New Southgate is a fully urban Green, being in London, next to a busy road and a high-rise estate. New Southgate is, like most urban Greens, quite small, at 0.6 Hectares/1.4 Acres. As of 2014 the Green is still fully independent, with a community-run trust and no regular funding from the local authority. There is a regular park with swings and things almost next door, so the Trust intends to focus on being a countryside haven, with high hedges and tall trees to block out the outside world as much as feasible.
The Green is on Station Road, New Southgate London N11 1QJ. It is just off the A406 North Circular and is just 2 minutes walk from New Southgate Station and six minutes from Arnos Grove Tube Station. New Southgate has been located on Google Maps.
Before the GreenEdit
The land had been used for housing, shops and a workshop until local redevelopment took place in the 70's . Plans to build on the land never came to fruition at that time. The land was flattened and seeded with grass, then a few trees were planted in corners. It was owned by the council and regularly mown, but otherwise ignored by both the authorities and the public alike. From then it had been left for around 20 years.
The local council sent a survey out to local people asking them what they wanted the land to be used for and over 70% said they wanted it to remain green. A council officer then set out to ensure that the local people got their wish, by contacting the local community association and, with their support, an application was made to the Countryside Commission to create a Millennium Green. Enfield Council staff created the plans for the Green, in conjunction with the Trust that was formed and including substantial public consultation.
The Millennium FeatureEdit
The designer of the Green ran a design competition for sculptors to create a sculpture which was interactive and followed the theme of a boat, to commemorate the book Three Men in a Boat, written by Jerome K Jerome, who once lived in New Southgate. The final design was chosen from a short-list of five and £5 thousand was set aside for the sculpture.
The sculpture was designed to have lighting on the 5- metre mast, though funding was used elsewhere, so as of 2012, this has not happened. The concrete slabs which comprise the sides of the boat have the shapes of 3's imbedded in them representing the three men in the boat.
On the opening day, there was a miniature play where professional actors re-enacted a scene from the book, complete with period clothing and a dog. The deputy mayor of London, Nicky Gavron, broke a bottle of champagne across the bow to officially open the Green.
The Green is in the process of creating an arboretum- a collection of trees. From the start, trees have always been one of the primary interests of the trustees and having planted a number of the UK native trees it was decided to go on and plant all 34 common species. With this as a base, the Trust have decided to label the best specimen of each species and variety, and map it all. As part of this, the Trust are creating a woodchip pathway to wind round the Green, so that the areas, especially the trees, that are not on the tarmac paths, can be explored more easily.
Other Features Edit
The Green is a mix of more community features, such as paths, a paved area, a sculpture and a small football pitch etc., along with more country features, such as uncut grassland and small copses of trees.
This small feature was created using an area on the outer corner of the Green which had the soil all turned over in the construction of the noticeboard area. It was the first new creation by the volunteers after the land was handed over from the Council. The Trust decided it was very visible on the street, so should have a particularly presentable appearance. It has been filled with roses of all sorts given to the Trust, then edged with chives as a companion plant to the roses and Primulas to extend the flowering season.
Children's Garden Edit
This was another area left turned over, then abandoned in the creation of the Green; the trust decided that rather than let the land just turn to grass or go wild, they would create a pair of features. The Children's Garden is the home to all the plants that are donated to the Green and have no other home. The volunteer children have a strong input on the creation and maintenance of this area. As of 2014 the Garden is much overgrown and work has started to open it up again with a drastic cutback of shrubs and trees. Our aim is to create a small, rather eccentric garden including plants that need a sheltered place with sufficient sun from the south.
Nettle Mound and PathEdit
The mound was the dumping ground for spare soil left over from the creation of the Kickabout Area. When told that the removal of this soil would take £200, the trust decided to use the mound as another feature- a short, wild path from the Garden over to the main pathway. This has developed over time into a feature of its own; mysteriously, the expected succession from nettles through to at least scrub has not taken place in 14 years, so it is still covered in stinging nettles. These are a home for butterfly caterpillars and we have built a fence on either side of the pathway to keep the now mature stinging nettles, which grow up to 2M high, off the path.
