What the actual...have they done to Parkland Walk?

Massive amount of cutting down, removing trees, shrubs, habitats, to widen long stretches of this previously beautiful space have turned it into some city theme park and will encourage even more people onto it, faster cyclists, more joggers etc etc.

Thoroughly miserable idea akin to road-widening - which always attracts more traffic.

Anyone know who was responsible for this vandalism and whether there was any consultation? This has always been so well-managed in the past and I'm deeply upset by what's been done here.


  • I've forwarded your comment to the Chair of the Friends of the Parkland Walk, lets see what she says.
  • Pretty sure it's part of maintainence work on the paths and the bridges in particular which are being repaired.

    Also, cutting down trees, clearance work is needed to keep 'forest' healthy - in particular to allow new growth or get rid of infection.

    There's both the Friends of Parkland Walk and a preservation organisation working regularly on maintaining the walk - I'm sure there are good reasons for it.
  • Thanks both. This looks like nothing I've seen in previous years. I understand new growth and maintenance, and I appreciate the conservationists do a superb and caring job, but I'd be very surprised if that's all this is. Extremely happy to be corrected.
  • It looks like the undergrowth has been cut by some sort of monster machine and it has made the path much wider. Bramble picking will be off the agenda for a few years
  • I did write to the Chair of the PW who is a neighbour suggesting she reply on here, but unfortunately she says she is completely phobic about social media and reluctant to do so. I don't have any further contact details for the Friends of the PW, otherwise I would recommend sending a letter on parchment with a reply-paid envelope.
  • ,' but unfortunately she says she is completely phobic about social media and reluctant to do so..'.should she really be chair of anything with that attitude?
  • To be fair, I imagine it's all voluntary, and it's not a question of "I want to be the chair but I'm not going to talk to anyone", but rather, "Oh alright, I'm the only one who has any time and energy to be the chair but I'm not very good at social media".

    However, as @Ali reports, this still looks like leagues different from any previous considerate land management, and much more like habitat vandalism on a large scale.
  • grennersgrenners Ferme Park Road, N4
    It will grow back fairly quickly.
  • It's the same volunteers I'm sure - likely as noted the bridge repairs project are involved
  • Statement now from Cathy Meeus, Chair of Friends of the Parkland Walk, posted on Facebook:

    Hi Gary and anyone else who shares concerns about the path edge clearance. The background is this: The vegetation around the bridges needed to be cleared prior to surveys and eventual repairs in order to prevent further structural damage. Notices to this effect have been on the Walk for many months. At the same time the Haringey parks department decided to cut back vegetation at the sides of the path where it was causing bottlenecks and preventing social distancing by the increased number of users - an important consideration.

    The Friends did not object to this in principle, since we were unable in the current lockdown to undertake path edge works ourselves. However, the works have been more extreme than we anticipated and less sensitively carried out. I have made our views known the the council. Any comments should be forwarded to them.

    It is a misapprehension that the FPW was the motivating force behind this clearance.

    I would also like to add that I am confident that much of the greenery will recover in the spring, though sadly not the elders (this distresses me too). Be assured that the Friends are committed to the preservation of the nature reserve, but in reality have no legal power to enforce or prevent the council managing the Walk in whichever way they consider advisable.

    Cathy Meeus, Chair of Friends of the Parkland Walk
  • Fair enough comment from Cathy, and I really didn't expect them to be the culprits as the work they've done over the years has always filled me with confidence. I wonder whether Haringey sought any advice before this "more extreme" work and whether they did what ever was required in terms of the area being an SSSI? I'll be following it up with them.
  • Haringey council are completely useless in every aspect of management.

    Apart from the bins. At least they seem to be run ok.
  • The bins??? Not so fast, @LukeG! Haringey contracts the bins out to the rubbish business that is a rubbish business: Veolia. They are experts in missed collections, leaving your emptied bins in stupid places (on your wall, or blocking your path, for example), and leaving your front gate open.
  • grennersgrenners Ferme Park Road, N4
    To be fair they probably do a better job than if Haringey tried to do it themselves.
  • To be fair, “to be fair” seems to have become the universal preface to a vacuous comment.
  • grennersgrenners Ferme Park Road, N4
    Haringey Council are good at things like renaming streets and making their logo look like a rainbow and other virtue signalling nonsense at the cost of the tax payer.
  • I can feel a new thread bubbling up inside...

