The Establishment of The Friends
The Friends of the Parkland Walk is an association formed in 1988 when the linear park was threatened by a plan to build a dual carriageway along its route.
The threat was withdrawn following a vigorous and well-supported campaign by the FPW and a sea change in transport thinking. For a while the Friends continued with conservation work in association with British Trust for Conservation Volunteers, now renamed The Conservation Volunteers (TCV), then became dormant. In 2004 the 50th anniversary of the last passenger train was celebrated with a festival on the Walk and the idea for re-invigorating the Friends started. It is now re-established and dedicated to preserving the unique character of the Walk, and resolving issues around investment in, and management of the Walk after years of under-investment.
The FPW officially came alive again in 2007 and monitored proposals to invest in the infrastructure of the Walk. Now the group is part of the Capital Ring of the London Walking Forum's network and has worked with Haringey and Islington plus consultants working on their behalf. The refurbishment is now complete and is being monitored.
The FPW is affiliated to TCV which also means the Friends can enjoy their insurance arrangements for jointly run activities. It obtained grant aid to provide more information boards about aspects of the Parkland Walk in conjunction with conservation staff.
General aims and activities
The aim of the Friends is to achieve balance between its often competing roles as a nature reserve, linear park, footpath and cycle route. It also sponsors guided walks and wishes to develop its educational value and help people appreciate its worth.
We are monitoring improvement schemes (three of the FPW committee are on the project steering group) and the Ashmount School relocation project.
Encroachment is one of the biggest threats to the Walk. We are engaged with the relevant staff to defend the Walk against developers and others taking land away from public enjoyment.
We continue to be involved in the development of the Management Plan that covers both local authority (Haringey and Islington) areas. We believe this should be more than just an ecological study but should also take in the style of signs, entrances and other issues of clearance and maintenance of scrub and overshadowing.
We would like to sponsor a bird survey following the pattern of the one done for Queen’s Wood.
We undertake litter collection and vegetation control, with the help of volunteers, but are aware that a balance needs to be struck between our involvement and the responsibilities of the local councils.
Links with other organisations
We are in the process of establishing more formal links with residents associations adjacent to the walk. Some organisations such as Muswell Hill and Fortis Green Association have a long history of caring for the area and members regularly patrol The Parkland Walk in Muswell Hill clearing litter and removing graffiti.