Estate greening

Racecourse estate

Northolt, Ealing, London

A new urban woodland in a historical racecourse-turned-housing estate.

Click here to learn about the project

During the 1930s, many considered Northolt Racecourse to be one of the finest in the UK. Walking around the estate, you can imagine what it was once like, as the main roads loop in what was once the original pony-racing track.

Today, the streets are lined with dense blocks of flats and terraced housing, with over 1000 residences in total. Patches of grass feature on every corner, and in the middle of the racecourse is a park with a woodland fringe we planted in 2013. As housing developments continue to shoot up in the area, patches of green are becoming increasingly valuable.

Photography by Nathalie Weatherald

We have been working with local residents since December 2017, when we first raised funds for tree planting. Over the four years, we have transformed the estate by planting 914 trees and 17,200 bulbs. We added 15 benches, 15 oak raised beds for growing flowers and food, five oak picnic benches with adjoining raised beds and created a trim trail. We also installed three sculptures and two oak archways. We’ve worked with local nurseries, schools, diverse faith communities, scouting groups and the local fire brigade; they all joined us in planting these new trees and we look forward to working with them again!

The community responded so positively to the tree planting that we were able to raise even more funds for another year, and this time with flowers added into the mix. In 2019, wildflower strips were planted, with shade-loving spring flowers across the estate, and a further 98 trees. At one of the community planting events, a local councillor joined in and said:

Thanks again for everything your team did over the last two weekends in Northolt. As we found out on Saturday - planting trees is hard work. But I know the Racecourse Estate is going to really benefit from them in years to come.

Local councillor

The immensity of the estate means countless opportunities to enhance all of the green spaces. Local residents have suggested all sorts of ideas, such as more places to sit and meet up with other residents, plants for pollinators and bigger trees to sit under.

We hope you enjoy our work and the improvements to the local environment.

Greenshoots: The Racecourse Greening Group

Trees for Cities and the Freshwater Foundation helped to establish a residents group, with the purpose of protecting and promoting the green spaces and parks of the estate. They are always looking for new members to join them in regular weeding, watering, litter picking and celebrations of the parks! If you would like to join and help them grow and flourish, send an email using the link below.

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