It's true that once you are out of Central London the metropolis is a collection of villages that have grown together. I was reminded of this the other day, walking back from the allotment in Hinchley Wood to Hampton Court via Walton.
The route took us through a small patch of woodland which is the last remnant of countryside from when Walton and Hampton Court were entirely separate villages. It took less than 5 minutes to walk through (it might have been a bit deeper than it is wide, but probably not much) and it is very very old. Bluebells are just starting down here, and celandines are out, with the wild garlic also just coming. Suddenly just next to the dual carriageway, you are plunged into a much older England.
About half way through there was a commotion and a blackbird hurtled across the trail hotly pursued by a sparrowhawk. It came and went in a flash and I have no idea as to the result but that scene has played out in that location since the glaciers retreated, and it's still happening. Inside the London metropolis!
I've seen sparrowhawks occasionally over the streets near my home, but with Richmond Park 5 minutes' walk they've a decent sized space for a few pairs. This latest encounter suggests they are spread across SW London at least, a much bigger population than I had expected.