What is it? We happened to stumble by accident across Gillespie Park, a little-known North London nature reserve, a few years ago, and have loved it ever since.
Where is it? Squeezed neatly into a little plot of land in N5 above Arsenal tube and below a busy train line, amidst Highbury's densely-packed Victorian rows. Islington is the London borough with the least amount of parkland, so Gillespie offers a bucolic break for locals.
Why has it tickled our fancy? Off a street where the teeming red hordes of Gooners stream towards the Emirates Stadium on match day, this quaint reserve (and Green Flag award winner) offers a nice change of pace. Despite its petite size it boasts an ecology centre (complete with waste water treatment facility), a lone wind turbine - part of Islington's "programme to tackle climate change" - a dog walking area and groups of benches arranged in vaguely sinister circular patterns. A great place to relax, as long as you can tune out the nearby rumble of mainline trains as they peal northwards.
Nature notes Beside the pond we found an information board showing various exciting flora and fauna - including moorhens and tufted ducks - that were sadly absent on our visit. We did see a dragonfly, though. Many beasties presumably dwell in the tall grasslands.