Walking the countryside of West London
St James's Park, Green Park, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens - four Royal Parks that are linked together, forming a chain of green open spaces across the centre of London. And although they are known for their immaculate lawns and flower beds, there are wild spots to be discovered - and photographs of their flora and fauna, along with explanatory notes, appear on this website.
Just a short walk distance from Kensington Gardens there is Holland Park. Walking becomes a little more challenging as the terrain becomes a bit hilly. Head up a crescent of mansion sized houses and you come to a doorway in a white wall - behind which is a tropical garden. It is a sheltered spot and no doubt was designed to impress visitors in this affluent part of the capital. This installation - along with Holland Park's Japanese Garden - brings interest and novelty but they are part of the urban landscape and if we wish to escape into the countryside of London we need to take a few more steps, up past the tropical garden and into a country lane.
A country lane
The paths and lanes of Holland Park lead us back to a time of horse and carriage, grand families and their servants, mansions and country estates. Even now, the squirrels of Holland Park appear to be better groomed and pretty than their cousins in other parts of London, their tails immaculate and silky as they swish them about in the sunlight.
Out of the woods and over by the open grasslands the trees appear to have turned their backs on to the blocks of flats that line the road outside the park, stretching out their branches in the opposite direction away from the buildings and leaning towards the green space as though they are determined to ignore any urban development encroaching on their land.
And along the lanes and paths, even on one of the darkest and dullest days of winter, there are signs of spring to come.
Signs of Spring
Holland Park Underground Station