Continuing the theme of Three Men in a Boat, Montmorency, the dog from the book is commemorated by a mosaic of a dog's head, which was set in the ground in 2012. The mosaic was a test for the methods to be used in making the Dragon mosaic later that year. It was made out of glass domestic mosaic pieces, set in a concrete block (built in a tomato box) and inserted into the ground near the North entrance to the Green.
There had been a plan to create a mosaic in the centre of the Green back in 1999, which was replaced by the Boat feature. Inspired by this and the knowledge that it was Chinese Year of the Dragon in 2000, the team decided to create a dragon mosaic in 2012, the next year of the Dragon. The trust offered Harry Blackman, an artist and regular volunteer on the Green, the chance to submit a plan to the public at the 2012 AGM. Harry's plan to make a 1.8M circle was welcomed by the AGM and work began some months later. The scale of the project was very ambitious for a volunteer team with virtually no mosaic experience, especially as they chose to use domestic mosaics of different sizes and thicknesses. However, many months later, in November the last tile was laid. In 2013, a plan to create a proper surround for the mosaic was put to the AGM. Harry's team set out to create a winding pathway through shrubs and grass to the mosaic, landscaping it so that the mosaic will only be found by exploring the path, designed to add impact to its viewing and to reduce the risk of vandalism by the people known to come and drink in the Arena area at night.
The original designer of the Millennium Green put an orchard in his plans, but failed to plant one, so the Trust set about planting one as soon as the Green was handed over to them. Homebase has always donated most of the fruit trees on the Green, starting in 1999. The orchard includes a number of apples, pears and cherries as well as a peach, a mulberry and a wild service tree.
The area around the Kickabout Area is maintained as a rather rough wildflower meadow. Although shrubs and trees are removed from the area, the growth of wildflowers is limited as the area is mostly dominated by grass and nettles. Various operations to sow wildflowers over the years have so far not been successful, though we have counted dozens of species of wildflower in total on the Green.
There are seats in the centre of the Green and a tree-seat in the shade. There is also a large picnic bench in the shade in the Orchard. Currently, the nearest toilet is in Homebase-ask at the Information Desk. The nearest food & drink is the Cafe in Homebase car park opposite.
Creating the Millennium Green has added a number of different habitats that suit many more different plants. This, along with planting various new trees and flowers has pushed up the number of recorded species from around 50 to around 250 species of plant. This in turn has created a wider range of habitats for animals to visit or live. The range of spiders, birds, insects etc. living in the trees etc has been massively increased.
We have three tiny ponds- the largest of which is around 12 litres.
Organic Maintenance Edit
Although the team DO use some chemicals etc, we aim to use as few artificial chemicals and power tools as possible, with much manual digging, clipping with shears and manual weeding.
Events & Publicity Edit
From the very first event, in November 1999, when volunteers planted the entire boundary hedge around the Green in one day, through the opening event in 2000, to the summer fairs held on the Green, there have always been events held on the Green, created or supported by the Trust. The local council has sometimes been involved, with sports events and a Festival in 2011 and Easter events every year.
From the very first year, trees are always planted during National Tree Week and the event is always registered with The Tree Council. This has meant that the New Southgate Green was part of a world record for tree planting in 2005 and a subsequent attempt in 2010. The Paul O'Grady Television Show had a small feature on tree planting and visited New Southgate in National Tree Week in 2008.
Sports & GamesEdit
- The Local Council Sports Development team have run summer sport events on the Green and assisted New Southgate in creating its own, short-lived, football team. The local church ran a football tournament on the Green in 2008.
The Volunteers keep a number of toys and games for events, including:
- Boules is regularly played on the paved arena.
- The unique game of Giant Boules is sometimes played on the Kickabout grass area.
- Croquet is played on the Daisy Field.
Easter Events Edit
Most years, the Green runs an event for children, in which they have Easter Egg hunts or scrambles; Sports & games and quizzes created mainly for children.
