Monday, 21 October 2013

Gillespie Park, Islington

On Sunday 20th October, while having a little break with my sister in London, I got frustrated with the city imposed sequestration from nature, and decided to head up the rose from my sister's fourth floor flat, and visit Gillespie Park, a nature and ecology centre run by the Borough of Islington, and created in the 90s when common use parkland came under threat.

No site could ever be more urban, it is enclosed on one side by a railway line, has Arsenal Football Club's enormous Emirates Stadium complex on its doorstep, and everywhere else the flats and houses of Islington, Highbury and Finsbury Park surround it. And yet here it is, this beautiful oasis of green  - and on this day, vivid purple thanks to the late flowering aster flowers - ready for people to enjoy in central London.

And enjoy it they were, Gillespie Park being another example of my favourite thing, of open public space being used constructively for all reasons. A couple of retro clad women were dancing for a photo shoot. A group of Polish lads sat talking on a bench enjoying the reasonably warm day. Families were out with pushchairs and little bikes with stabilisers. Personal trainers and their huffing and puffing clients. An old couple of who rescued a slow worm from the path and put it safely amongst the leaf litter.

Closer in, there was an attractive nature garden area, and a little further off in another direction was a pond that on a warmer day promised emperor dragonflies. Wooded areas were filled with birdsong, and still there were bumblebees, pollinating the asters away as the sun came out for a a time.

The centre building itself offered tea, and really rather good cake, binoculars for viewing birds on the garden feeders, and space for community happenings  - on this occasion a clothes swap. Programmes of events detailing fungi walks, music festivals, and meet ups for older deaf folk were all over the walls, as was the centre's pride in its green energy initiatives.

I loved visiting, and urged my sister to do the same, to me it is a far nicer spot for a walk than the equally well used, but more sterile, Highbury Fields. It's just a lovely little spot!

The centre itself - nice cake not pictured
Ummm, I forgot
Dance in the aster meadow
My first slow worm
Emirates stadium, between my sister and the park

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