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!