood (1790) and the seven hornbeams on Page Green today.

In 1996 a ring of trees, hornbeams, were planted on Page Green near Seven Sisters tube, by a remarkable delegation: 5 families, each containing 7 sisters, a tradition that may well go back hundreds of years. Over the centuries there have been many stories about a group of trees, 7 elms encircling a walnut tree, planted in Tottenham by seven sisters from one family. By 1732, the clump had become known as the Seven Sisters. The group of trees are marked on a local map as early as 1619 and some believe that the original seven trees were planted as long ago as 1350. The seven trees have been replanted a number of times, always by seven sisters but they are now in a slightly different location to the earliest plantings.

The Tree Charter’s ambition is to place trees and woods at the centre of national decision making, and back at the heart of our lives and communities. The new charter will redefine the relationship with people and trees in the UK for present and future generations, providing guidance and inspiration for policy, practice and attitude, across Government, businesses, communities and individuals.” Beccy Speight, Woodland Trust CEO

Trees provide food, shelter and homes to so many of our native species. That’s why the Tree Charter is so important; by championing trees and calling for protection, it is safeguarding a whole host of animals, insects and birds.Chris Packham, naturalist and presenter.

Each tree is a world within itself, teeming with life. A fallen branch is a feast for beetles, fungal-rich woodland soil is a wildflower bed. A hedgerow is a living network, where a host of creatures share their home. At the time of launching the Tree Charter on 6th November 2017 more than 100,000 individuals had signed their names in support of the Principles.

Some of the trees in Lordship Rec

Sally from Friends of Lordship Rec who co-ordinates activity in the Rec orchard writes:

In 2017 school children and other local people helped to plant over 200 tiny native species trees, both in the south west of the Main Field, and in two areas in the Orchard. The aim was to increase the biodiversity of the Rec.

In the Spring of 2019 local people planted about a dozen small fruit trees, including Damsons, Greengages, Sour Cherry and Sea Buckthorn, as the beginning of a windbreak to protect other trees in the Orchard. In October 2019 local families planted a dozen baby fruit trees, mostly varieties of Apple, in the Orchard, and they and volunteers are helping to water, weed and mulch them. And at the beginning of this March volunteers planted 6 more bigger fruit trees both in the Orchard and in the big fenced area to the South West of the Main Field. All the trees planted since October 2019 have names, such as ‘Ginger’, ‘Tough Mudder’ and ‘PearWe’! Most of the trees in the Orchard have labels, which tell you the type of tree, and for the baby trees, their names too.

Apart from the many benefits to us humans, trees provide vital habitat and a food source for literally thousands of different types of wildlife – from fungii to insects to birds. Unseen to many of us, there is an intricate interdependence between all forms of life on earth.

Many creatures rely on a particular plant or tree for example, for their development, and will only survive if that is available. For example, we planted Alder and Purging Buckthorn, which is the sole source of food for the caterpillar of the beautiful yellow Brimstone Butterfly. Happily they have been seen, both this and last year.

Volunteers taking part in a tree planting workshop and students from Gladesmore School digging. Inset, the beautiful yellow Brimstone Butterfly

Similarly the Spindleberry Bush planted nearby, which has pretty pink berries in the Autumn, is food for the Spindleberry Ermine Moth caterpillars. They build webs all over the bush to protect themselves, then proceed to munch ALL the leaves of the bush, leaving it completely stripped by early to mid May. However, within a week the bush starts growing leaves again, and within a few weeks it looks as if nothing ever happened to it!

The Woodland Trust have an excellent website where you can search for information about native British trees, what pests and diseases might be affecting them, what particular value they have for wildlife and much more, at . They also have a good online shop with information about buying trees.

Caring for young trees
Of all the trees we have planted, 99% have survived and thrived, and many are between 1 to 2 metres high. But getting them to this stage has involved a lot of work. Over the past 2 years, local people, organised through the Friends of Lordship Rec with the additional enthusiastic support of Trees for Cities, have spent literally hundreds of hours mulching, watering and weeding. Mulching is a method where you put a good ‘doughnut’ of wood chip around the young trees, leaving a dip, like a ring doughnut, in the middle so the wood chip doesn’t touch the trunk but does cover the root area and a bit beyond. A rough guide is to mulch as wide at least as the canopy (leafy bit of the tree). Without this many, if not all, of the trees, would have died.

Mulch is magical stuff! It soaks up extra water to help stop the ground becoming waterlogged in a wet Winter – as we had this last Winter. It also keeps moisture IN during long hot dry spells in summer – as we are experiencing right now. But most important of all, it helps the growth of mycohhrizal fungii (fine fungal threads) under the ground that enable the roots of trees to absorb the nutrients it needs much more effectively. Apart from a wet winter or a persistent rainy period, young trees will need about 30 Litres of water every 10 days for their first 2 to 3 years. With a hose this is about 3 – 4 minutes watering for each tree.

Dead Trees!

A fallen log with stag beetle inset and lots of evidence of insect activity

‘Dead trees’ may be dead as a tree, but they will be teeming with life for all sorts of bugs and beetles, fungii and eventually flora. They are a crucial part of the intricate biodiversity web. Some creatures are completely dependent on dead wood for part of their life cycle and are critically endangered as their habit shrinks. For example the Stag Beetle will spend 7 years as a larva in dead wood before emerging as a beetle. Imagine eating dead wood for 7 years? Respect! The People’s Trust for Endangered Species have information about this fascinating creature (quite harmless despite its fearsome appearance) and much else besides. Trees that are cut down are best left in as big chunks as possible at the place where they grew, to provide as much suitable habitat as possible.

