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Granville Road Spinney

There is something sad yet evocative about this simple site. It is not managed by people - there are no bug hotels or signs or other features that can be found in nature reserves. It is left almost entirely to nature to do what it will and shows us what would happen if the human race disappeared from the planet. England was once almost covered in woodland.

A hidden space

Then this area became farmland and later another transformation took place when houses were built. But this patch of land, which had a row of houses, was bombed in World War II and later was left in its previous natural state as a memorial to those who died in these homes.


A lump of concrete, almost completely mossed over, is one of only a few signs that people once lived here. And a washing line post, hidden away, from the time after the war when this space was used to house people temporarily in prefabs.

Spring flowers in the Spinney

Perhaps it was those later residents who planted blackberry bushes that still flourish here.

The Spinney is a short way from Parkland Walk but it is worth walking further along the road to the top of the hill. There are high points all around the capital where there is a view across London. But here it is possible to see clearly in both directions.

One view is across the tree tops towards the centre of the city.

Turn and face the other direction and across Hornsey Vale there is the fairytale sight of Alexandra Palace rising up in the distance.

Both vistas show us how green this capital city is. Almost half of the space in London is either green: open space or blue: water.

If everyone who lives in London cultivated just one square metre - perhaps by growing vegetables in a wooden crate or several pots of flowers on a paved over area or even on a balcony - then over half of London would belong to nature.

Walk from Parkland Walk

North London map


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