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Thread: Wild London

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    Wild London

    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.
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    Re: Wild London

    I had a 15 minute commute into Broad Street when I worked in the City. By then it had two working platforms and seven completely overgrown with trees, bushes, wild flowers and birds, thirty feet above street level. It was a pleasant place to sit and take a lunch break, there was little clue from outside that it was one of the few remaining open spaces in the square mile or, from inside, that there was a city surrounding the wildlife.
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    Re: Wild London

    Quote Originally Posted by Clodhopper View Post
    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.
    I was walking past the offices on Leman Street in Aldgate a few years back when I met a fox trotting quite unconcernedly down the road. Seeing me didn't faze it in the slightest - it must have been a couple of miles from the nearest parkland.

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    Re: Wild London

    I remember returning with my elderly mother from a holiday in Scotland with many drives out to see deer and other wild life, all to no avail.
    Then popping around the corner for fish and chips when we got to her home in Eltham SE London, a fox accompanied me for several hundred yards on the other side of a park fence.
    I thought I knew more than this until I opened my mouth

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    Re: Wild London

    Foxes are now so common here I didn't even think to mention them. Any night if you are out after midnight you are likely to see at least one. Some people feed them. I'm fairly sure they are responsible for the reduction in cat numbers round here, too.

    A funny city, London. Full of nooks and crannies (and crooks and nannies, but that's another issue) but if you go out looking for them you'll never find them. Then when you aren't thinking about it at all you turn a corner and find something completely unexpected.

    I'm very fond of the deer in Richmond Park. People do seem to treat them with respect and the result is they have become fairly used to these weird apes in their home. As a result you can get really quite close to them without bothering them (though it's not such a good idea when they have their fawns!) and sometimes you do without realising, their camouflage is so good. Then suddenly this tree branch moves and you realise it's actually an antler and someone is taking notice of you.
    The crowd: "Yes! We are all individuals!"
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    Re: Wild London

    I find this so interestingly different from here in the wild wild west.
    I would have been so surprised to see any form of wild life when I visited London. It is just my naïve thinking that humans have used up all the land there

    Here it's common place to have coyotes, deer, skunks, rabbits or rodents of various sorts cross our paths. We also have the odd black bear and cougar (of the cat family) pass on by. Currently roaming the city is a random bob cat/lynx.
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    Re: Wild London

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    When I was about 12 I went on a canal trip with the Scouts. Only thing I can remember about it is that we tied up one night on the Regent's Park Canal in London. Very close to London zoo. Spent the night listening to lions and elephants expressing opinions...not a sound track you expect in London!
    The crowd: "Yes! We are all individuals!"
    Lone voice: "I'm not."

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