Green Spaces in Harrow

Why is it so important to have access to green spaces and parks?

Prior to the lockdown of March 2020, we probably didn’t appreciate the importance to our physical and mental health of fresh air and exercise. We used green spaces and parks mostly at weekends, walking with our children and other family members. During the lockdown, we came to understand more the value of going outside, listening to the birds singing, watching trees coming into leaf and flowers blooming. Just being outside the confines of our homes, seeing others (albeit socially appropriately distanced!), observing nature, benefits our mental health.

As residents of Harrow, we have several parks and open spaces to enjoy, of varying sizes and significance. Wikipedia ‘Parks and Open Spaces in the London Borough of Harrow’ lists 20, of which 6 exceed 45 acres (18 hectares): Bentley Priory, Canons Park, Harrow Weald Common, Headstone Manor, Stanmore Common, Stanmore Country Park.

Harrow Weald Common covers 18 ha., most of which is north of Old Redding but 2 areas (including the ancient woodland of Weald Wood) lie to the south. It is a remnant of the Forest of Middlesex and in the 18th century was the haunt of highwaymen. Today, two thirds is common land and is under the protection of Harrow Council, which owns the remaining one third.

There is a car park on Old Redding which was closed for most of the pandemic for refurbishment. It closes at 4pm during the winter months and 7pm in the summer. The car park also served ‘The Case is Altered’, which has now had to close as a result of the restrictions placed on its trading hours by car parking closing times. It is a sad loss to the area as it had a large garden, which was ideal in the pandemic as well as during the summer months.

The car park is integral with the viewpoint from which (on a clear day) large parts of London are visible as well as the North Downs (approximately 25 miles away) and planes landing at or taking off from Heathrow.

There is another viewpoint with (possibly) a better view. It can either be accessed from Stanmore Country Park or from the Wood Lane car park. There is an all weather reasonably smooth path from the car park. Harrow Council has put a plate so that you know what you are seeing, but binoculars would be useful, especially on a clear day.

So why is green space so important? We need to consider conservation of plants and animals in our area and, as the old adage says, use it or lose it!

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