Planting trees
If you are thinking of planting a tree wait till October. Anytime between October and early March is fine, but personally I prefer October, as the soil is still warm, the tree will then have the winter to settle in, the mulch put down around it will have started to rot down nicely (to help produce all that mycohhrizal fungii) and it will be wet enough that little watering would be needed until the Spring after the initial planting month.

The Autumn and winter invariably see many well intentioned ‘plant a tree’ initiatives – but how often is their after-care thought of? Without this, many of the trees people enthusiastically plant will simply die. So check with the organisers that someone is going to care for the trees you plant.

If you are thinking of planting a tree in your own garden, remember ‘Right tree in the Right Place’. Think carefully how big the tree you are thinking of is going to get, and what conditions it likes to grow in. A good source of information about fruit trees is the Orange Pippin website

The Orchard Project has a wealth of information too about growing fruit trees, and especially about community orchards. They also run excellent courses, some online or partially online, for instance one soon about forest gardening. (Forest gardening is a food production and land management system based on replicating woodland ecosystems, in which trees and plants have been replaced by fruit and nut trees, bushes, shrubs, herbs and vegetables which have yields directly useful to humans.

Lynda, Sally and Alex, 3 local volunteers produce seasonal Tree Trail brochures with a map to take you on a walk to certain trees around the Rec. You can usually pick them up at the Hub, but sadly it is closed temporarily. Look out for them when we re-open.

Trees for Cities are a charity  who work across the Uk and beyond planting tens of thousands of trees and improving environments and involving lots of volunteers, including in Lordship Rec. Have a look at their website.

Stay Safe and hope to see you soon when we can open safely as a takeaway establishment in the park.



The Hub Huddle: Parks Need Friends

News, info, thoughts and links from Lordship Hub, Lordship Rec and Central Tottenham

22nd May 2020

Please support and share our Lordship Hub crowdfunding appeal to help Lordship Hub survive the lockdown and reopen for the community. Thank you!

Haringey has a great variety of parks and green spaces. We have over 40 Parks Friends Groups who work independently, in partnership with the Council, to do a huge amount of additional work to keep the parks and green spaces in a good condition. These groups of hardworking, local volunteers organise conservation days, nature walks, talks, events, and wildlife surveys as well as doing fundraising for improvement projects in their parks. They are all passionate about their spaces, whether they are recreation grounds, with play and exercise equipment, woodlands or nature reserves with fantastic natural features or a bit of everything. They also campaign generally for adequate resources for parks and work with the Council to produce management and action plans for their parks and actively engage in consultation with the Council about their strategy for parks in the future.

A full list of Friends Groups can be found on the Forum’s Website and the Haringey Council Website.   or

Tottenham Parks, top row left to right, Paignton Park, Markfield Park, Hartington Park. middle row left to right, Belmont Rec, Lordship Rec and Chestnuts Park, Brunswick Park, bottom row left to right Downhills Park, Down Lane Park, Bruce Castle Park, The Paddock

Now that we are allowed to wander further afield, it is time to explore Haringey and all it has to offer. Haringey has a great variety of parks and green spaces scattered across it, perfect for walking, playing, relaxing and experiencing nature. The Haringey Friends of Parks Forum, which is the umbrella organisation for bringing together all the Friends Groups in Haringey,published a fantastic book called A Walk in the Park with lots of information about Haringey parks and 7 different walks that link various parks across the borough, some short and some a bit longer.


Our local green spaces are vital for everyone and every community – and for all age groups and interests!  They are an essential and unique service promoting relaxation, recreation and play, wildlife and biodiversity, attractive walking and cycling routes, green jobs and skills, heritage, flood control, health and social well-being, and community cohesion. And they are FREE! During this difficult time, parks have really shown how important they are.


Parks are there to be enjoyed for recreation but you can also enjoy being a part of their protection and improvement through joining a Friends Group in your favourite park. Nearly all the parks, green spaces and community gardens in Haringey have a group you can join which will mean you will be part of a growing movement across the whole country.

Our links beyond Haringey
The Friends Groups’ movement across the UK involves over 7,000 local groups similar to ours in Lordship Rec. Those groups are coordinated through the National Federation of Parks and Green Spaces (NFPGS). The Friends of Lordship Rec have always tried to play our part in supporting and strengthening this movement – for example our Secretary (Joan)  has helped to design NFPGS flyers, and our Chair (Dave) has been elected as the Chair of the NFPGS. Dave represents the NFPGS on a national greenspace coordination body liaising with Government. The first full conference of this was held at our very own Hub! Lordship Rec and the Hub are widely recognised as an inspirational example of successful community-led regeneration and community/Council co-management of an urban park, even being featured in a major piece on BBC’s Countryfile programme –

As a result of what we have here in Lordship Rec, the Lottery has funded a special project based at Lordship Hub to promote community empowerment throughout the country’s green spaces – including the development of a new, specialist website supporting Friends Groups. This is a one stop shop for all Friends Groups and those wanting information about setting up or running a Friends Group –


The National Federation of Parks and Green Spaces has produced a Charter for Parks, which was launched at Westminster in 2018. See:

Dave, chair of the Federation with children from our local Willow School at the Charter Launch at Westminster in June 2018.


