Did you know that quite literally right next to Coal Drops Yard in King’s Cross, there’s a unique urban nature reserve? Well, there is! It’s called Camley Street Natural Park. It isn’t massive (clocking in at around a hectare) but it boasts a huge variety of habitats and wildlife that you can spend the day discovering and getting lost in.
Get ready, the canalside park includes: woodland, grassland and wetland habitats, such as meadow, ponds, marshy areas and reed beds. These diverse environments attract insects, amphibians, birds, mammals and hundreds of plant species. Quite the line-up!
The reserve has been a park since 1985, but its history dates back to the eighteenth century, when it was an industrial area. Until the 1960s the spot was used as a coal drop for the railways but it became derelict. Then it was colonised by nature, so the London Wildlife Trust campaigned to save the site from redevelopment, and succeeded.
In December 2017 the park closed for reconstruction and reopened in September 2021. The makeover includes a new Visitor and Learning Centre featuring a café. Other improvements include better accessibility and interpretation, and there has also been ‘habitat enhancement’ work taking place.
Camley Street is also creating a butterfly and invertebrate bank, which is being worked on in collaboration with the park’s volunteers. So you might notice some differences there from one month to the next. Nice to have a new spot to walk to in central, isn't it?
Visiting times are currently Wed-Sun, 10am-4pm. Learn more about Camley Street Natural Park here.
Ever wondered which trees are best at tackling London’s pollution?