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Bunhill Fields

The City of London - the golden square mile - has been famous for centuries for its financial institutions. Over the past decades, technology entrepreneurs have settled along a linear route leading out from the centre of the capital and heading North. The busy main roads are now lined with tall office blocks and yet here in the midst of such intense urban activity we come across Bunhill Fields - a burial ground which would have once been outside the boundary of the city.


There are over one hundred trees on Bunhill Fields, spreading themselves high and wide to create a canopy where office workers find shade and shelter.


Bunhill Fields Trees


This is a place to escape to from the city and is also a refuge for wildlife. Urban foxes hide away here and at night bats emerge from their daytime hideaways in the brick walls. A great spotted woodpecker may be seen or heard and eight different species of bees have been identified. There are some bare patches of ground, cleared for the ground nesting bees but most of the earth is covered with a variety of plants and flowers.


John Bunyan, Daniel Defoe and William Blake rest for eternity here along with thousands of others. Many of the headstones of lesser known mortals are sinking gently into the ground, and surrendering to nature.


But it is people who work with natural forces to maintain and improve the environment - the capital's air, green spaces and its bio diversity. City office workers volunteer to help to create eco systems - building a dead hedge which is formed of twigs and branches, entwined to create a space for invertebrates and a larder for birds. This will be welcomed especially by blue tits who need soft and nutriuous food for their young.


And sowing seeds on an arid patch of ground so that flowers that thrive in dark and dry conditions can grow.


Wild flowers spread across the ground


Part of the work of managing nature is ensuring that a variety of flowers and plants can grow and restricting the spread of the more dominant plants such as Alconite, even with its tiny, perfectly formed blue flowers.


Alconite


Stepping from a main road into one of the rural hidden retreats of London can feel as though you have gone from urban to rural in an instant. Or it is as though you have travelled back in time to a time before the capital swallowed up all the miles around it.


But here there is something else. Bunhill Fields is a strange and eerily beautiful place - an escape into an unworldly dimension.


North and Central London map


Barbican Underground Station



























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