If there is a park, or small pocket of land near you that you feel looks rather unloved and you have some ideas how it could be improved for the benefit of local residents, first of all find out if there is a friends group that may have become inactive or if there is not, why not start one. The first thing to do is to make a basic flyer and canvas surrounding houses inviting them to a meeting about the space. The chances are others have had similar thoughts about the space. See who turns up and even if it only a couple of people to start with, organise a simple public event like a litter picking day or bulb planting, advertised with street posters and take it from there. Once you have the beginnings of a group, then get in touch with the Haringey Friends of Parks Forum and someone will come to one of your meetings to give advice and support. Contact:


Here are just a random selection of the many parks and nature reserves where friends are active in Haringey showing the variety of spaces available:


Rustic steps through ancient woodland in Queen’s Wood N10 3JP

For most of the last thousand years, maybe before that, Queens Wood was part of a mixed landscape of pasture, farmland and heath with lime, oak and hazel and later, hornbeam. By the beginning of the 16thcentury the woodland had become over used and degraded and to ensure the regeneration of the woodland, the wood was managed and enclosed to protect it from browsing animals. In 1898 the wood was purchased by the Hornsey Borough Council and renamed Queen’s Wood to mark the Queen’s golden jubilee and opened as a public park. Queen’s Wood today is designated as a Statutory Local Nature Reserve and a Site of Metropolitan Importance. It is no longer managed to provide timber, fuel and food, but managed to sustain and enhance the biological diversity of the wood. It is now a public open space, a haven for wildlife and a great place of leisure and relaxation.

The Friends of Queen’s Wood is dedicated to the conservation of Queen’s Wood. Membership entitles you to a regular Newsletter, talks, led walks in the Wood, special children’s events and information about local conservation and environmental issues. Members can take part in monthly working parties in the Wood. Volunteers do a terrific job doing conservation work including cutting back and coppicing as well as regular litter picking. The Committee is made up of local people who love the wood and want to protect it. There is also the organic Queen’s Wood Café near the gate at Muswell Hill Road Gate.

This map from “A Walk in the Park” is a circular route that takes you through 6 major parks including Queen’s Wood. Go to the Friends of Parks Forum website link above to download the pages of the book.


Chestnuts Park has varied facilities from tennis and outdoor gym to orchard and meadows and café, N15 5BN

In 1898 Chestnuts House and grounds were purchased for £7,760 by Tottenham Urban District Council following a poll of ratepayers to decide whether the site should be retained for public use. This was overwhelmingly approved by 911 votes and, with some additional land purchased, it was laid out as Chestnuts Recreation Ground.

The park contains an outdoor gym and tennis courts (which are available and free to use all year round). It also benefits from a multi-use games area (MUGA) which, although designed for football, can be used for a variety of sports. There is also a basketball hoop and line markings just outside the MUGA. There is a community willow garden and orchard of 21 fruit trees. This area was developed and is maintained, along with Council workers, by the Friends of Chestnuts Park. The Friends have also recently funded the planting of a wildflower meadow.

The Friends of Chestnuts Park meet regularly and is open to everyone who wants to campaign to improve their local park and join in volunteering activities.


Priory Park has many features for the enjoyment of everyone including this historic fountain.  Middle Lane, N8 8LJ

Priory Park has large open grassy spaces, beautiful trees, an ornamental garden, tennis courts, philosophers garden, paddling pool, café, playground, and large asphalt area for netball practice and junior cycling.In 1891 the Hornsey Local Board agreed in principle to purchase the land which was to form the core of Priory Park, with the intention to create “a pleasant and safe retreat as a well-planted public pleasure ground, greatly to the advantage of children and others residing in the locality”. Priory Park, as we know it today, did not really come into existence until 1923/24 when the Council acquired the nine acres of land known as “Lewcock’s Field. After negotiations with organisations who already used the land like allotment holders and a bowls club, the park was completed in 1926 when the whole area was renamed Priory Park.

The Friends of Priory Park have facilitated some changes in the park and work to preserve and protect the park alongside Haringey Council,  The Conservation Volunteers and other groups and welcome new members.


Chapman’s Green is a small park sandwiched between Perth Road and Lordship Lane, a short walk from Wood Green Tube Station. Local people formed the Friends of Chapman’s Green in 2016 to give this under-used and overlooked green space some love and affection. We organise community events at the park throughout the year and try to keep it tidy with regular clean-up days.

Building on these beginnings, they are now working with Haringey Council and Grow N22 to explore how Chapman’s Green can best serve its community in the years ahead. With Noel Park Bowling Club having recently made the difficult decision to wind itself up, the park’s pavilion and bowling green needs to find a new use. And so now, more than ever, they want the residents to get together and plan what sort of future we want for our park.

for more information about the friends:


Brunswick Park near Seven Sisters Station, N15 5ES, had a total facelift in 2017 with the development of a new Friends Group.

Brunswick Park
Until the early 1970s, Brunswick Park was the site of an extra platform for Seven Sister station. The Palace Gates branch line once connected the station to Wood Green and Alexandra Palace. The last trains ran in 1964 and the railway lines were removed in the decade that followed, leaving behind an open space that has been developed into the park you see today.

