|Newton Farm Ecology Park|
|Newton Farm Ecology Park is a small area of wood and grassland lying between Alexandra Avenue and Rayners Lane in the south of the borough. Although small it contains a wide variety of habitats including wet and dry grassy meadows, woodland, streams and a pond. The wooded areas contain many varieties of apple as well as ash, birch, cherry, dogwood, field maple, hawthorn, hornbeam, oak, black and white poplars and rowan.|
|Within the wood is a small area originally planted as a healing garden with plants that in earlier times were believed to have healing properties. The healing garden fencing was restored with a grant from Greggs the bakers by the Newton Farm Ecology Park Volunteers. The NFEP Volunteers meet every Saturday (excepting Holidays) from 10-12:00 to help and improve the Ecology Park for wildlife and people. They clear litter, check water quality, keep paths open for visitors and do projects such as coppicing the osier beds and building dead hedges and creating new wildflower areas. Anyone can join in. Contact us for more information. During 2022-2023 we are focussing on water quality issues in the area.||
|In 2018 an area of bramble in the southeast corner of the site was cleared to form a wildflower meadow. This looks spectacular in spring and early summer.|
|Things to look out for:
In very early spring (February onward) a hedge of blackthorn along the northern edge of the wet meadow bears attractive white blossom on bare branches. These are the habitat for eggs and caterpillars of the endangered Brow Hairstreak butterfly. Later the small plums called sloes form. These are very bitter but are often steeped in gin to flavour the spirit.
In May the dry meadow is a spectacular sea of white cow parsely blossom.
For a short period in late May or early June the site is made lovely by the blossoms of dog rose which clambers over many of the fences and hedges.
The site is naturally wet and so willow trees do well. The line of big trees between the dry and wet meadows are the Great or White Willow Salix alba (see right), while to the north of the dry meadow is a thicket of Osier Salix viminalis.
This is a good site for butterflies. Look for speckled wood butterflies in the woodland areas and gatekeepers and small coppers in the open grasslands.
In summer dragonflies and damsel flies hawk around the pond. Damsel flies are the small, delicate ones while dragon flies are large, strong fliers.
|Map above reproduced by permission of Geographers' A-Z Map Co. Ltd. (c)Crown Copyright 2009. All rights reserved. Licence number 100017302.||
Farm Ecology Park is situated south of Rayner's Lane station between
Alexandra Avenue and Rayner's Lane.
The car park is on the western side of Rayners Lane, immediately south of the Tithe Farm Sports & Social Club (which has the post code HA2 0XH). Look for a yellow height barrier immediately south of the Tithe Barn. This is the meeting point for all walks and working parties.
The western entrance is a little difficult to find: it is on a service road running parallel with Alexandra Avenue and separated from the main road by a wall. Don't get confused by a sign for the Newton Park Allotments: the entrance to the Ecology Park is 100 yards south of the entrance to the allotments.
Bus H12 runs along Rayner's Lane while bus 398 runs along Alexandra Avenue.
phone: 020 8933 2823