  • To be fair, they probably do a better job than if a blind-folded polar bear with a stick up its arse tried to do it.
  • I've received a response from Haringey Parks Department here. To be fair it is quite detailed and was quite swift. You can see that they claim that the work was fully supported by Friends of Parkland Walk, but as we've seen from Cathy Meeus' comment they were not so happy after the fact and have made their opinion known, so this is a tad disingenuous. However, I'm not sure anything can be gained from pursuing this much further as the damage has been well and truly done.

    Full response below:

    Question: I would like an explanation from the Council as to why an SSSI area has been vandalised by your department with excessive cutting back, causing destruction of habitats and elderflowers.

    Response: Parkland Walk was designated a Local Nature Reserve(LNR) in 1990 it is not a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). LNRs are managed for nature conservation, and provide opportunities for research and education, or simply enjoying and having contact with nature. SSSI’s usually have an area of particular interest to science due to the rare species of fauna or flora it contains - or even important geological or physiological features. A SSSI has biodiversity features which a LNR doesn’t.

    The cutting back has not been excessive. It has however been to a slightly further extent to that which it has been cut back in recent years, however this has been agreed through discussions with the Friends of Parkland Walk (up to 2m each side of the main path and all access points along both sections of the Walk) and also in response to a number of enquiries we have received from local councillors on behalf of residents and Walk users complaining that there is insufficient space to enable social distancing because of vegetation encroaching the paths.

    The vegetation clearance on and within 5m of every bridge is very specifically to enable survey work, bridge repair works and to protect the bridges from further vegetation encroachment which undermines their structural integrity.

    Question: Was there any consultation?

    Response: There was not a formal consultation, but new signage was erected along the length of Parkland Walk in October.

    The cutting back of vegetation in Haringey’s parks and green spaces is a regular maintenance operation that does not need to be consulted upon and is part of the day to day function and business of the parks service. Ward councillors and the Friends of Parkland Walk have been made aware of the proposed vegetation clearance, site signage has been in place for the last two years at every entrance informing people that these works would be taking place over a number of years.

    Where the repair works to the bridges is deemed to be ‘maintenance’, again no consultation has taken place, however where significant works and changes are likely to result, such as at Stanhope Road bridge where the existing bridge will have to be removed and a new bridge put in its place, then yes, a full and comprehensive consultation exercise has taken place and is still in the process of taking place. This is also on our Parkland Walk webpages, and again the ward councillors and Friends have been consulted and are fully aware. A letter was sent out to residents who live close to where the proposed bridge works will take place.

    Question: Who was responsible?

    Response: The Parks Service commissioned this work from a specialist landscape contractor. The council’s Nature Conservation Officer was fully aware of and involved in the process.

    Question: Which stakeholders were involved in the decision?

    Response: The decision to undertake the works was made by the parks service, but as stated above the friends and users of Parkland Walk, ward councillors and residents living close to the bridges were made aware of the proposed works.

    Question: I am very concerned that not only has it destroyed a beautiful local asset, but it has attracted even more cyclists, joggers and pedestrians to the path, which means that in the few remaining pinch points there is serious congestion at a time of pandemic.

    Response: The increase in winter usage can be ascribed to the lockdown and more people taking exercise on Parkland Walk. This is also the case in our other parks, such as Finsbury Park which has been extraordinarily busy during the winter months. It seems highly unlikely that there are more Parkland Walk users because the vegetation has been cut back. Cutting back the vegetation has enabled social distancing to be more easily achieved at a time of unprecedented winter usage.

    Question: Who sanctioned it?

    Response: Senior managers in the council’s Parks Service. The decision was fully supported by the Friends of Parkland Walk and was ratified by the Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Equalities and Leisure.

    Question: What monitoring of its effect on footfall and on wildlife is there going forward?

