Finsbury Park druggies’ paradise to become nature trail

A DRUGGIES paradise is being transformed into a vibrant nature trail by a community group hoping to bring wildlife to their estate.

The once overgrown patch of wasteland at Isledon Village, Finsbury Park, was littered with syringes until residents joined forces with children and teachers from the Sam Morris Nursery, in neighbouring Parkside Crescent, and Montem Primary School, in Hornsey Road, Holloway, to create a slice of nature on the abandoned terrain.

Last year the group cleared part of the land and turned it into an award-winning vegetable garden, the Parkside Growing Plot – and now they have their hearts set on an educational trail.

Jim White, caretaker for the estate, who has helped coordinate the work, said: “It was wasted land – the only people using it were groups of youths or drug users. We now grow our own vegetables for the estate’s summer barbecue. We have sprouts, tomatoes, cucumbers and corn on the cob.

“When the trail is finished we will have a loggery, to study insects, wildflowers and hopefully lots of birds and butterflies.”

Because the site is strewn with drug paraphernalia, work cannot start in earnest until a specialist team have taken it away.

Mr White said: “The housing associations have been really helpful. Circle 33 have helped us raise the funding from Edible Islington and Origin, which owns the land, are paying for it to be cleared. Family Mosaic have pitched in as well. We just need the council to come to do the clearance and we should have the trail finished by the summer.”

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Once the area is safe, adults will put in a shift chopping the trees and bushes back, then children will join in planting the flowers.

Sandra Warren, manager of the Sam Morris Nursery, which backs onto the trail, said: “Before the garden, kids used to come down the back of the nursery, doing whatever they were doing, even in the day.

“Now, we bring the children down here and they are really interested in nature and the growing side. It’s all about working as part of the community and bringing people together.”