28 July 2022

Gillespie Park Nature Reserve – if the flowers start to grow, do you pick them? No no no!

I went for a wander around Gillespie Park earlier this week. I often do when I am close by. It's lovely there. It's like entering into an old woodland or part of Epping Forest because it feels like it has been there forever. Yet this magical space has only existed since the reserve was created in 1983. Prior to that, this was part railway sidings and part Stephen's Ink factory. 

I sat and watched butterflies. I listened to birds. I gazed up and around myself and sighed happily. But I couldn't see any fish in the pond. I decided to take snaps of the many signs dotted around the reserve. All very informative, but many are also inadvertently amusing, telling us about pirhana goldfish and annoying spotty people.  

Re the content, whilst I forgive the children for their amusing errors, I can't excuse the use of poor grammar in some of the other signs, many of which I have seen in parks all across the metropolis. But hey.

Today, this 2.8 hectare space, is a haven for many species of flora and fauna within its various areas of grassland, woodland and ponds. The Islington Ecology Centre at the Arsenal station end provides a lots of information and resources and, as such, is a marvellous learning hub for the local schoolchildren who visit here. It was built as the borough's first carbon neutral building and boasts many eco-friendly features though, as you can see from one of the pics above, the wind turbine that powers the buildings is no longer functional and a new source of energy is being devised.

If you haven't ventured up and into here, then I really do urge you to do so, because it's a delight. Though please take note that only a small section is available to dogs (accessible via where it says 'you are here' on the map below). Once you know it's there, you will, like me, make a detour if you are in the vicinity.

On exiting from the stairs at the Finsbury Park end, I often feel as if I have just emerged from a secret enchanted place and am now back in the real world. Do check out the three mosiac panels on the wall there as they are delightful too.

Gillespie Park and Ecology Centre – more info here


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