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Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens

Hiding away in the Royal Parks of London we can find clues to the past - when vast areas of the capital were still countryside.

Hyde Park was once a royal hunting ground and later cattle were driven across it - the route they travelled still exists and runs along a section of the park which is not trimmed or tidied as most of the landscape is.

A wilderness in Hyde Park

This area of the park, away from its popular attractions, is now left to nature with some interventions from the people who work to protect it. Trees are left to decay to encourage the cycle of life - a place where fungus and insects can thrive.

Meanwhile The Serpentine provides a safe haven for a variety of birds and other wildlife. Designed to please Queen Charlotte, it was created by damming the river that flows through Hyde Park. The Dell, at its Eastern End, is a tranquil location and a sanctuary for wildlife - built by people and enhanced by nature.

The edge of The Serpentine

Bird Island is near enough to the water's edge to give people a close up of the birds but there is enough distance so that they feel safe enough to perch and preen - a cormorant can be seen, stretching out its wings to dry them as their feathers are not as waterproof as other birds.

Island on The Serpentine

And a heron stands quite still, watching and waiting.

A Heron in Hyde Park

A pair of poachards can be spotted on the water and on a spring day, two great crested grebes romance in the sunshine - their elaborate courtship display involves rising out of the water and shaking their heads.

The Royal Parks are now loved and admired for their neat flower beds and carpets of flat grass. But they are so much more - and it is so heartening to see and learn about how much thought and care now goes into protecting and encouraging bio diversity.

A bio diverse lawn

Over in Kensington Gardens adjacent to Hyde Park the magnifient fountains of the Italian Gardens rise up beside the stone pathways that were designed and built by the Victorians. We can appreciate their attention to detail - the straight lines and symmetry of the stone paths and marble statutes.

And close by we can discover a colourful garden that may appear to us humans to be a jumble of grasses and flowers. But the planting of this patch of land has been given even more careful consideraton since it was designed for endangered pollinating insects: bees, butterflies, moths, ants, wasps and beetles.

The Pollinator Pathmaker is a living sculpture which some insects navigate through routes they have memorised - while others explore randomly.

The Pollinator Pathmaker

Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens: a place where we can learn about the past and hope for a better future.

Queensway, Lancaster Gate, Marble Arch, Hyde Park Corner and Knightsbridge underground stations


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