Hidden away down a backstreet behind St Pancras station is Camley Street Natural Park – an unexpected oasis of calm in one London’s busiest urban hubs.
It’s the perfect spot for some peaceful reflection and to get away from the craziness of the big smoke for a few hours. It’s also a haven for wildflife with the 2 acre site including ponds, wetlands, woodland and meadow habitats. Expect to see butterflies, honey bees, swans, moorhens, and if you’re lucky, kingfishers. You might even spot some terrapins and one or more of the 6 species of mammal that are visit the reserve (not including humans).
The reserve is a family friendly place and there’s lots of self-guided activities for the kids to enjoy and explore – you can find out about them inside the little Visitor Centre. If you’re peckish, you can try out the on-site Wildwood Cafe. It’s veggie and super sustainable… don’t expect gourmet food, but it’s a nice place to stop for a cuppa and a bite to eat.
Camley Street is owned and run by the London Wildlife Trust – a charity dedicated to preserving the capital’s wild spaces and biodiversity. Created from a disused coalyard, the reserve is hugely important in preserving the area’s wildlife, which would otherwise be threatened by the extensive and continued development of King’s Cross. It also provides a valuable free green space to the community and an educational hub to local children and young people.
Here’s what they said
A wild oasis nestled between two of London’s busiest railway stations and beside Regent’s Canal, this reserve was created from wasteland and is now a haven for diverse wildlife.
The woodland, grassland and wetland habitats including ponds, reedbed and marshy areas, provide a rich habitat for birds, butterflies, amphibians and plant life, while a visitor centre caters for the thousands who visit annually.
The reserve provides additional habitat along Regent’s Canal, with enhancements being made to soften the canal banks through installation of wildlife islands and marginal aquatic plants to provide habitat for birds, fish, and aquatic invertebrates.