Despite having grown up in Seven Sisters and having lived in N15 for the past year, I have only just discovered the wonders of Markfield Park. Tucked down off the one-way system at Tottenham Hale, about half a mile down the canal from Springfield Park, is a little unexpected delight.
Firstly, there’s a nice enough playground with a small area for under-fives and a larger area for bigger kids. There’s a lovely café, ‘Pistachios in the Park’, which sells organic, healthy and not-too-expensive fare. The café has loads of toys to play with, a large outdoor seating area, a book swap, regular health walks (including a pram walk on Wednesday mornings) and various other events for kids throughout the year. The café is one of a franchise of park caff’s that works with councils to regenerate parks and make them a safe and welcoming resource for the local community. Apparently, before Pistachios opened in Markfield around 10 years ago, the park was hardly used as a result of anti-social behaviour, littering and general disrepair.
As well as the playground and café, there is also a community centre with a great adventure playground, which runs an under-fives stay and play on Wednesdays and Thursdays. This is a great place to wile away a day. There’s a wicked little soft play area – small, but ample; your usual arts and crafts; singing sessions (Rucsac music at 12.30 on Thursday); a fabulous garden and an under fives area on the adventure playground. Sessions are free, but they do ask for a £3 donation, which, if you can afford it, is three quid well spent, and if you can’t, then it’s all free to use. Highly recommended. UPDATE: This now only runs on a Thursday – thanks George Osbourne.
The park is also home to a Victorian sewage pump, housed in a gorgeous building with a small museum. The steam engine pump is continuously being restored by volunteers and is open to visitors two Sundays a month (though, most Sundays you’ll find someone willing to let you in and show you around. A few times a year they have steam days where they turn the engine on for visitors – the next one of these is April 9th 2012.
There are basketball courts, a bowling green, table tennis and swans on the canal. A railway line passes by and there is a little hill you can climb to watch as the trains go by. There’s also a bike/skate park where my little ones like watching the big ones practicing their tricks.
Seriously, what more could you want from a park?