Going back to nature
Westbury Banks Nature Reserve
A neglected dumping ground for fly-tippers has been transformed into London’s newest nature reserve.
Over the past couple of years social enterprise company Grow N22 and volunteers from the community have worked hard to create the Westbury Banks Nature Reserve. Just off the busy Westbury Road in Wood Green it’s 150 metres long and comprises four different banks boasting a variety of plants, a walkway, a rockery, a pond, bug hotels and much more to come.
Project manager Luke Newcombe of Grow N22, said:
“The possibilities are endless. Before we came along it was pretty much a jungle and the amount of fly-tipping here was just unbelievable – we cleared out three tonnes’ worth! Two years on and we’ve done all this work and have created a great log staircase for people to walk down into the reserve.”
The reserve is a Noel Park Big Local initiative managed by GrowN22. The Noel Park community was given money to celebrate what’s great about Noel Park so residents decided to provide the initial funding for Grow N22 to start work on the reserve.
Charmaine Smith, chair of the Noel Park Big Local said:
“This is brilliant, and we really want to build on the work that Luke has done and support him and attend his workshops. This is something that everyone can engage with and people can volunteer and come along and it’s a chance to mingle with your community and get to know your neighbours. We want to combat isolation and loneliness in people in Haringey.”
Charmaine and her six-year-old daughter were attending the first Community Fun Day organised by Grow N22. Every second Sunday volunteers come along to help work on the reserve and on Sunday, March 10 Luke and his team laid on some activities for all the family including decorating the large ‘Westbury Banks Nature Reserve’ sign using stencils and hand painting.
Ali Hepple said:
“I’m new to this area and every day I pass this place on my way to the tube. I wanted to find out what it’s all about so this is a perfect opportunity and I’m so glad I came because it’s amazing what they’re doing here. A nature reserve brings people together and it’s good for the community and it educates us all about growing, food, seasonality and plants.”
Resident Laurie White added:
“It’s a great idea which brings the area up. We have this problem with fly-tipping all over the place and something like this just lifts people’s spirits.”
The nature reserve is just one of many green projects run by Grow N22 across Wood Green. Specialising in transforming disused and neglected spaces into gardens and growing spaces for the community its current work includes: ‘greenifying’ Wood Green High Road, converting a car park into a garden behind the Green Rooms hotel, and improving the area in front of Wood Green Library.
- To find out more visit Grow N22 website (external link)
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