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Cherry Tree Wood Barnet


Cherry Tree Wood, formerly known as Dirthouse Wood, contains a fragment of the ancient Finchley Wood, and is on the northern edge of what was once the Bishop of London's Hornsey Park. In 1914 the site was purchased for a public park by Finchley UDC from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. It comprises a roughly triangular area of open grassland and woodland on its northern perimeter with some ancient hornbeams and oaks, and a small lodge at its western tip. Facilities provided included tennis courts and a putting green, the latter no longer in existence.

Basic Details

Previous / Other name:
Dirthouse Wood

Site location:
Cherry Tree Road/Brompton Grove/Summerlee Avenue/Fordington Road, East Finchley

N2 9QH ( Google Map)

Type of site:
Public Park



Listed structures:


Site ownership:
LB Barnet

Site management:
Leisure and Youth Services, Green Spaces Division/Friends of Cherry Tree Wood

Open to public?

Opening times:
unrestricted. Café open daily in summer, November-April weekends only.

Special conditions:

Playground, tennis courts, football, Cherry Tree Café, toilets.

Various events including annual East Finchley Community Festival

Public transport:
Tube: East Finchley (Northern). Bus 102, 143, 234, 263, H3

The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/05/2009
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news.

Further Information

Grid ref:
TQ275890 (527566,189056)

Size in hectares:

Green Flag:

On EH National Register :

EH grade:

Site on EH Heritage at Risk list:

Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:

Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:

Local Authority Data

The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.

On Local List:

In Conservation Area:

Tree Preservation Order:
Not known

Nature Conservation Area:
Yes - Local Importance

Green Belt:

Metropolitan Open Land:

Special Policy Area:

Other LA designation:
Premier Park. Capital Ring through park

Cherry Tree Wood

Cherry Tree Wood, August 2000. Photo S Williams

Click photo to enlarge.

Fuller information

Cherry Tree Wood, formerly part of the once extensive Finchley Wood, is on the northern edge of what was the Bishop of London's great hunting park, Hornsey Park, and contains a fragment of ancient woodland. Before it became a public park, Cherry Tree Wood was previously known as Dirthouse Wood due to the carters who brought night soil from London to the nearby Dirthouse, now the White Lion pub. It was used for fertilizer for the hayfields, the carters taking hay back to the City. At one time there were water-cress beds in the lower area of land in the centre of the park and the Mutton Brook, now culverted, flowed through here. The woodland was reduced in size as land was taken for the railway in the 1860s and for house building as the area developed.

By the late C19th recreational facilities were needed for the new population of East Finchley. Dirthouse Wood was considered as a possible site for a recreation ground in 1912 and the site was finally bought by Finchley Urban District Council from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners in 1914. It opened in 1915, a roughly triangular area with open rough grassland and woodland on its northern perimeter with some ancient hornbeams and oaks, and a small lodge at its western tip. The park was renamed Cherry Tree Wood after nearby Cherry Tree Hill. Facilities provided in the park include tennis courts, and a putting green, the latter no longer in existence. After a long period of neglect, long term restoration work commenced in Autumn 1985 with coppicing re-introduced over several decades together with replacements for established oaks, and clearing sections of undergrowth to nurture new saplings. Much of this work is undertaken through the active Friends of Cherry Tree Wood group.

Sources consulted:

Andrew Crowe, 'The Parks and Woodlands of London' (Fourth Estate, 1987); Victoria County History; Jan Hewlett, Ian Yarham, David Curson, 'Nature Conservation in Barnet' (London Ecology Unit, 1997). Barnet Parks website

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