Visitors to London’s Stoke Newington may be surprised to find that North London has its very own castle.
The Castle, with its castle-like facade and turrets, is an interesting feature that looms high on the local skyline. Once a Victorian water pumping station, The Castle is now home to one of the UK’s most popular climbing centres.
The climbing centre, which boasts 450 routes serviced by more than 100 roped and lead lines, from 8m to 13m in height, is run by climbers for climbers of all levels.
And the magnificent structure is not the only thing that is unique about The Castle. Surrounding the castle is an acre of land, which boasts The Castle Garden. The land around the castle, modelled on Scottish castles in the 1850s, was once an ornamental garden that was greatly admired by the people of Victorian Hackney. Today the result is a vibrant, biodiverse space teeming with wildlife and an abundant variety of fruit, vegetables and herbs.
Part of a long term project to make sustainable, productive and educational use of the space around the Castle building, The Castle Garden is used to grow food for the café, as well as provide a space for wildlife and a place to relax for The Castle’s visitors and staff.
The Castle Garden is also home to several allotments run by Castle climbers. There is also a 10x10m food growing space that has been made available to community growers to grow more salad for the Growing Communities’ organic box scheme social enterprise that provides seasonal fruit and vegetables for over 460 households in Hackney.
The award winning Castle Garden, designed using permaculture principles and recycled materials, is a source of organically grown produce for use in the Castle Café. The café offers organic, fairtrade and home-grown food prepared with fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables grown onsite, plus a wide variety of herbal tea blends, also cultivated from the garden.
The Castle has won several awards for its commitment to sustainability, and is aiming to send zero waste to landfill by 2018.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea