London Visit: Camley Street Natural Park is a secret woodland oasis located in the urban jungle of Kings Cross created from a coal yard. It’s just a short walk from St Pancras International and borders on the banks of Regents Canal. This London Wildlife Trust park covers two acres of glorious green woodland with ponds. If you’re looking for free things to do in London or places of interest near Kings Cross, you really must seek out Camley Street Natural Park.
Camley Street Natural Park Kings Cross Visit
The park site was previously a coal yard which serviced Regent’s Canal and then later Midland Railway. The coal yard closed in the 1960s. In 1983 the land was assigned to the London Wildlife Trust to create a nature reserve which opened up for public use in 1985. Now that the Kings Cross area has been heavily redeveloped, green space is vital to keep pollution levels down and to attract wildlife. With revamped railway stations, the relocation of Eurostar from Waterloo and the building of many apartment blocks, offices and restaurants, Kings Cross has been transformed beyond recognition.
To escape the busy commuters, office workers and tourists, seek out this natural haven for some peace and quiet. Enter through the huge wrought iron ornate gates located on Camley Street and you’ll immediately feel relaxed. This is a tranquil place where the noise of Kings Cross suddenly fades away. Underfoot you have a mulch path to walk on which gives you that woodland feeling and within seconds you are transported to another place.
Straight ahead through the wrought iron gates are the visitor’s centre and café where you will also find toilets if required. If you’re taking kids pop into the visitor’s centre where you can pick up educational leaflets and activities to keep your children occupied on the tour. Do bear in mind that during term times there might be schools visiting the park. If you can explore during the holidays or at weekends that might be better and less crowded.
You can buy refreshments from the Wildwood Community Café. Food includes toasted sandwiches, hot dishes like cooked veggie breakfast, dahl and coconut and Thai green curry. Cakes, coffee, herbal teas and soft drinks are also available. The focus is on vegetarian dishes which use ingredients grown on-site and cooked using biogas (which is produced by the formation of organic matter). You can enjoy your snack on the wooden picnic-style benches located outside the kitchen area.
The park is quite a narrow strip so you won’t get lost. You can head off in any direction and you will find arrows telling you what you are going to find. There are plenty of notices dotted about indicating what wildlife to look out for. As you walk around you will discover a woodland, grassland, hedgerow, fernery, reed beds, wetland, pond, meadow, wildlife island and floating platform viewpoint.
You might spot birds and ducks; blackbirds, wrens, jays, reed warbler, kingfishers, geese, moorhens, mallards, reed buntings and bats. You will also see fish, shrimps, butterflies, beetles, bugs, insects and small mammals. This combined with the various plants, flowers, marshland herbs and trees there are plenty of beautiful natural wonders to be seen as you wander around.
If you’re in the vicinity do seek out this park because it really is wonderful. It reminds you just how amazing London is because you can live in the city for years and still find something incredible to do. If you love walking along Regents Canal you can stop off for a rest and a bite to eat at this park. See my previous feature about Regents Canal which gives you some information about the walk. Happy exploring!
Camley Street Natural Park Kings Cross Information
The park address is 12 Camley Street, London N1C 4PW. It’s a short walk from Kings Cross Train Station, Kings Cross St Pancras Underground and St Pancras International. You can also access if you are walking along the Regents Canal, keep an eye out for the signs. Opening times are from 10 am until 5 pm in the summer and from 10 am until 4 pm in the winter. To find out more you can visit the Camley Street Natural Park Website.
Camley Street Natural Park Kings Cross Further Research
To find out more about the park you can read the following websites.
Author: Homegirl London. Photographs: Homegirl London.