In 2017, the park received funding from the London Marathon Charitable Trust and Tesco to redevelop its entrances and playing areas to create a more welcoming environment for all users. Haringey Council has also installed new outdoor gym equipment to encourage a healthy lifestyle among park residents. The Friends of Brunswick Park was founded in December 2017 and were involved in the process to improve the green space, formerly known as Brunswick Road Open Space.

There is a walk you can do from Alexandra Palace To Seven Sisters that goes into Brunswick Park as it follows the route of the old Palace Gates to Seven Sisters Railway.

The route of the Palace Gates to Seven Sisters walk, another walking map brochure from Friends of Parks Forum. You can download the whole brochure from:

You can also download the popular Ally Pally to Bruce Castle walk from the same website address.

Local Video artist, Carmen Jeffrey has made some fantastic videos of walks that she has been doing around the parks and streets of Tottenham and Haringey. This one is from Finsbury Park:  But there are plenty of others to keep you entertained on her facebook group, if you want to join that and she posts them on Lordship Rec facebook too. They are a local sensation!

And lastly, a mystery gardener with a great message for our times in Lordship Rec. Photo taken by Gary Oland a member of Tottenham Photography Club

Keep well and safe everyone, from all at the Hub, and hope to see you all again soon!


The Hub Huddle: Growing and Gardening

News, info, thoughts and links from Lordship Hub, Lordship Rec and Central Tottenham

16th May 2020

Firstly, an appeal for your support to save Lordship Hub!
Lordship Hub has started a crowdfunding appeal in order to survive the long period of shutdown with no income and no state funding or insurance payout. We would like to ask you if you could donate towards our survival fund and share the link with friends and family. Many thanks, from all at Lordship Hub. Our target is £30,000 so please help us get there. Every little helps!!


We are so lucky in Lordship Rec to have access to such a variety of wildlife habitats. The Friends of Lordship Rec, with the support of TCV (The Conservation Volunteers) and other volunteers like Trees for Cities and Good Gym have helped to manage all the different areas of the Rec, organising volunteer work days in the Woodland, the meadows, the lake area, the river and the orchard and spinney. We would not be able to enjoy any of this without intervention from volunteers, the parks dept and contractors. Nature would have taken over completely!

Thriving meadow in the Rec with oxeye daisies

Gardening must rank as one of the most rewarding, enjoyable and healthiest pastimes you can have. It brings so many positives to your life. For some, gardening is a way of life, an escape from the pressures of life in their own space. It is a way of bringing colour and beauty into our lives and the lives of others. For others, who grow fruit, vegetables and herbs, it is a way of knowing that what you are eating is fresh and free from damaging chemicals. Gardening is also beneficial to wildlife, offering habitats and nutrition. If you don’t have a garden, you can use space in your home in pots and containers on window sills or balconies that can be just as rewarding or you can take part in community volunteering projects or, if you are lucky, get an allotment. To enquire about allotments see:

The advantages of gardening are many. Although it can be hard physical work, it helps to keep you fit and active. Gardening also exercises your creativity, in designing your garden and choosing plants and pots. It connects you to Nature,  bringing you closer to the creatures that share your garden, attracted by the wildlife friendly plants and features you have designed into your space. Its good to be outside and to get exposure to sunlight as that helps the body naturally to produce Vitamin D which is vital for a healthy immune system and strong bones.


Just a few of the many wildflowers growing in the Rec

The importance of wildflowers
Wildflower gardens serve many purposes. They feed our pollinators – bees etc. People need these pollinators to fertilise the vegetables, fruits and flowers in their gardens when they are ready but the bees need to feed before and after that time so a variety of seasonal wildflowers are important for them.

Another reason for preserving our native wildflowers is that they are our natural heritage. There are very many of them and they have thrived in these islands for thousands of years despite the fact that man has built over so much of their natural habitat. They are very beautiful and an important part of our intricate ecosystem.

There are several different ways of starting your own wildflower garden. You can either weed out the invasive plants from an existing patch or start a new one. Don’t use fertiliser. Most wildflowers have adapted to medium to poor soils. You can buy wildflowers (responsibly sourced) as plugs or seeds or you can leave the soil open and wait for seeds to arrive through natural methods . You can transplant wildflowers if they are in danger of being dug out and thrown away from other sites.

Whichever method you choose, you will need to weed out the following plants because they are too invasive: Brambles, Couch grass, Bindweed, Creeping Thistles and Docks. The first four of these make many horizontal roots under the ground which travel over large areas and take over, so your wildflowers will not get a chance to thrive. The Docks have very deep roots which are hard to get out and also they drop thousands of seeds and take over that way. You could have one area for tall plants and one for small ones.

The point is to get as wide a variety of wildflowers as possible. Therefore if one species is taking up too much space, take some of it out. Wildflower gardens change naturally over time and afford much pleasure. I enthusiastically recommend making as many of them as possible even if it’s just a little corner of your garden or balcony. You will really enjoy watching the bees, hover flies and butterflies visiting your flowers.

Ruth, from Harmony Gardens and the Friends created these gardens. The one on the right Is outside the front of the Hub and the others (left) are in Harmony Gardens.

Bees – help them survive!
Without bees, humans would not have much to eat! We can all do our bit to provide the right habitat for bees by growing suitable plants and not using pesticides. Climate change, habitat loss, pollution and disease threaten their very existence but we can help change that.

