Concept visual of the Connections gardenConcept visual of the Connections gardenConcept visual of the Connections gardenConcept visual of the Connections gardenConcept visual of the Connections gardenConcept visual of the Connections gardenConcept visual of the Connections gardenConcept visual of the Connections gardenConcept visual of the Connections garden

A place to make connections

A place to make connections

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With your input, we will mark the handover of the park to the Trust by creating a new place for people to celebrate, play, connect, share and tell stories of the park, and create new memories.


Continuing the theme of our interim strategy, ‘Connections’, we have developed an initial concept for a garden that will provide a structure to allow the space to grow organically over time, celebrating and highlighting the past and present whilst giving a new focus for the future. The main components will be community art, play and seating, planting and descriptive signs.

Memory and echoes of past landscapes

Before the park was built, the landscape comprised vast woodland and common land, the Great North Wood and Penge Common. When Sir Joseph Paxton designed the park, he organised the park layout using a 24-foot grid, starting from the Grand Centre Walk.

Paxton’s iconic park laid out on a 24-foot grid
© Crystal Palace Park Trust

The meeting of the five boroughs

The park is a special place located at the intersection of the five boroughs, and this location has influenced the park over time. This brings together a diverse mix of communities to share and enjoy the park.

Community art and memories

At the Garden Party, we invite you to join a workshop to explore your connections to and memories of your park – drawing or writing about your favourite place, space or feature, a memorable moment, or simply something that brings you joy in your park. A few local artists will use the material created in the workshop to create a series of ‘memory plates’. They will be installed in the space, in locations influenced by the historic grid, to highlight the park's original design whilst celebrating your connections.

Space for community art tracing historic layouts
© Crystal Palace Park Trust

Tree and meadow planting

With your help, a common hornbeam tree (Carpinus betulus) will be planted. This native tree species provides a strong link to the Great North Wood as it is one of the main species that makes up the remaining areas of this remarkable landscape. This species is also considered climate resilient and supports a wide variety of wildlife. We will also need your help to create and establish a species-rich meadow full of perennials, hardy annuals and bulbs. In time, the meadow will enrich the park, allow us to celebrate the seasons, and bring joy to this part of the park with an injection of colour, texture, scents and sounds. The meadow will include species associated with memorials and remembrances, such as forget-me-nots and poppies. 

Illustration of the enhanced landscape
© Crystal Palace Park Trust

Play and seating

The concept will incorporate features to create space for people to sit or rest, meet and interact, move and play, or climb. Loosely arranged in spokes to represent the five boroughs, timber logs will be sourced from around the park and inscribed with Crystal Palace Park Trust and each of the five boroughs. Niches will be created in some of the logs to provide wildlife hotels, and some will be carved by a local craftsperson to create community-designed seating.

Seating and play – showing the five boroughs meeting
© Crystal Palace Park Trust

Potential location of Your Connections Community Garden. The new community space can be accommodated near the Secret Garden and Information Centre so that it is accessible, close to a range of existing facilities, and less likely to be affected by the capital regeneration works or events.