Crouch End Character Appraisal: Open Space part 2, green space

Crouch End’s leafy verdant quality is a distinctive valued aspect separating it from more urban districts to the south. The S and W sections possess a high quotient of tree cover, with views of tree lined ridges, well-planted large gardens and avenues of mature specimens, for example planes lining Shepherds Hill, chestnuts along Crouch End Hill, and the cherry blossom of Cecile Park. The protection of front gardens, deep plots, and the use of Tree Preservation Orders are supported. Other accessible spaces, such as the Parkland Walk and sections of the Playing Fields, offer a quiet semi-rural quality.

   Image, top: Parkland Walk. Credits: M Afford

Most space lies at the perimeter of the area (saved by the efforts of the Hornsey Local Board in the 19th c.), with further significant parkland beyond. See 1.6 Open Space Network. In contrast central Crouch End has little in the way of green amenity, relying on a sequence of small plots of grassed space and planting, such as TH Square. Candidates for Local Green Space status at map, right.

Crouch End Playing Fields forms part of a larger green space (saved in 1892), once Shepherds Cot Farm. In addition to sports grounds, it contains a secondary school, semi-maintained woodland, and allotments. Lying in the hollow between the higher ground of Alexandra Park and Queens Wood, it connects with the ancient woodland of Highgate and Queens Woods. Designated Metropolitan Open Land (MOL) and mostly a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC grade 1).

The Parkland Walk is created from the embankments and cuttings of a disused railway (1867–1954, lines lifted 1972), rescued from 1978 onwards from housing projects and a major road scheme in the late 1980s. Designated MOL, a SINC of Metropolitan Importance, a Local Nature Reserve, an Ecological Corridor and a Green Chain. The rural aspect of the eastern section is compromised by opinion-dividing graffiti.

We need your views. The Character Appraisal presents a commentary on Crouch End’s character and future development, but the next step is to translate observations into planning policy. Whether its selecting green space we want to protect, community assets we want to support, or the design of new buildings, your opinion is key. Do add comments below, or email us at

   Image: Shepherds Hill, tree-lined avenue. Credits: MA

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