Many people think that all that London has to offer them is luxury department stores, tall concrete buildings and air pollution, and though that may be true of many major commercialised areas on the city, it isn’t true of the Capital as a whole. Though there is a lot of noise to be heard throughout the city, tranquillity can also be sought from the rural areas often found on the outskirts of major towns.
If you want to escape the dreary grey sky-scape of the city for a little while then invigorate your senses at Crane Park Island in Twickenham. There’s an intricate weave of different hues of greenery, along with a beautiful river bank that homes many forms of aquatic life and you can even visit the old shot tower if you time your visit for a Sunday afternoon.
In fact, Sunday afternoon is quite possibly the best time to visit, after a hearty roast dinner at The Montcalm Hotel At The Brewery London City; you can walk off the extra calories whilst strolling beside the peaceful river. Lovers of nature will be thrilled to spot a majestic Kingfisher along the water edges, not to mention the many varieties of wild flowers that can also be enjoyed here.
Hitchinsons bank, Chapel bank and Threecorner grove should also feature on your ‘bucket list’ of colourful places to visit in London, especially if you are an avid moth or butterfly watcher. There are over 22 species of butterflies reported to have been spotted at this location, as well as around 100 species of moths, so there is plenty of colour to be found floating in the sky as well as in the wild coverings of bluebells that adorn the grassy woodlands. Such wild beauty really is a far cry from the hustle and bustle of city life, and the tranquillity that can be sought here is often a welcome respite from hectic London lifestyles.
Across the pond
If you prefer to look downwards rather than upwards, then you’re in for a real treat at Park Road Ponds. Along with dragonflies, beetles and pond snails, amphibian lovers will be thrilled to see newts, toads and frogs hiding amidst the pond beds. The promise of such delightful pond life is sure to enchant kids and grown-ups alike who will be enthralled at the charming little creatures.
Another good spot for pond adventurers is Greville Place in Camden. It’s a sharp contrast to the heaving crowds of Camden’s markets and is a little slice of sanctuary where many pond creatures can be identified, including the common newt, the common frog and the common toad. Of course there are many birds to be spotted too. Although it’s open year round, it’s worth noting that the very best time to visit for optimum wildlife spotting is between April and July.
If you are sat in your London hotel wondering what to do on a crisp, autumnal afternoon, then you won’t want to miss out on a visit to Oak Hill Wood in Barnet. When the leaves start to change colours, the woodland path becomes flecked with rich hues of bronze, gold and ruby, and in contrast to the towering bare oaks, it really is breathtakingly beautiful. Once you’ve taken in the stunning ground view, be sure to avert your eyes upwards in order to glimpse one of the many types of bats whose natural habitat is amongst the tree branches here. Both pipistrelle and brown long-eared bats have been recorded here so look out for them and be sure to report any sightings to Greenspace Information for Greater London (GIGL) so that a fuller picture of London’s wildlife can be seen by all. During summer months, the bats can often be seen flying over the many fields in the distance. And, it’s open all of the time, so some peace and quiet can be sought at any time of day.
Don’t limit London to busy roads, expensive restaurants and miserable commuters, but embrace London at its fullest with all of its wildlife and nature which can be found at the many nature reserves across the city. You’ll be surprised at what you can spot if you leave the confines of your cosy London hotel room and take a walk on the wild side to enjoy nature at its best. The fresh air will leave you feeling invigorated, rejuvenated and inspired and you’ll be glad you came.