London’s hidden natural landscape is rediscovered’

THE variety of London’s natural landscapes is revealed today in a report aimed at reconnecting’ Londoners with the often-hidden ecology of the metropolis. It describes 22 distinct landscape types, from the East London marshlands of Dagenham and Rainham to the North London woodland ridges and South London downlands

By Mike Brooke

THE variety of London’s natural landscapes is revealed today in a report aimed at reconnecting’ Londoners with the often-hidden ecology of the metropolis.

It describes 22 distinct landscape types, from the East London marshlands of Dagenham and Rainham to the North London woodland ridges and South London downlands.

The report by Natural England nature conservation organisation which is campaigning for biodiversity, landscapes and wildlife to be included in London’s future development, pinpoints local identities based on geology and landforms.

“We want to re-establish a sense of connection to the range of landscapes that can still be recognised beneath our towns and cities,” said the organisation’s Chief Executive Helen Phillips.

“Incorporating natural areas into the way our cities are designed can benefit quality of life, improve health, create greater urban resilience to climate change and reconnect people with nature.”

A gradual erosion of London’s natural character’ has been caused by pressures such as culverting rivers, felling woodlands and standardising’ parks, streetscapes and amenity spaces, says the organisation.

But there are clues to London’s underlying nature with remnants of natural habitats, wildlife in parks and gardens, local place names and the cultural and historical legacy of many of its green spaces.