For those of you that don’t understand why this post is called “Enjoy London like a local – part two”, it would be worth checking part one, about the Brixton district.
If you have already read that, let’s move on!
Enjoy London like a local – my second love: the woods
I have always been a bit “wild”. I mean, London is famous for its gardens and its parks. But the woods… they are just stunning. Many so-called parks, in London, are actually woods, except you couldn’t risk getting lost there.
Enjoy London like a local – the Green Chain Walk and the Capital Ring
If you do the Green Chain Walk – a Walk London 50 miles walk between Thamesmead and Nunhead Cemetery – you will cross fields, parks and woodlands. I did it twice (actually, once and a half, because the second time a rain shower started and I had to stop walking) and I was astonished by the nature I stumbled upon. I could not believe that I was still in London.
After that, I tried another wonderful hiking path, 78 miles (126KM) long! It was the Capital Ring walk, which is another Walk London route consisting of 15 sections between Woolwich and Becton District Park. If you give it a try (you can choose to walk between one, two, three… or more of the 15 sections, there is no need to do it all at once if you don’t feel like it), you will be immersed in miles of woodland, green spaces, nature reserves and more. Unfortunately I lost the pics I took there, but you may see many on TFL website, where you can also find out about all the other Walk London walks.
Anyway… please, do not get scared! If you are not an experienced walker, London is full of wilderness and you can enjoy it without walking for hours 😉 . You may see much of it in my documentary here, too.
Enjoy London like a local: Hampstead Heath
There’s the glorious Hampstead Heath. We read on its website: “a wild park of woodland and meadows, tucked inside north London’s Zone Two – less than four miles from the centre, though you’d never know it. It sprawls over 800 acres and boasts some of the most spectacular views in the city. This is the park that inspired C.S. Lewis to write The Chronicles of Narnia, that Constable spent his final years painting, and Londoners of all stripes have been coming here to escape the city for over 200 years.”
Here are some pictures I took there:
Enjoy London like a Local – Richmond Park
Then, of course, there is the famous Richmond Park, which is the largest Royal Park in London (2,500 acres!), and where you can easily meet deer, ancient trees, plants of all sorts. People even fish in one of the ponds. Here you can take a virtual tour of Isabella plantation, famous for its azaleas, rhododendrons and camellias.
Some pictures that I found on Wikimedia Commons:
Enjoy London like a local – Wimbledon and Putney Commons
When I was living in Roehampton and studying in Kingston Upon Thames, I discovered Wimbledon and Putney Commons. It is indeed 1140 acres of open space, but you may easily walk for an hour there and then come back. I would suggest Wimbledon Common as the wildest part.
This is a nice video that talks about Wimbledon Common: A Walk Across Wimbledon Common
Enjoy London like a local: Highgate Wood
In the same period, I visited Highgate Wood, 28 hectares of ancient woodland in north London, between East Finchley, Highgate Village, and Muswell Hill. It’s a haven for wildlife and provides numerous scenic woodland trails. Unfortunately, I did not take photos there, but I will give you a tip: Visit London has an extensive list of nature reserve and woods of London: just go check it out and… explore!
I hope you enjoyed reading my blog post, I’ll go on with my series about London during the next few months, with the help of Clare, who is a real londoner!