These ancient woodlands sit at the top of Highgate Hill, growing and thriving as they have done for many centuries. It's hard to believe that only a few deacades ago it was thought wise to clear away dead wood and plant flowers that are cultivated for parks.
Now its natural state is understood and valued.
Oak, hornbeam and holly dominate these woods and here can be found a wild service tree - a sure sign that this is ancient woodland.
Pre historic flints have been found here so people have lived in this area long ago. There is little other evidence of their lives but careful studies of the wildlife here has revealed that the nationally rare jewel beetles live here as well as rare species of bats including Leisler's bat.
It's much easier to spot more common creatures such as crows, standing quite still on the ground.
A crow in the ancient woodland
And with a little imagination we can see sea monsters looming up from beneath the ground.
Trees or monsters?
This ancient woodland is now managed with respect and care. Sometimes areas need to be fenced off and barricades are built from the natural materials around the woods.
Fencing with materials endowed by nature
It is heartening to see how much more respect and appreciation there now is for the countryside in the city.
Walk from Highgate Station
North London map