There are community beekeeping projects in Tottenham. One of them is run at Living Under One Sun, a community project in Tottenham Hale. The other is with The Friends of Tottenham Marshes. They may not be open to the public right now but hopefully will be back in action soon. See:

Watch this fascinating video about a bees life.


A view of Harmony Gardens with a lovely crop of broad beans in the foreground

Until the 1930s the land on which Harmony Gardens sits was still a farm and it formed part of the vanishing belt of market gardens and farms around inner London. Because it was a flood plain, it was one of the last to be built over until BWF estate opened in 1967.

The Garden was created in 2006 by a Charity called Back2Earth with volunteers from the local area. Funded by the People’s Lottery, it was reclaimed from a rubble-filled wasteland next to the Broadwater Farm Community Centre and Lordship Rec. The rubble was used to make the gabion walls of the garden. These recycled walls have plants growing in and on them. An intricately woven willow screen, made by a local willow artist, and some native hedging mark the boundary of the garden.

Most of the growing is done in raised beds made from recycled scaffold boards. At different times of year a variety of crops can be seen, from broad beans and beetroot to carrots and brightly coloured chard, and lovely smelling garlic, leeks, onions, and herbs – all mixed in with wild and cultivated flowers and fruit trees and bushes. There is a lovely curved walk lined with apple trees and roses trained up over metal hoops.

There is also a beautiful secluded children’s garden on the other side of the community centre with a wildlife pond, fruit trees and bushes and flowers and a lovely willow arbour. School children come to the garden to experience nature.

Back2Earth was wound up in 2018 and some of the existing volunteers started the Friends of Harmony Gardens who run the garden in partnership with other organisations like Edible London who are doing a great job right now growing, collecting and distributing food for people in need due to the Covid-19 crisis.

If you want to know more about volunteering in Harmony Gardens please contact:

Harmony gardens video


Since it was first planted in 2012 the Orchard has grown in every sense. There are now 89 trees in total, both very tiny young ones, and much older quite big ones. There are 21 different varieties of fruit and nut altogether.

The following varieties of fruit and nut trees and soft fruits are all growing in the Orchard:
Apple (many different varieties including Heritage Varieties), Apricot, Almond, Blackcurrant, Crab Apple, Cherry Plum, Cherry (several different varieties), Damson, Goji Berry, Gooseberry, Greengage, Jostaberry, Hazel (Turkish and English Hazels), Medlar, Mulberry, Pear (several varieties), Quince, Sweet Chestnut, Sea Buckthorn, Walnut, Wild Service Tree.

Additional trees were planted by local volunteers in the Spring of 2017 and 2018, along with a strip of soft fruit bushes along the eastern fence at Freedom Road. Yet more ‘baby’ fruit trees that had been grafted at a Friends of Lordship Rec workshop in the Spring of 2019 were planted out by local families on our very first Apple Day in October 2019.

Together with Park Staff the Orchard is cared for by a small core of volunteers. They prune, mulch, water, weed, scythe and much more, as the seasons roll on. The Orchard is in a challenging site. It turns into a bog in winter, and the clay soil turns to rock hard concrete in summer.

Nevertheless most of the trees and bushes are doing well, and with plans to develop the Orchard as more of a ‘Forest Garden’, in order to increase its biodiversity and resilience to climate change, there is plenty of work to do. No experience is needed and volunteers are welcomed. We hope to re-start monthly tree-care sessions later in the year, as well as our hands-on skills workshops, such as pruning, planting, grafting, coppicing, rustic fence making, basket weaving etc.

A number of successful Orchard linked Celebrations have been held, such as the Wassail in early January, and Apple Day in October, and we hope to continue with these.

As well as the Orchard many (over 100!) young trees were planted by local people and school children in the Spring and Autumn of 2017 in the 3 fenced areas to the south west of the big main field. This was in order to increase the bio-diversity of the Rec. A range of mostly native species trees, such as Oak, Elm, Wild Service Tree, Alder and Purging Buckthorn, and Hawthorn have already provided habitat for creatures such as the beautiful yellow Brimstone Butterfly, whose only food source is Alder and Purging Buckthorn, and the extraordinary Hummingbird Hawkmoth.

To get more information or to find out how you can get involved contact :

There are other fantastic projects in Tottenham and Haringey:

Growing In Haringey is an informal network for community gardens & anyone promoting sustainable food growing & gardening in Haringey and Sustainable Haringey is an independent informal network for everybody wanting to make Haringey more environmentally sustainable. You will be able to find out about lots of community growing opportunities around the borough on this site:

Priory Common orchard:

See this video about Crop drop , an organisation sourcing and delivering local, organic produce and delivering it to you.


TCV volunteers working with the Friends to prepare containers for new plants to grow in the lake as wildlife habitat.

The Friends have done a few projects to improve the lake as a habitat for wildlife. The most recent project was to add further planting in the north west corner of the lake and to add 2 more planted floating islands.

See friends website:


Every year for many years, the Friends of Lordship Rec, with other growers, have organised the Tottenham Flower and Produce Show. Hundreds of local people, young and old have entered their prize veg, flower arrangements, cakes and bread, jams and pickles, drinks and crafts and taken part in gardening and plant related workshops .

It is uncertain what can happen this year but we will be back as soon as we can or do an alternative appropriate activity!

