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Green Park and St James's Park

Visitors don't often linger in this park - there are no flower beds or lakes - it seems to be a pleasant thoroughfare in the centre of London with its paths lined with trees and old fashioned street lamps, reminiscent of times gone by.

Green Park

And now this Royal Park is being developed into a green corridor for wildlife to travel through. By leaving areas of grass unsown and planting coppices and thickets there will be more hiding places for small mammals and so, it is hoped, will become a hunting ground for owls which have been spotted in nearby St James's Park close to Duck Island Cottage.

Duck Island Cottage in Winter

Duck Island Cottage in Summer

Duck Island Cottage Garden

This whole area of the city was once marshland and it was King Charles II who was inspired to have St James's Park laid out as formal gardens. By the late 17th century and early 18th century cows were grazed here to provide fresh milk for Londoners - as until the arrival of the railways with trains bringing dairy products from the countryside, cattle had to be kept in the centre of the city.

Then the formal gardens disappeared and were redesigned to create a much more natural space with winding footpaths replacing formal avenues and the once rectangular lake reshaped with more natural curves. Reed beds sway along the edges of the lake - the reeds clean the water and provide a habitat for wildlife including damsel flies and dragon flies. A black swan can be seen moving gracefully across the water and greater spotted woodpeckers tap tap tap on the trees.

Wild and natural

At dusk, bats can be seen flitting around - they love to be near water and there are insects aplenty around the park for them to eat their fill. Tree trunks are left to decay by the side of the lake, a home for insects on which so many of the wildlife of the park depend.

A home for insects

Stag Beetles are rare in this country now but not so rare in the Royal Parks of London where they can enjoy the micro climate of the centre of the capital - St James's Park is one of the warmest spots in the British Isles.

Winter Colour

This is the oldest and smallest royal park but there is a huge variety of plants and trees - all year round there is colour and interest, with nature and history coming together to make exploring this park, along with the other royal parks, a pleasure.

Hyde Park Corner, Green Park and St James's Park underground stations on the map of North and Central London


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