Summer Fairs Edit
In the first few years of the Green, the Trust ran Summer Fairs on the Green, in which people paid to run stalls. The Trust also collected jumble and sold from their own stalls. This was discontinued after they discovered that plant stalls attracted more people and money for less effort at Capel Manor Horticultural College events.
The trust have always believed that publicity is essential for the long-term survival of the Green, by involving lots of people and improving the awareness of what the Green is and the needs of the charity that runs it. The Green featured in the local papers frequently in the early days, and has had at least something in the paper most years since. The trust have had letters published and articles written, along with photos, including such notables as the Deputy Mayor of London, Nicki Gavron, and Education Minister Stephen Twigg, MP and Minister of State Simon Hughes, MP. Articles have been written in magazines, such as The Arboriculturalist and the Green was featured briefly in a television show, the Paul O'Grady show.
The Volunteer Team and other workersEdit
Although the Green was largely created by contractors, including the creation of the paths, sculpture and noticeboard area, the Trust have created a team of volunteers that have done most of the work on the Green since 2000.
The team comprises both local people and others from all around Enfield etc. Children are involved wherever practical and everyone is encouraged to learn about gardening, the environment and the Green as they go along.
The Certificate of Volunteer TrainingEdit
Most members of the volunteer team have completed a training program created for the purpose by the Trust and run by its horticulturally trained members.
Fundraising and Sponsorship Edit
Sponsorship & Grants Edit
Enfield Council was the main co-sponsor with the Countryside Agency in the initial creation of the Green. It was their staff who created the design and arranged the original contractors.
After that, Homebase have been continuous supporters since 1999, providing trees, other plants, tools etc. Various other local shops etc. have provided small gifts over the years. In 2015 Enfield Council awarded a £4.5K grant for new equipment etc.
The Trust have received donations from many local people of both money and other gifts. They also arrange fundraising events- sometimes on the Green, more often elsewhere if it seems to make more money.
Links with other Millennium Greens Edit
New Southgate has created links with other London Millennium Greens, including visits to Waterloo, Chadwell, Albion and Cricklewood greens. Other Greens have visited New Southgate events, including Soulbury.
London Millennium Green Group Edit
New Southgate originated the plans to form a group of the London Millennium Greens, including contacting all the Greens and arranging the first meeting of London Greens in 2014. Plans are now afoot to arrange annual meetings of this group, centred on Waterloo, which is more central.
Links with other Parks and open spaces Edit
New Southgate has a policy of creating links with other local groups, including Friends of Broomfield Park and Friends of Conway Rec. This involves going to each other's events; sharing information and materials and general networking.
A volunteer from New Southgate created this Wiki. The same volunteer wrote most of the Wikipedia page about Millennium Greens and actively improves the presence of Millennium Greens on the internet.
New Southgate started a project to get all Millennium Greens onto Google Maps. This improves our visibility on the internet, by ensuring that if you put the address into Google Maps, it not only shows where it is, but can give information such as a website.
AwardsEditNew Southgate's volunteers regularly win 100 Hours Volunteering Awards from Enfield Council.
Our secretary, Andrew, won an award from the London Mayor's office- Team London
Art ProjectEditNew Southgate started a general project to involve the Green in art of all kinds in 2012. This began with the creation of the two mosaics in 2012, then continued with the art competition in 2013. In 2014 they had a children's art event and an Art Feature on the Noticeboard.
In 2015 the Green hosted an Art Event- with interactivity, face painting and art and craft displays. In 2017, the Green had its biggest event yet, with over 200 people- an Art & Music Festival- with lots more art and nine hours of live music, with an alcohol licence for the day.
Events Etc. 2017 Edit
Public Volunteer SessionsEdit
From 4th February - 4th November EVERY 1st Saturday of the Month.Sessions are from 10-2pm Tea/coffee on site.
Annual General MeetingEdit
There will be an Easter Event
Art & Music Event-Edit
August? Not Confirmed
National Tree Week Tree Day Saturday 25th NovemberEdit
Planting trees and removing unwanted saplings, some of which will be replanted elsewhere.