A delicious foraging recipe – Nettle soup

Young nettles are rich in minerals, including iron, calcium, potassium and zinc. Because of their high protein content they are a good addition to a vegetarian or vegan diet.

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 150g mushrooms if you like them (any edible type) chopped or 1 carrot chopped if preferred
  • 3 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 litre hot vegetable stock (you can make a batch of that the day before. Onions, carrots, celery and leeks are good for stock, but no seasoning)
  • 1 colander of fresh nettle tops
  • salt and pepper


Chop the garlic. Heat the oil in a large heavy bottomed pan over a medium heat and add the onion and cook gently until softened and translucent, but not browned.

Add the mushrooms if you are using them and continue to cook until a little soft. Add the chopped potatoes (and carrot if you are using that) and simmer for a few minutes before adding the hot stock to cover. Simmer gently for 15 minutes until the potatoes are cooked.

Add the nettle tops and chopped garlic and continue to simmer gently for a few minutes until the nettles have wilted. Use a hand blender to blend the soup to a smooth consistency.

Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste, and serve with crusty bread. You could use a dash of coconut milk to make it taste creamy.

Note: Wear gloves to collect your nettles. Do not taste, eat or use any plant unless you are 100% certain it is correctly identified. If there is any doubt, do not use it.

Coronavirus  community support:

Check out this fantastic local organisation, North London Community Consortium that is doing so much to support our community.





The Hub Huddle: Power to the People!

News, info, thoughts and links from Lordship Hub, Lordship Rec and Central Tottenham

9th May 2020

We can all feel very fortunate and inspired by living in a neighbourhood that has such a great history of community initiatives to improve the local area for the people living in it, which still continues to this day. Looking around us, the fruits of past struggles and campaigns by local people can be seen and enjoyed everywhere. In this blog, we will look at just a few.


A brief History

The first part of Tower Gardens Estate was started in 1903 by the London County Council and it was its first ‘garden suburb”.  It was originally built for the rehousing of working class residents from the slums of Whitechapel in Tower Hamlets (which is the connection to the name Tower Gardens). The money for the project came from a Jewish philanthropist who had been a Liberal MP for Whitechapel demanding that the working class residents should be rehoused, without distinction of race or creed. By 1915 there were 963 homes. The chief architect, WE Riley was strongly influenced by William Morris’s Arts and Crafts movement and Garden City, ideals which gave Tower Gardens its special character. Building stopped during the first world war which took a heavy toll on the working population. As a result the Estate was extended, named the White Hart Lane Estate and continued to the 1930s with a total of 2229 dwellings.

Residents get organised

An active Tenants’ Association, The White Hart Lane Estate Welfare Association, was founded in 1919. The rents were relatively high and rates had to paid on top, and the Association took up this and other issues like the lack of electricity on the Estate. They campaigned for a community hall (which they did not get) and used local school facilities to meet where they organised many community events including sports, whist drives, dances and flower shows. They also had their own savings and loan club with 800 members. The Association continued to be active into the 1960s and since then new groups have developed to support the Estate and its residents.

The Tower Gardens Estate Conservation Committee was very active in the 1980s successfully lobbying for conservation of the estate’s historic character. The Tower Garden Residents’ Network was set up in 1998 fighting for improvements and tenure on the estate, and building up community mutual aid and solidarity. There were meetings, bulletins and surveys and much successful campaigning for traffic calming measures, re-opening of a derelict allotment site, and safety in Tower Gardens Park – and support for the founding of the Friends of Lordship Rec in 2001.

Then the Tower Gardens Residents Group was set up and is still active today.

See this link for a more detailed history

Friends of Tower Gardens Park


There is an active Friends Group in Tower Gardens Park with local people taking control of the area that had become very neglected and dangerous. They organise regular clean up and gardening days and have lobbied and worked with the council to share their vision for their park to make it a wonderful place for local residents to enjoy. A Community Action Plan has been developed devised and agreed by all (see below).
Friends of Tower Gardens Park:Email:
Twitter at @TowerFriends


The history of Broadwater Farm Estate is so much more than just riots, It predates them and includes the tireless work of many residents working to make it a safe and decent place to live, and running popular activities for children and young people.

Broadwater Farm Estate showing the beautiful waterfall mural by Bernette Hall and
Donald Taylor
, 1991

Broadwater Farm Estate was built in 1967. Because it was built in a river valley subject to flooding, the concrete blocks were built off the ground. The first floor was linked by interconnecting walkways, with other walkways above that made the lower ones very dark. Shops were also on the first floor so there was really no connection with ground level that limited a feeling of true community. There were few facilties. By 1973 conditions on the estate had deteriorated and became damp and pest infested. The hidden, dark walkways became a hotspot for criminal behaviour. Unemployment on the estate was high. People did not want to move onto the estate.

The residents take control

The authorities wanted to demolish the estate but many residents fought against this. Community leaders emerged, determined to revive the Estate and challenge its poor reputation and in 1981 the Broadwater Farm Youth Association (BWFYA), founded by Dolly Kiffin, including a young Clasford Stirling, MBE who still puts so much into Lordship Rec’s sports field and the estate today. The Youth Association set up a youth club and advice centre and began to lobby for change. Eventually the Council saw the wisdom of working with the residents to deal with concerns together.

