London is one of the best cities in the world, owing to its long history and numerous cultural landmarks. From the many buildings of high cultural importance to the winding streets that’ll take you to different destinations throughout the metropolis, it’s easy to understand why the English capital has earned a reputation as a concrete jungle, in which seeing a single patch of greenery is a rare occurrence. After all, this is generally the case for many of the world’s largest cities.
And while that may have been true at some point in London’s case, the city has recently taken collective action to raise the number of green spaces available for the residents so that all Londoners can get fresh air and spend some quality time in lush, natural areas. However, if you’re a tourist, you might struggle to find the best spots to visit if you want to enjoy some relaxing time outdoors. Here’s a list of places you should consider seeing the next time you visit the capital of the United Kingdom.
Oak Hill Wood
In East Barnet, around one hour drive away from Central London, you’ll find Oak Hill Wood, a Site of Nature Conservation Interest. The area spans ten hectares, around half of which are managed by the London Wildlife Trust. The Oak Hill Wood site is ancient, dating back to at least the 11th century when it was under ecclesiastical property. The woodland is home to several types of trees, including ash, hornbeams and oaks. The shrub layer is also well-developed and includes hawthorns and field maples.
If you enjoy bird watching, Oak Hill Wood is home to many species, including tawny owls, doves, and treecreepers. European thimbleweed and bluebells are some of the flowers commonly encountered in the area, as well as yellow bedstraw and hardheads, which, although considered a noxious weed by many, are actually great nectar providers for bees and other pollinators. And if you’re lucky, you can also catch sight of some beautiful butterflies, including the European common blue and the Hedge brown.
The best part about this nature reserve is that it is easily accessible to tourists. However, you need to be careful on the road since the traffic can get quite heavy, and if you’re not careful, you can end up in a traffic collision. If that occurs, you can reach out to https://www.how-to-sue.co.uk to receive the maximum compensation you deserve following an accident. The amount you are eligible to get largely depends on the wounds you sustained and whether or not you also suffered additional damages as a result, such as loss of income or significant financial hardship as a result of the medical bills or changes you had to make to your home to adapt to your new mobility following the accident.
Culpeper Community Garden
Located in the Islington borough in inner London, this garden offers a peaceful retreat with ample garden plots, walks through green landscapes and even a pond. The Culpeper Community Garden is particularly noteworthy because it is located in an area that doesn’t have a lot of green spaces and because it is not only a garden but an environmental project that is primarily managed by the locals. Volunteers tend to the gardens regularly to ensure the plants thrive, meaning you and your family can enjoy a relaxing afternoon strolling through the beds with roses and ornamental plants, the vegetable plots, as well as the wildlife area.
Vauxhall City Farm
Urban agriculture isn’t anything new, but many are still unfamiliar with the concept. The central purpose of city farms is to enhance food security and safety for the local community, as well as improve nutrition. In the case of the Vauxhall City Farm, located in South West London, the farm also serves as a charity aiming to educate the youth and as a horticulture and animal care facility. It is also a centre for Riding for the Disabled, an organisation seeking to provide people with developmental disabilities with therapeutic carriage driving and horse riding.
The farm houses several types of animals, including goats, sheep, alpacas, chickens and even chinchillas. The entrance is free for everyone, and you can find a gift shop and a café on the premises. The animals are used for youth work and education, as well as the occasional photoshoots and filming. During the summer holidays, children can own one of the ponies for a predetermined amount of time, during which they learn how to take care of them. There’s also a group of spinners that create yarn made from the wool of the local alpacas that is dyed using natural pigments obtained from the plants and vegetables grown at the city farm.
Located in East London, this natural reserve is placed around the Walthamstow Reservoirs, built between 1853 and 1904. Tourists can visit the whole area, one of the few oases in one of London’s most densely populated and industrialised areas. It is one of the largest nature reserves in Europe and part of the Lee Valley Regional Park, a 10,000-acre-long area of green spaces stretching through Greater London. The wetlands are also important for the wildlife, acting as a safe haven for both migrating and wintering birds.
The area is well-known among natural historians, fishermen and enthusiastic birdwatchers. Whether you’re an amateur or a savvy angler with several years of experience, you’ll need a day permit in order to fish at the site. The good news is that getting one is cost-effective, and you can expect to catch fish weighing as much as forty pounds.
The bottom line
Although London isn’t typically known for its natural landscapes, and most tourists focus on the famous landmarks when visiting the city of London, it would be a pity not to save some time in your schedule to see natural spots. There are many natural areas nestled among the tall buildings that you can visit, which can provide you with some respite from the hustle and bustle of the large capital city.