Meet the Network

In the first of a regular series of articles and films one of our volunteers, Joachim Ottow, went for a walk around Alexandra Park with Stephen Middleton, National Park City Maker, and long time member of the hard-working Friends of Alexandra Park.

Alexandra Palace - most people will associate it with the gigs, parties or the ice skating rink. A lot of people have walked in the surrounding park and enjoyed diverse landscapes, some of the 694 species of flora and fauna living there or marvelled at the views of London. Lesser known is the volunteering organisation Friends of Alexandra Park.
We met with Stephen Middleton, one of the members of the committee who joined the Friends 9 years ago. During our tour of the park he explained how they are collaborating with the Alexandra Park and Palace Charitable Trust, how they associate with local groups and their thoughts on the London National Park City.
The Friends is a relatively large group of about 300 members and its main focus is to promote the use of the park and encourage conservation of its biodiversity. Among other things, they organise themed tours for visitors that highlight the park's natural diversity and history. These walks revolve around themes like trees, fungi, or are aimed at kids, namely bat walks or bug hunts. During this year's Park Fair they helped kids making masks and had a photo competition, where photos of current locations had to be married up to their (very) old counter parts. Exemplifying how much change the park has gone through in a few decades. 

Planting trees, identifying diseases and organising work parties are other ways they contribute to the Park. Some of these activities are done at an individual level and personal initiatives are welcomed. The strong engagement of the Friends has helped them gather a wealth of information about the local biodiversity. There is a high number of non-native species of flora to be found, many have been identified in a Friends initiative to uncover the variety of trees in the park. Sections of the park have also been setup as native woodland where continued efforts are made to keep evasive species out. All of this work however is not one-sided. The Trust facilitates the Friends letting them use the Visitor Centre for a nominal sum. The Park Manager meets monthly to discuss Park issues and to work together on future strategies.
There are meetings on a local level at Haringey Parks Forum (part of London Friends of Greenspaces Network) which connect local green spaces and their friends groups with each other and the local council. There are also collaborations with TCV (The Conservation Volunteers) on work parties to volunteer in the park.

While the Friends are quite involved with other green spaces in London, they see an important role for the London National Park City: They see great opportunities for local groups, organisations and businesses within a platform that stimulates interconnecting groups and promotes new ideas that can help engage audiences.
If you are interested in learning more about the Friends you can meet Stephen on Sat 19th of October where he is helping to organise the Gathering* in Conway Hall!
Park Visitor Centre is open 2pm to 4pm on Sundays and 1st Saturday of the month when we are on Summer Time. Park Visitor Centre is open 11am to 1pm on Sundays and 1st Saturday of the month when we are on Winter Time. Follow @FriendsAllyPark on Twitter to receive updates and read excerpts from a 19 year old diary by a former Alexandra Park ranger.  Read more at

Stephen was interviewed by Joachim Ottow

Pin It

This website uses cookies.