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This page has the latest on developments in and around Canons Park. The big project of the past few years has been the Park Restoration which is now complete, and now the Friends are moving on to new projects to keep up the momentum of improvements. Below are explanations of what has changed, and what is happening now and what will change in the future. The headlines are - A New Slide for toddlers now in the Children's Playground; the Woodland Walk now open (look out for the signage boards at each end); the award of a Green Flag to Canons Park indicating on-going improvements; the ongoing Spinney Project, the café open in the Summer all week and on fine weekend days during the Spring and Autumn. The parking facilities at the end of Canons Drive will soon be improved, and there will also be a disabled parking space at the end of Donnefield Avenue. Finally, a new bench dedication in memory of a long-time Edgware resident was held recently, and information can be found here.
The Park Restoration Project was completed a few years ago now. See the separate page on Park Restoration to find out what was done to improve the amenities and general attractiveness of the park. Nearly everyone agrees that more people now use the park than before thanks to the changes. Police Safer Neighbourhood teams have their base in the Lodge (the house just inside the park by the Donnefield Avenue entrance). Following all these improvements, the park has been awarded the prestigious Green Flag Award on at least two occasions. This is awarded by the Civic Trust on behalf of the government, and indicates that Canons Park has achieved national standards for parks and green spaces. The flag can be seen by the Whitchurch Lane entrance (see below).
The Friends are now moving on to further projects which will continue the efforts to upgrade aspects of the Park.
Harrow Borough are implementing a new parking scheme at the end of Canons Drive aimed at safer and easier access to the park, particularly for disabled and elderly people. There will be a new path alongside the road and new disabled parking bays, special passing places and speed limit signs. Hopefully this will make visiting the park from this entrance (which is also one of two entrances to the North London Collegiate School) a better and more convenient experience, especially during school drop-off and pick-up times. Thanks are due to Harrow Council, NLCS, and CAPRA for their help in this matter.
The latest project to come to fruition is the Woodland Walk, which has been undertaken as part of the Harrow Green Grid Programme. The aim of this programme is to improve the Borough's open spaces for people and wildlife - and the connections between them. With a mix of tree, shrub and flower planting, footpath upgrades and informative signs, it is hoped that the scheme will encourage healthy living by making it easier to get around Harrow on foot or by bike whilst making the environment more attractive to people and for wildlife. The walk can be found by following the main path through the park from either Donnefield Avenue at one end and or Howberry Road at the other and looking out for the sign boards.
The Woodland Walk was designed and planned by the Friends of Canons Park, and funded by Harrow Council as part of its Green Grid initiative. Members of the Friends group joined workers from the voluntary environmental group BTCV, and local residents to spend a number of days planting over 1700 daffodil, native bluebell and wild garlic bulbs along the already existing walkway. A "fernery" area was developed at the centre of the walk by planting five species of ferns, and seeds were scattered in two sunny areas to create summer wildflower meadows. Using fallen logs, workers created log piles to attract stag beetles, and lastly they planted around 450 shrubs, such as hazel, dogwood and guelder rose, to add colour and interest to the 400-yard walk. There are informative boards at each end of the walk, giving information on the origins of the project and the plants, birds and insects that may be spotted along the walk.
This walkway is approaching its first anniversary. During last summer's rainy weather weeds and brambles grew rapidly and threatened to overwhelm the new plantings, so a work session was held towards the end of the year to help clear the pathways and beds, and cut back the unwanted vegetation. Many thanks to those who turned up on the day, and watch this space for news of any further work days to be held by the Friends. Anyone who would like to voluteer or register their interest should use the e-mail link at the top right of each page.
Two other changes occurred within recent years, and both have proved very popular. One is the new Children's Playground - this is a major addition to the park's facilities, and now we have added a new slide for toddlers so that we can truly say that all ages of youngsters are now catered for. The slide was purchased with a donation from the Good Friends Café (see next paragraph) plus proceeds from our annual Family Fun Day. This can be found just inside the Donnefield Avenue entrance, close to the Police Safer Neighbourhood house.
The second change is the new café which began operating at the Bothy (single storey brick building not far from the walled garden) in summer 2009. It is closed at present, but Cynthia and Laurence Greenspan who run the café on behalf of the Friends intend to re-open at Easter, or even earlier if we get some early spring weather. Do keep a look out if you want to buy tea, coffee, a cold drink, ice-cream, a cream tea, hot and cold snacks, with new additions to the menu promised for 2013. The café, which we have christened the Good Friends Café, has become a popular meeting place for families, local residents and dog walkers. The staff at the café have even dished out plasters for grazed knees, provided water bowls for dogs, given out leaflets and information about the park, and looked after the disabled toilet.
There has been ongoing planting of spring bulbs which should result in good displays in some areas of the park, planting of nearly 50 young trees around the park as part of a national campaign to plant more native species in parks and gardens, and restoration of the ha-ha (concealed fence) on the south side of the mansion has begun. For more on the last item see the separate ha-ha page.