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Three City Churches and One Tree

St Mary Aldermanbury at first sight appears to be a sunken garden and is actually the site of a church that was taken brick by brick to be rebuilt across The Atlantic.

Some of the structure remains and nature is greening the ruins, covering them with mosses and ferns. This tiny green oasis in a very built up area has been discovered by squirrels who dart around and disappear into the trees.

Mosses create a miniature landscape

Close by on the corner of Wood Street and Cheapside a centuries old Plane Tree reaches up to the sky. It is one of the oldest in London and inspired both Wordsworth and Dickens. We may feel insignificant amongst the tall buildings all around, seeing the vested interests of developers, but natural forces have greater powers and the tree has grown even higher than the office blocks and is still growing today.

Stretching up and above the buildings

From this spot, follow Cheapside and then Newgate Street to Christ Church, Greyfriars. Here there is a path underneath a cathedral of trees, leading to the door of the remains of the church that once stood here. There may be a waft of Star Yasmine as you enter and the sound of the bells of nearby St Paul's Cathedral.

Wooden structures show where the pillars of the church once stood, with plants climbing up them amongst the tangled flowerbeds. Only the tower and parts of the walls remain - and now there is a wide variety of flowers and evergreens.

A church that became a garden

On the other side of St Paul's Cathedral a newly planted copse is hidden away - Distaff Lane Garden is a welcome retreat from the noise and heat of the city. The whiteness of the silver birch tree trunks is illuminated on a sunny day and reflects the rays of the sun.

Tree trunks appear to light up

The leaves of the trees are small and allow light to reach the ground below where ferns spread around this green space.

Just a mile from here is St Dunstan's in the East. This gothic ruin also is surrounded by plants and in this sheltered spot palm trees grow. The windows frame the views in and around the ruins, left by bombs during the Second World War.

Now a santuary for nature

The windows frame the views in and around the ruins, left by bombs during the Second World War.

Three city churches destroyed in conflict in the City of London. Yet nature brings new life and hope and provides sanctuaries for people and wildlife in the City of London.

North London and Central London map

St Paul's Underground Station


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