For those who need a small escape from city life, a walk amongst the natural life in a park can sooth and quieten all of those overbearing life stresses. Parks, commons and communally shared spaces are essential for city survival. One of my personal favourites is James and Ethel Gray Park in Birdhaven. Named after the Joburg historians, James and Ethel Gray Park spans 36 hectors with small walking routes, benches, and an abundance of open space that is complimented by the Sandspruit river following through its centre. The highest point in the park is a circular rise that perfectly admires the beautiful views of the Joburg city skyline. The park recently received a R5 million upgrade, attributing to it being a serious attraction for residents in the Melrose and Illovo suburbs surrounding it. On Sunday’s you will find multitudes of dogs running freely and greeting one another while their owners enjoy walking and chatting.
I have been many times now, and have to admit that my favourite part of this park are the swings that seem to evoke the child within. They are elevated quite high off the ground which leads me to question whether they were actually designed with adults in mind. There is something completely freeing about being on a swing, adrenaline pulses through my veins, as flashes of first swinging experiences are reminisced in my mind. That moment is unhindered.
Walking, of course, is the greatest incentive to escaping the bustle of everyday city life; as I have described in my post Where I Walk: An Introduction. I went during winter when everything is dry and opaque. I can imagine summer being a lot more beautiful in the dense greenery. However, winter-scapes are beautiful in their own right with gold fields that seem to beam against the crisp blue sky. I walked around with Daniella, as we felt the need to debrief from the week, and concluded that James and Ethel Gray Park is the ideal place to do so.
James & Ethel Gray Park
Find the directions on Google Maps
I recommend using the entrance on the bottom of North Street.