Breaking point

However, despite all the advances made, underlying problems still persisted, the Afro-Caribbean community still suffered disproportionate disadvantage and unemployment was high. There was growing distrust of police. Raids on members of the black community were common and it was during one of these raids that Cynthia Jarrett, the mother of a young man who was a member of the Youth Association, collapsed and died. Residents planned a peaceful demonstration outside Tottenham Police Station but their progress was blocked and a state of siege existed that caused an escalation that culminated in the death of a policeman, PC Keith Blakelock. An inquiry found that policing and police attitudes needed to change, and recommended improvements to the estate (and to Lordship Rec).

Building on the previous good work of the Youth Association, work began with the council to take action to improve living conditions on the estate, adding a community centre, health centre, neighbourhood office, and enterprise centre and by 1993 the walkways were removed, shops were moved to ground level and concierges and children’s play areas were introduced. The Youth Association established a remembrance garden for those affected by the riots, murals were created and training and enterprise initiatives were set up with local labour being used to do the renovations. And Broadwater Farm Residents Association was set up and is still active today.

Since that time the estate has become a much safer place and until the decision was made to demolish a couple of the blocks that were deemed of dangerous construction, the estate has always been full. There is now an excellent school with an integrated campus for children with disabilities and a great children’s centre. Clasford Stirling and others continue to do amazing work with young people and families and run several youth football teams for boys and girls.

For more detail see this blog about the history of Broadwater Farm

To make history come alive, take this local Community Empowerment Walk

Locally-made film about Broadwater Farm
Local community artist, Wendy Charlton made this fantastic film The Farm – Narratives of Home, telling the stories of 4 residents on Broadwater Farm in collaboration with local spoken word artist, Abe Gibson.

A long history of local involvement that has transformed the park landscape and also the relationship between residents and the council.

Community Action in Lordship Rec
After years of Government cuts to public services, Lordship Rec had deteriorated. Facilities were inadequate and there was no staffing. In the 1990s, Broadwater Farm Estate residents drove forward regeneration on their estate and in the park. They organised multicultural festivals in the new community centre and in the park. Broadwater United football teams multiplied and they began to manage the sports pitch in the Rec. Local people helped to plant the current Woodland at the south of the park. Some physical improvements were then made in the Rec with drainage in the main field and a new BMX track but chronic lack of staffing and maintenance continued. The Mother & Toddler Group took over the disused small park building by the lake as play a facility and they continue to hold sessions in the Hub today.

 The creation of the Friends of Lordship Rec
In 2001 the Friends of Lordship Rec was formed, inspired by the work of the Friends of Downhills Park and the successes on the neighbouring estates (see above). The aim was to raise the profile of this ailing space and to make improvements to encourage local people to use the park again. The Friends raised money for projects like the regeneration of the lake area and the creation of a rustic track through the woodland along with information boards. They also organised annual festivals and conservation workdays in the park to engage local people. This has resulted in a number of volunteer groups across the rec, co-managing different areas like the orchard, the woodland, the spinney, the meadows, the river and the lake and encouraged sports and music groups to develop activities in the park which generated activities such as Bike Fest, Youth Fest, One World Folk Festival, Jazz Fest and Blockorama to name but a few.

The Lordship Rec Users Forum was set up in 2002 involving the Friends, other park user groups and local community organisations and Haringey Council. The Forum has met monthly since that time, being a place where coordinated discussion takes place about park improvements and the general running of the Rec. Through the Forum the Friends and others co-manage the park with the Council. A vision for community-led regeneration was developed through the Forum and this later became the blueprint for a bid made to the Heritage Lottery Fund for the major regeneration works in the Rec to bring old features back to life and to introduce new ones and make the Rec the fantastic place it is today. To demonstrate local demands to make our local park fit for purpose again, the forum brought everyone together to organise a large “Restore the Rec Festival” in 2008 involving around 4000 people.

A huge photo opportunity at the “Restore the Rec” Festival in 2008. So many people wanted to have their say!

In 2012, this culminated in the present refurbishment of the Shell Theatre, Model Traffic Area and main entrance, including the old toilet block on Lordship Lane that is now a bicycle project, Rockstone Bike Hut, and the introduction of a new bike dirt track and a beautiful new Hub building. Not least was the creation of a new channel for the Moselle River with bridges and water plants. After the works 8,000 local people attended a Lordship Rec ‘Re-launch’ Community Festival in September 2012.

For more information see the BBC Countryfile broadcast about the Rec:

Or check out the Friends of Lordship Rec website:

Downhills shelter memorial

An active member of the Friends of Lordship Rec, now sadly deceased, Ray Swain, spent a lot of time dedicated to finding information about a terrible tragedy that happened in the Rec during World War II. A bomb fell during an air raid and entered the ventilator shaft of a shelter, killing many local people. This information had been suppressed during the war and the loss of over 40 people had never been commemorated until Ray sought out the information and set about contacting relatives. So many people were so grateful to him and the Friends appealed for money to create a permanent memorial that you can now see on the path by the woodland in the Rec, carved by a local sculptor Gary March. The photo above is of the commemoration event organised by the Friends and attended by families of the victims and some survivors with the memorial sculpture inset.

To find out other interesting bits of local history see the fantastic website that Ray and his brother created. It is a mine of fascinating information and photographic evidence.

