Celebrating little known green spaces in London
Nature-ist: Northala Fields
What is it? An unusual park that nestles up to the A40 at Target Roundabout, Northolt. Previously playing fields, the park was reopened with its iconic roadside row of four man-made earth mounds in 2008.
Where is it? Part of the Northolt and Greenford Countryside Park, Northala Fields is accessible from the A40 slip road to Target Roundabout as well as from the residential areas around it.
Why has it tickled our fancy? Driving past on the A40 you'd be forgiven for wondering if the four hills are ancient burial mounds, forts or landing pads for spaceships. In fact, they were created to shield the park and its users from the noise and bustle of the A40. They're made from waste building material from the old Wembley Stadium and the new Westfield Shopping Centre development. The mounds are not only a kooky landscape feature, they provide great opportunities for running up, rolling down and perching up the top to stare out across the city.
Nature notes: On a sunny bank holiday, Northala Fields feels a bit like an artificial holiday resort with its jolly playground, animal sculptures, grid of fishing pools, model boating lake, determinedly landscaped paths and vaguely alien landscape. Yet, if you manage to find the car park from the main road (signs from the A40 are mystifyingly absent) and venture behind the mounds, you are rewarded with the sensation of being in on a delightful secret oasis. Wetland habitats have been carefully designed and the ducks and geese seem quite at home. Wildflowers and grasses are encouraged to sprout on the moundsides. There is marshland, scrub and woodland. In a few years time, we imagine the natural world will have a less manicured grip on the site but it will be no less popular with locals.
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Last Updated 06 May 2011