There are many different ways in which you can contribute to the care of the Parkland Walk. Of course the most obvious is to take part in conservation tasks but there are many other ways of contributing and we are always on the look out for anyone who can help us in some way. To see what sessions are in store, scroll down to 'Conservation dates coming up'.
The Friends run a conservation session on the morning of the second Saturday of the month. The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) are a national volunteer organisation with a group based in Haringey and they carry out conservation activities across the Borough on Tuesdays and Thursdays. They usually work on the Parkland Walk twice a month. Dates for conservation sessions are displayed on our Activities page. The work generally involves litter clearing, tree and shrub trimming, edge maintenance, entrance clearance, planting and occasionally very specific tasks such as building ponds or custom habitats for bees, bugs and bats. No previous experience is needed and we will guide everyone through use of tools and what the task is and why we are doing it. If there is a project that you would like to be considered for a work party please do get in touch. Providing it falls within the criteria outlined in the council's Management Plan for the Walk, we will try to give it our attention.
We operate an annual survey of butterflies over half of the Parkland Walk every summer. Until 2016 one of our members carried out an informal bird survey. In 2015 David Bevan carried out a flora survey and in 2016 we began setting night camera traps to monitor wildlife activity. All of these surveys provide useful information that we can use locally and information is shared with London and National Ecological Data gathering organisations. Much of this work can be carried out by amateurs. If you are interested in this aspect we can put you in touch with some of our volunteers who will happily take you under their wing and help you get up to speed.
Communications and technical assistance
One of our aims is to offer people an opportunity to come to a greater understanding of nature and wildlife. Part of this is achieved by developing a comprehensive resource of information via our website or through articles in our email newsletter. Our website is currently built using Joomla! and we would be interested to talk to any experts in that field of web development so that we can improve and develop the site.
Community Involvement and education
We are currently looking for someone who would be interested in overseeing educational sessions. We would like to be able to offer short sessions for children so that they can explore and discover nature. Many children can be intimidated by creepy crawlies, but after a short fun introduction become enthralled by what nature has to offer.
The Parkland Walk is a gift for a talented creative writer. It was formally a railway, is a home to wildlife and we shouldn't forget the Spriggan and the heritage of folklore that is associated with trees and flowers. It's Thomas the Tank engine meets Wind in the Willows meets Stephen King. We would love to hear from anyone who could write a story that could be read to children on the Walk and better still a storyteller who would take children on a story walk.
The Wildlife and Nature Trail - guardians
We are also creating a small Wildlife and Nature Trail off to the side of the path in Highgate where we can provide on site information about the ecology and how it works. This will involve a path that snakes around the plot with items of interest such as bug hotels, hedgehog habitats a pond, bird boxes and feeding station and a variety of wildflowers. Informal signs will explain the habitats and we hope to encourage people to adopt ideas into their own garden plans so that they see their garden as an extension and very valuable part of the natural realm. Such a site will need both regular maintenance and guardianship. It is inevitable that such an area will also appeal to those who would treat it in an anti-social manner. To ensure the site remains in good condition we would like to create a group who would be prepared to check on the plot on a regular basis, remove litter, report damage to us or the council and alert the authorities if there is a need. This should be a great asset to the community but we realise it will need special support. An organised group of local people could be key to its future.
We also like to organise guided walks. The committee are quite stretched at times and would welcome someone who could take on the role of events organiser. This could be as simple as just researching potential guides and putting together a schedule of 4 or 5 guided walks a year (we already have some names of local experts).
We are rolling out a scheme to try to tackle the build up of litter by appointing 'Litter Marshals'. We provide a litter picking tool, gloves, bags and a Friends of Parkland Walk tabard and also a set of good practice guidelines with contact details for when the task is too large or outside the boundaries we set for health and safety of volunteers. Marshals litter pick at whatever times suit them - some take advantage of the walk home after dropping the kids off at school. This makes a huge difference to the experience of users and also helps people realise that the Friends and the local community play an important role in maintaining the Walk.
Charity status and fund raising
The Friends are just a voluntary group and do not have charitable status. We are considering the possible advantages of becoming a charity and would welcome the assistance of someone who works specifically in this area and the area of fundraising.
Tree management is extremely important but also extremely expensive. The Council is only able to deal with emergency tree works but there are areas where tree thinning is required to meet the guidelines in the Management Plan. This has to be done by licensed professionals. Are you a professional willing to give one day towards work on the Walk? We would like to hear from you so that we can create a directory of professionals so that we can consider tackling tasks that are outside the ability of amateurs.
Conservation Days coming up
Tuesday 9th October, 10.00 - 15.00 Stroud Green.
TCV back again clearing bramble. Free tea and biscuits. MAP
Thursday 11th October, 10.00 - 15.00 Stroud Green.
TCV. It's never a one day job, but judging by this year's regrowth we are weakening the dominance of bramble and are seeing an improvement in wildflower presence. Free tea and biscuits. MAP
Saturday 13th October, 10.00 - 12.00 Stroud Green.
You guessed it! Picking up from TCV's last session the Friends will be back to keep up the good work. MAP
Thursday 18th September, 10.00 - 15.30 Islington Crouch Hill*.
Sowing woodland flower seeds and other Autumn tasks on the Spriggan banks. MAP
Saturday 10th November, 10.00 - 12.00 Muswell Hill.
Cutting back excess ash and sycamore saplings and cutting back bramble on the viaduct. Meet on the Walk behind Pure Gym. Run by the Friends MAP
Tuesday 20th November, 10.00 - 15.00 Muswell Hill.
TCV. Cutting back excess ash and sycamore saplings, reshaping and lining some small ponds and cutting back bramble on the viaduct. Meet behind Pure Gym. Free tea and biscuits. MAP
Thursday 22nd November, 10.00 - 15.00 The Wildlife Trail at the Highgate end of the Walk. MAP
TCV. Erecting a gate and/or noticeboard into the site and other tasks around the trail including erecting a bird feeding station. Drop in for as long as you want.
Thursday 22nd November, 10.00 - 15.30 Islington Crouch Hill*.
A late autumn tidy and clean up. MAP
All Islington Nature Conservation Team's events for the autumn can be found in their Autumn Volunteer Newsletter