The Landscape Guide

Avery Hill Park

This municipal park was made as Colonel North's private garden. North was known as the Nitrate King. His house was damaged in World War 2 but has been repaired. It is now used by the University of Greenwich, which maintains the magnificent Victorian Conservatory.

Avery Hill Park is an ocean of mown grass. It is well maintained by Greenwich Council but receives little use - except by dog walkers. Students shortcut through the park from the Student Village to the Mansion House campus but no footpath has been made for them and the University had to close the campus entrance on the park front 'for security reasons'. One therefore has the impression that the park managers are unaware of 'their' park being the heart of a large university with one of the largest landscape architecture programmes in Europe. It is an amazing example of a park failing to respond in any way to its local community, and therefore being greatly underused. 'Just keep on cutting the grass' appears to be the municipal motto but they also maintain a vestigal rock garden and a hard-to-find rose garden.

There is much to be learned from community gardens like Meanwhile Gardens and the Calthorpe Project . Also, see essay on Public parks and boundless space.

Landscape architects: none

See eBook: Alicia Amherst on Avery Hill Park, 1907 

HOMEPAGE - Landscape Architecture London List


  • over 6 years by Tom 5 / 5

    My impression is that Avery Hill Park is well used by footballers on Saturdays but compared with a good park, like Greenwich Park, it is very under-used during the week. I am not saying it is empty but it would be interesting to divide the annual maintenance cost by the number of visitors/year (and also by the number of visits/year). It would not surprise me if each visit costs £50. If the management was more ecological the cost would be lower and the visual quality would be higher. With regard to the student traffic mentioned above, it has stopped because the University of Greenwich closed its access gates. Parks should of course be conserved - but they should also receive enlightened management. It will be interesting to see what is done at Avery Hill with the Boris Johnson money.
  • over 6 years by Adam 5 / 5

    your quote."Receives little use-except by dog walkers"???
    I live localy to Avery Hill park and use it frequently,and i don't have a dog. I walk and cycle there and take my children. We visit the conservatory. Whilst training for the London marathon the park was invaluble to me and from what i could see countless outhers. I always see football,rugby,cricket and recreational games being played there. So as for you saying it is underused, i disagree.
    Mabey your ambisions are to make a name for yourselves in the landscping buisiness. Avery Hill park has already been landscaped, and what a fine job they made.
    Do you not think that people,students included, enjoy walking across the "cut grass" in a peacefull tranquil enviroment?
    As for running a path through the middle, yes great. (Not!). More tarmac! And where will that stop. Shall we have another one here. How about a car park. What about a Tesco.Oh no what happend to all our green spaces? Recently Greenwich council built a path through Eltham Green without consulting the locals.Public opinion was so against it that it had to be reversed. Eltham Green is now green again.
    The university is in the heart of a large,hitorical,established and beautifull park. Which should be respected.Every where you look in London sace is being built on encroached and altered.We need to protect places like this. They are irreplaceable. The Hamsted village residence association would not let you start trashing Hampsted Heath. And you would'nt start altering Hampton Court,Hyde and Regents park or Kew gardens. So no leave Avery Hill alone.

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Medium avery hill park3 original

'Just keep on cuttin'

Medium avery hill park4 original

The rock garden and Colonel North's Mansion

Medium avery hill park2 original

The great conservatory