MUST DO: Big Green Picnic

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Never been to the area’s newest refurbed park? Now’s your chance


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Leafy: the improved new space.
Leafy and more attractive: the improved new space.
What’s this weekend’s free festival on the doorstep? Why, the Big Green Picnic, of course. A decidedly family affair, it takes place on Saturday at Castlehaven Park, a burger’s lob from Camden Lock Market.

Until recently, the park, formerly known as Hawley Road Open Space, never really fulfilled its potential. Bombed back in the Second World War, the site lay derelict for decades. Travellers took it over in the 1980s before they and their caravans were moved on after a High Court Case. The Open Space then opened in the early ’90s, but only really started to take off in 2003 after winning a Lottery grant, allowing an extension to its present size over the site of a factory on Hawley Road.

Image-1 (7)and now, over a decade later, it’s finally a beautiful park you can picnic in. “For two years Castlehaven Community Association have been working with local residents and businesses to transform it into one the community can be proud of,” says Fields Beneath cafe owner and Big Green Picnic sponsor Gavin Fernback.

“It’s now got a wildlife area, seasonal raised planters, an orchard, a pond, bee hotels and a fully managed five-a-side pitch. So this Saturday, from 12-4pm, we want to see everyone down there with their blankets and hampers, their kids and their dogs – there’ll be lots to do but the main point is for everyone to enjoy the park together.”

Work on the garden has gone on for two years. Photo: CCA
Work on the garden has gone on for two years. Photo: CCA
And he’s not lying: multiple activities include a giveaway of 60 free kids’ picnics, a BBQ, a load of stripey deckchairs to lounge on, bouncy castle, and face-painting. Not to mention music, kids’ entertainers, arts and crafts stalls, zumba sessions, wildlife workshops, gardening experts, circus skills workshops – and even the chance to enjoy a nice massage.

Just don’t forget that picnic blanket.

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The Big Green Picnic takes place on Saturday 25th July from midday till 4pm at Castlehaven Community Park, Castlehaven Road NW1. More info here

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