A legacy of the incomplete redevelopment of Wood Green in the late 1970s, Martins Walk has become an essential and well used connection between our residential streets and otherwise disconnected parts of the town centre. It was nameless for the first thirty years of its existence until named ‘Martins Walk’ by PMRA in 2001, in honour of Millicent Martin, the celebrated actor and singer who lived in nearby Park Ridings. At the same time, a colourful ‘book illustration’ style mural was installed for us by Haringey.
In response to increasing antisocial behaviour and a fear of crime, local volunteers set about creating a community garden along its south west edge to deter loitering and dogs fouling the pavement, in the process creating the first part of the Hornsey Park Community Garden. A second mural and more planting followed. In 2018, the first mural was vandalised beyond repair.
In response to the vandalism in 2018 and in an effort to increase the popularity of the path, we have created the new ‘Squirrels’ mural with planting in front - both will shortly be illuminated at night by new LED lights. The project has been a collaboration between PMRA, The Mall, local artist Krishna Maller and Haringey’s Community Streets programme.
The Squirrels, acorns, oaks and ‘green’ are all intended to invoke feelings of an older ‘Wood Green’ when the area was a clearing in the woods. The oak and acorn both appear in the heraldic coats of arms of the boroughs of Hornsey and Wood Green that met here. The squirrel is popular with many, particularly children and dogs: they are full of personality, industrious with a hint of rebellion appropriate for taking a lifeless wall and bringing it to life.
The artwork and planting are the latest in a number of successful interventions between Alexandra Road and Mayes Road that have transformed the character of the path to one with a sense of place, ownership and some local pride.
The interventions and commitment from the community to take ownership and improve the space have significantly reduced the fear of crime and through creating a sense of ownership, value and community involvement and use, are helping reduce the level of antisocial behaviour. It is also an important step in the creation of the linear pocket park conceived, championed and being delivered by the local community between Alexandra Road and Hornsey Park Road.
For nearly 20 years, PMRA has worked with The Mall and Haringey to help make it an attractive part of the area but, as everyone who uses the path can testify, there remain a number of challenges.
We have a number of plans for later this year. If you have any ideas for making the path more attractive and feel safer, or would like to be involved, please do contact us
The loss of trees is becoming an issue locally. The wonderful false acacia at the junction of Mayes Road and Coburg Road was removed because it ‘had a fungus’ - just in time for the planning application to build on the petrol station site beside it.
Photo: The gardening team – John. Ben, Polly and John – out on a Saturday morning
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