Residents, still doing it for themselves

Lordship Hub is the jewel in the crown of the park improvements made in 2012 and is the perfect base from which to continue the regeneration of the park and the wider area. The Friends had not at first intended to run the Hub but just wanted to be a partner in it, but as no appropriate tenant came forward, it seemed obvious that if it was to become a truly community building then we had to take it on. Over the past 6 years, hundreds of people have had a hand in making the Hub what it is today. The Hub is run as a cooperative and all users are welcome as members. The aim of the Hub is empowerment of people and the strengthening of our community, allowing people the opportunity to get involved and be part of a collective movement for change. On the one hand it is a café with rooms available for parties, classes and events but on the other hand it is the support and base for all the voluntary groups in the park and also a place where people can volunteer, learn new skills and feel committed to their community. Long may it thrive!


One bit of Coronavirus support on masks and mask making:

For the future, we want to chronicle the lock down with examples of neighbourhood projects you have been involved in, moments of collective joy and new skills you or your family have developed or shared during lockdown be it fabulous artwork, crafts or poetry/prose or delicious cookery (with recipes). Send photos, documents or videos to

The Hub Huddle: The Birds in the Trees

News, info, thoughts and links from Lordship Hub, Lordship Rec and Central Tottenham

1st May 2020

Welcome to the the ‘Hub Huddle’, and hope you are keeping safe and well

This week, a member of the Friends of Lordship Rec and keen amateur bird watcher takes us on a bird walk through Lordship Rec woodland, following the lovely Wildlife Walk round the rec, taking in all the places where wildlife habitats are. (see below)

Over the last week the wonderful array of trees in the Rec have been coming into full leaf.  The greens are stunning, but its now harder to spot the birds that are singing out to attract mates and defend territories.   Many pairs of Robins, Blackbirds, Wrens, Great Tits and Blue Tits are resident in the Rec all year around and breed here, and its hard to miss their full-voice singing if you walk through and around the Rec’s wooded areas.    In the last couple of weeks summer visitors have joined the residents, including the ChiffChaff.   The bird may be hard to see but you can tune in to their song which, as the name suggests, is a repetition of two notes in an irregular, sing-song pattern:   chiff-chaff. chiff-chaff chiff-chaff ……  Some Chiffchaffs overwinter in the UK but most overwinter in the Mediterranean or even Africa, so they may have come all that way to the Rec.

Also, in the beautiful hawthorn hedges around the rec you will not miss the sound of all the sparrows who love to hide in there where they feel safe.

A Wildlife walk around the Rec produced by the Friends of Lordship Rec
On the lake
We were lucky to have 3 pairs of Tufted Ducks joining the more common Mallard ducks on the lake last week. They stayed around for a couple of weeks, but they seem to have moved on now probably to somewhere more secluded. Tufted Ducks have occasionally been seen on the Lake before but haven’t stayed as long as this.  The  male is black with white flanks and a long tuft at the back of the head, hence the name, whilst the female is entirely chocolate-brown.   Will they stick around or have to find somewhere more secluded to breed?

See if you can recognise the birdsong

Some Friends of Lordship Rec conservation contacts :
Friends of Lordship Rec: an open, public group which works to monitor, improve and develop the Rec through supporting volunteering and park activities. In ordinary times,  the Friends meet on 1st Sunday of every month at Lordship Hub:

Lordship Rec Wildlife Group: a group involved in caring for and surveying all things natural in the Rec and increasing biodiversity. In ordinary times the group meets at Lordship Hub at 12-1pm on 2nd Thursday of the month:
Woodland Group: hold regular work days to manage the Woodland near Downhills Park Road and welcome new volunteers:
Orchard Group: do regular work days and training to manage the Orchard and other Rec trees, organise celebrations of nature and welcome new volunteers:

All Lordship Rec groups and activities can be seen on

Survey of Rec wildlife done by Friends of Lordship Rec

How to get involved in helping or getting help in the community

The Hub Huddle: The Model traffic area


News, info, thoughts and links from Lordship Hub, Lordship Rec and Central Tottenham

24th April 2020

Hi everyone. We hope this finds you well.

Welcome to the the ‘Hub Huddle’, keeping you connected to the Hub and Lordship Rec in these difficult and disconnected times.

We thought we would start with a bit of historical fun. A celebration of our unique Model Traffic Area. Pre-WW2 and pre-Pandemic, in 1938, the Minister of Transport, opens this fantastic new facility for the “kiddies” of Tottenham, the world’s first!. This sensational video is real, I promise!

Original Model Traffic Area

Bike Fest in 2013 celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the Model Traffic Area

The bike theme continues in the rec today:
Rockstone Bike Workshop by the Lordship Lane Gate, where you can learn about how to mend your bike, get your bike fixed, buy or hire a bike: 020 8802 5642. Rockstone also run Brakethru Cycling Club, special cycle sessions for adults with a disability.
Wheely Tots a bike based charity who work with families supporting them to be healthy confident and resilient:
Tottenham BMX Club use the Lordship Rec loop track to train bmxers:
Cycle Confident a Council run bike organisation running cycle skills sessions in the Rec:, 020 3031 6730.

For the future, we want to chronicle the lock down with examples of neighbourhood projects you have been involved in, moments of collective joy and new skills you or your family have developed or shared during lockdown be it fabulous artwork, crafts or poetry/prose or delicious cookery (with recipes). Send photos, documents or videos to