    As part of the Local Plan a borough-wide review of Sites of Importance to Nature Conservation (SINCs) will be taking place this year. This process will include an assessment of the designation of Parkland Walk. A new Biodiversity Action Plan will also be produced.

    Finally I should add that with the increased use of Parkland Walk and the need to socially distance it is our view that the vegetation clearance has been beneficial to the whole community. The vegetation along the edges, including the elder, will grow back; the Local Nature Reserve has not been destroyed. It has had some maintenance works undertaken. It will be cut back regularly each year to continue to prevent vegetation from encroaching on the parks, steps, ramps, bridges and structures.

    Alistair Smith
    Park Projects Officer
    Environment & Neighbourhoods
    Haringey Council
  • I think we are seeing the problem of having the Parks Departmnet looking after a Nature Reserve.

    The Management Plan certainly wasn't written by a conservation officer, the council just regards it as a park


    The history section in the document I dont think mentions the Dept of Transport's attempt to build a dual carriage on it from Finchley down teh walk and over SS road alongside and above the Railway at Gilespie Park down to a juction with Holloway Road.
    That was in the early 90s.

  • The Parks Department has bad form in this respect. Nature and the aesthetics of urban wilderness are alien to them. They are in favour of neat, tidy, mown, trimmed, gravelled, clean edges, inoffensive. Years ago they destroyed the two most beautiful trees in the American Gardens area of Finsbury Park for no reason. Yuk.
  • Seems like complaints about trees and vegetation get taken more seriously at Haringey Council than any other matter (see local trees being cut down over minor complaints regularly).
  • Dear all,

    If you are dismayed by the extreme and unnecessary way Haringey Council have destroyed vegetation, felled trees, cut branches and widened the path for future bridge work on the Parkland Walk, please join us tomorrow for a photo opportunity with the Ham&High newspaper at:

    2pm, Saturday 6 March on top of the bridge at Ferme Park Road entrance, (over the road from Londis).

    Make a smaller sign or banner if you can please.

    Best wishes
  • Who is “us”?
    “Smaller” than what?
  • Sorry I missed this. Hope you had a good turn out. Keep us posted please @Toddlesocks
  • Hi all it had a good turnout considering organised so quick . Update from Giovanna who organised it.

    Date: Sat, 6 Mar 2021 at 19:49

    Dear all,

    It was WONDERFUL to see everyone today on the Parkland Walk Protest and thanks for coming along. I have attached some great pictures from some of you so thanks for taking them (Gary, Carl, Julian and others) and sending them to me. 

    Wonderful to hear words from Anna (hope that's right?), one of the original protectors of the Parkland Walk in the 1980s- showing us how we need to continue fighting to protect our green spaces as the Climate Crisis grows ever deeper.

    Do let me know if you have something you want to say to the journalist Sam Volpe from the Ham&High - so I can share your words and feelings with him. I will of course let you know when the piece goes live. (Hope it does)

    Next steps?
    Do contact Kirsten Ahearn (Climate councillor) and Catherine West MP (CC'D) about your concerns for Haringey's slash and burn approach to our green spaces. 

    Do email David Theakston, the man in charge of these works to express your concern. David.Theakston@haringey.gov.uk (the senior Parks Development Manager) and CC in Alex Fraser Alex Fraser (Tree & Nature Conservation Manager) alex.fraser@haringey.gov.uk

    Social media
    Do share your pictures on social media tagging the following if you're on Twitter: 


    Guardians of the Green

    On Facebook share pictures on the Friends of the Parkland Walk page and your own pages, also 
    Islington Friends of Parks

    SHIFT - Haringey's Tree Campaign Group
    Please do support the Shift Facebook page, set up by Glenys Law who led the group who saved Oaks in Queens Woods - they have various campaigns going including trying to put a moratorium on all trees planned to be felled by the council. https://www.facebook.com/SHIFT-Haringey-100278152134028/videos/?ref=page_internal

    Thanks all, we may need a group name, a petition next and then to lobby the council, I will be in touch, 

    Warmth and strength
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