#GrowN22 Greenscaping the Westbury Banks Nature Reserve

#GrowN22, Westbury Banks Nature Reserve image archive

©#GrowN22, Westbury Banks Nature Reserve image archive

In March 2017 I was contacted by an officer from my local authority; Haringey Council about a derelict plot of land located on Westbury Avenue N22, a short walk from Turnpike Lane underground station.

The land had been derelict for a number of years and had the unfortunate reputation of been a fly tipping hotspot. A lot of fly tipped waste from both households and trade had built up over the years and had contaminated the soil. The amount of rubbish littering the site was very disappointing to see. Something had to be done about it!

#GrowN22, Westbury Banks Nature Reserve image archive

©#GrowN22, Westbury Banks Nature Reserve image archive

Between April and June 2017, I put together a project plan and started contacting local residents via social media to organise a team of volunteers interested in gardening, nature, wildlife and improving their local environment. I received some funding from the Noel Park Big Local to buy tools and a storage unit (and observation post) to put them in. However, the most important purchases were public liability insurance and a first aid kit to ensure the reserve is a safe place for volunteers and visitors.

The task of clearing the waste and decontaminating the soil has been a tough one and at times, very stressful and is too much for one person to manage, so the core team of volunteers set up a committee and #GrowN22 was formed. GrowN22.com is a non-profit organisation managing green spaces across Haringey, North London. The committee set up a bank account which is a key element for funding applications and hosts regular meetings and community workshops.

#GrowN22, Westbury Banks Nature Reserve image archive

©#GrowN22, Westbury Banks Nature Reserve image archive

Over the past 14 months at the Westbury Banks Nature Reserve, the volunteers have put in over 350 hours! And, have cleared over 200 bags of rubbish including needles, a kitchen sink and an insane amount of buried carpet!

As well as cleansing the reserve of waste, the team has installed a log staircase, created multiple bug motels and beetle dug outs, built a compost bin and we are in the process of creating a long pathway through the reserve and identifying of the vast array of plant species at Westbury Banks.

There are lots of exciting plans in the works and we’re always looking for volunteers to get involved in the transformational work going on at Westbury Banks Nature Reserve. You can find details of upcoming workshops and follow our journey via twitter and instagram.

Thank you to NoelPark.Net Clean Up UK, Nextdoor, IMBY.bio, National Park City, Haringey Council, Veolia Invincible House Plants, The Westbury Pub.

Luke ‘Duke’ Newcombe

LUKE ‘DUKE’ NEWCOMBE

Duke (aka Luke) is the chairman of #GrowN22 and founder of Dukes Gardens; a gardening and landscape business located in Noel Park, Haringey. Duke has supported the London National Park City Initiative since January 2017 and really enjoyed the first London National Park City Week! Duke won ‘Best Upcycled Sideboard’ at the London Upcycling Show Groundwork / Wise Up To Waste competition 2017 and the Nextdoor; Good Neighbour Award 2018 for his work at the Westbury Banks Nature Reserve and more recently, the ‘Community Engagement’ award for work at Friends of Ally Pally Station; the Station Garden.