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 is coming up, 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 ale 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
Sunday 15th January, 10.00 - 14.00 We will be combining with TCV volunteers to carry out essential management of the meadow area in Stroud Green. MAP
Thursday 19th January, 10.30 - 15.30 Islington Nature Conservation Team are coppicing hazel and elder along the path. This is a traditional technique which allows more light to the ground to encourage flowers to come up, and increases the life of the trees. We will also manage the ivy in certain trees.*
Saturday 21st, 10.00 - 12.00 The second of our two sessions to reduce bramble growth on the meadow area in Stroud Green. MAP
Tuesday 24th January, 10.00 - 15.00 Join TCV volunteers for the final session on the meadow area in Stroud Green. MAP
Wednesday 1st February, 10.00 - 12.00 TCV will begin construction of the pond on the Wildlife Trail MAP
Saturday or Sunday 11th/12th February 10.00 - 12.00. Friends session TBA. We will most likely only run one of these sessions so please let us know which you would prefer. In the past a number of people have said they can't make the Saturday and we're considering whether to make Sunday a regular option.
Tuesday 28th February, 10.00 - 15.00 Join TCV volunteers planting whips along the boundary of the Wildlife Trail. MAP
March - The Wildlife Trail takes shape and National Litter Campaign
We will be working closely with The Conservation Volunteers over the first 2 weeks of March to establish a wood chip path around the Nature Trail site. We will secure a raised path perimeter made from suitable limbs felled from trees and fill the space with wood chip. We will also be creating a number of 'dead hedges' to establish a boundary with the main Parkland Walk Path. TCV and their Biodiversity Action Teams are active across the borough handling more structural tasks associated with sites like ours, so if that appeals to you do drop in and give the team a hand. MAP
Friday 3rd March - Sunday 5th March This is National Keep Britain Tidy Litter Campaign Weekend. We'll be putting on a litter pick session on one of the weekend days and you can join us, but if you have areas near you that need clearing why not get a team of neighbours together and organise your own event. Let us know your plans and we'll give you a hand getting bags, gloves and litter picking tools - all free.
Thursday 9th March, 10.30 - 15.30 Islington Nature Conservation Team are carrying out a variety of Spring Management tasks*. Meet at the Crouch Hill entrance opposite Ella Road.