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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

Haringey Council is looking to improve accessibility on the Parkland Walk. That's not necessarily good news.

There's a huge risk that this could drastically change the unique feel of the nature reserve and even damage it, with a wider, smoother path facilitating ever larger numbers of people, especially cyclists, and at the expense of the health of the natural ecology and the flora and wildlife it supports.

Is it the parkification of a wild space? You can view the latest newsletter from the Friends of the Parkland Walk  and find out their concerns. You'll also get the link to the consultation form where you can share your concerns or ideas with Haringey project officers. 

Acess the consultation at parklandwalkimprovements.commonplace.is

Tags for Forum Posts: biodiversity, consultation, disabled access, nature, parkland walk, wildlife

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Why is making it a facility that more people can enjoy a bad thing?

In a broad sense you’re right Michael but as in all things there are often caveats. We must remember that this is one of a precious handful of nature reserves in the borough. Nature reserves are delicate environments and there have to be limits on how much incursion there is or the ecosystems fail. If you look at other nature reserves you can see that great emphasis is placed on protecting the ecology and visitors have limited access to ensure the environment is not harmed. The UK is the worst of the G7 countries and third from bottom in Europe in the table of species decline. Wildlife presence in the Parkland Walk has plummeted since it was declared a nature reserve. There’s no inherent objection to people having access but this has to be managed in a way that is not damaging to the nature reserve.

Who decides who can use it and who can’t?  I can use it but my husband can’t because he has mobility problems.  I can use it but someone with a baby in a buggy can’t.  The only way to ensure that it is a nature reserve is to shut it to all users otherwise it becomes a club that some don’t want others to join.

I just want to correct a misunderstanding. There is absolutely no objection to enabling anyone with mobility issues having access to the Parkland Walk. The friends fully support the objective. The concern is how it is implemented and to ensure there is also investment in the ecology of the nature reserve. The link in the post provides further detail.

But you say in your original post that there is concern that changes will be “facilitating ever larger numbers of people”. 

And if it does it’s important that doesn’t impact on nature.

So how will you decide who is allowed in?

You're not being fair Michael, we need to keep this important space protected. Other nature reserves - such as woodlbury wetlands nearby have elevated paths in places, and encourage walking rather than cycling etc, the paths are kept narrow and plants, flower and fauna protected. The council don't have good form on this nature reserve, which they are applying park protocols to - a conservation team should be leading this, not Highways/parks -  to get the right non porous, natural surface for the walk.

Hi Michael. It’s not necessarily a bad thing but the way it’s done l believe is the main issue. The big worry to me is they will just lay a normal pathway which would be extremely bad for the trees. There are other ways to surface the area which are friendly to everyone let’s hope sense prevails.

Perhaps the word facility goes to the heart of it. 

Not every thing in the world is a resource or facility primarily for the benefit of humans. 

If the parkland walk is a nature reserve, then the needs of nature should take precedence over the needs of humans. 

If there is a way to prioritise the nature served by the walk, and still open some or all of it up to people with disabilities great. But if the work required to make it fully accessible is damaging, in any way to the nature of the walk, then for me it should not happen.

We humans have built on, depleted, concreted over, polluted and degraded so much of the natural world for our comfort, amusement, and endless appetite for things and "experiences". We need to re-discover that we are part of nature, that we rely on a flourishing natural world in order to survive, and that humans and their wants are not the most important thing.  

If we don't rapidly move to a more symbiotic way of living with and caring for nature, then nature will do the re-balancing for us, at that path is pretty ugly.

We’re not looking at ancient woodland here. It’s an ex-railway where nature has been allowed free-ish rein again. Various access points have been created to allow able people access. Nature has coped. I doubt that any ‘nature’ that had made it their home again was unduly disturbed by that process. I would take some convincing to accept that nature wouldn’t also quickly recover from making a few disabled access points. If I missing something, please let me know.

Habitats don't have to be ancient to be valuable! Railways embankments are made of sand and grit and provide unique soil conditions, which support rate and unusual creatures like the colony of slow worms that hangs out somewhere in the Parkland Walk. 

There's a difference between improving accessibility and increasing numbers of users The former would allow a more diverse range of people, the latter would allow more of the same type of users.

It's unusual for a nature reserve to increase access for cyclists, dog walkers, and large numbers of casual visitors because that would adversely affect the flora and fauna. Hopefully Haringey can find a balance that allows a diversity of users without creating a sterile, nature depleted outdoor corridor.

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