If you live in or around Muswell Hill, Crouch End or Highgate and have not yet discovered the joys of the bit of the North London ‘countryside’ managed by CREOS, now is the time to explore. As we move into spring and early summer, this tranquil, natural haven in the heart of the metropolis, can be enjoyed by everyone.
Founded in 1973, revived and re-launched in 1984, ‘CREOS’ – Crouch End Open Space – is a long established conservation charity, which manages, maintains and protects this huge area of land for the benefit of the public. Within easy walking distance for residents of Muswell Hill, Crouch End and Highgate, the CREOS estate comprises woodland, playing fields and open spaces, enjoyed by generations of local people. It forms a vital part of Haringey’s green space, offering endless opportunities for leisure and enjoyment in the most beautiful surroundings.
Cricket and tennis have for many years been a major feature of the area – with a number of thriving clubs. And for those seeking less formal outdoor activities, the area is perfectly suited to walking, jogging, bird watching or simply enjoying the natural environment. Hidden behind the playing fields is a big grassy space: ‘The Meadow’, much used for picnicking in the summer, surrounded as it is by blackberry bushes and trees. In spring, the blackthorn trees offer a backdrop of wonderful white blossom.
‘The Meadow’ has several access points, including ‘Woodland Walk’, a lovely path created and maintained by CREOS, linking the area to Queen’s Wood, another wonderful walking environment for North Londoners.
In 1984, the Crouch End Open Space area was designated ‘Metropolitan Open Land’ – something equivalent to ‘Green Belt’ status – and CREOS has been heavily involved in contesting planning applications for unsuitable developments on the land ever since. But monitoring potential threats to the landscape is just one of our activities. We publish a regular newsletter, organise occasional social events – the annual summer event in the Meadow and the Christmas party are particularly popular; and at our AGM in May, we host an annual lecture on a topic of environmental importance with particular local relevance. Equally popular are our working parties on the third Sunday of the month. These involve maintaining footpaths; installing benches; cutting back undergrowth and invasive vegetation; removing litter and arranging for new planting to attract butterflies and bees. New volunteers are always welcome and we finish each time with a picnic lunch.
Most recently, with the help and guidance of the London Wildlife Trust, we have committed to producing a management plan for the land we look after, creating a space with maximum biodiversity. The first stage is to carry out flora and fauna surveys, so that we have a clear idea of what we’ve already got. Again, volunteers needed, especially those of you with identification skills! If you are not already a member, do join us. We are very keen to grow our membership – active and passive – to support our continuing efforts to maintain and enhance this open and ‘rural’ area, as a natural haven for wildlife and walkers.
For more information, visit the CREOS website at: www.crouchendopenspace.org
or to find out about future activities, how you can help – or simply to become a member, email us at: