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Double celebration for Coldfall Wood and Muswell Hill Playing Fields

Coldfall Wood and Muswell Hill Playing Fields are celebrating Jubilee Year with a major £50,000 grant and Queen Elizabeth II status.

The funds will improve access, help combat water pollution and create a new boardwalk area, while the Queen Elizabeth II status will guarantee the area’s future.

The Friends of Coldfall Wood and Muswell Hill Playing Fields are a voluntary group working to preserve and improve the natural beauty of this ancient woodland bordering Muswell Hill and East Finchley. The group applied for a grant from the Big Lottery Fund’s Community Spaces programme, managed by Groundwork UK, for several important improvements to the wood and were delighted to receive £49,999.

The news came shortly after Muswell Hill Playing Fields were among the top four in a poll to permanently preserve a local recreation ground as part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Celebrations. The Fields are regularly used for football matches, dog walking and by young children; and have proved very popular for sledging in the snow. They have recently benefited from the addition of a well-used skate park and playground, and are now guaranteed to be preserved for future generations, as a tribute to the Diamond Jubilee, thanks to the support of all those who voted.

The Community Spaces grant will make a big difference to the adjoining wood. Pollution from neighbouring houses had damaged a reed bed, planted to keep the stream clean and healthy. This can now be restored and further downstream a boardwalk will be built to provide access and act as a viewing platform over an area prone to flooding. Over time the ecology of the flooded area is changing and the boardwalk will afford a good view of the wildlife and flora through the seasons.

The Friends also plan to improve the entrances into the wood from the Playing Field, making access easier in wet weather.

Coldfall Wood has also maintained its Green Flag award and UK Woodland certification for sustainable management and this will help to improve the area.

Volunteers have been busy through the winter months, planting daffodils on the fields with local schools and coppicing in the woods to let in more light and allow a broader age-range of trees; an essential step in preserving a healthy hornbeam woodland.

This work will stop at the end of March to avoid disturbing nesting birds. Then, during the summer, they will clear away much of the ground-covering ivy and some of the bramble – all to encourage more woodland diversity.

The work is all undertaken by volunteers, both from the Friends Group and from the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers, under the guidance of Haringey’s Nature Conservation Officer.

The Friends have just launched a new website – http://www.coldfallwoods.co.uk – and are appealing for anyone with pictures of Coldfall Wood to submit them to their gallery. On the site there are historical maps allowing users to see how the wood has changed over time, as well as details of upcoming events. These include:

March 31: a bird walk
May 5: creepy crawlies walk for children and adults
May 26: herbal walk
June 15: bat walk

Further details and booking information can be found here.

The Friends of Coldfall Wood and Muswell Hill Playing Fields are a group of volunteers who share a common interest in the wood. Over recent years we have been involved in the massive regeneration of the wood, in trying to improve disabled access and signage, attract new flora, fauna and wildlife, and keep the wood clean. We always welcome new members. So if you are interested in becoming involved, please come along to one of our meetings. These are held on the first Tuesday of every month at 7.30pm at Coldfall Primary School, Coldfall Avenue, N10. Further details can be found on our website: http://www.coldfallwoods.co.uk

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