Camley Street Natural Park
Comprising 0.8 hectares (2 acres) of land on the banks of the Regent's Canal – by St Pancras Lock and adjoining St Pancras Basin, the park is a sanctuary for wildlife and an education centre, forming "a lovely oasis".
It is run by the London Wildlife Trust. A visitors' centre caters for casual visitors and school parties, though tours must be booked.
In shape the park is a narrow strip of land bounded by the canal, Camley Street and Goods Way. The entrance is through an ornate gate on Camley Street.
Admission to the park is free. Its opening hours and days change with the funding it is able to win.
The site is divided into the following habitats:
- A summer-flowering meadow,
- A pond with varying water level, dependent on the canal water level,
- Marshland with reed bed,
- Coppiced woodland,
- Deciduous woodland,
- Mixed woodland with scrub,
- Mixed woodland with hedgerow,
- Dipping pond (with boardwalk),
- Rainwater ponds.
Meadow herbs include white clover and poppy.
Woodland trees include hazel, rowan, hawthorn and silver birch. Hazel and willow are coppiced regularly. Woodland herbs include lesser celandine and wild violet.
Marshland herbs include marsh marigold, greater pond sedge, pendulous sedge, reed, bogbean, mallow and yellow iris. Marsh-nesting birds include reed bunting, moorhen, coot and reed warbler.
Until the 17th century the area was in the Middlesex woodlands. In the 18th century it came under industrial use, and the Regent's Canal was built along the eastern edge of the former country estate. In the 19th century the area was used as a coal siding, first for the canal and then for the Midland Railway. The site became derelict by the 1970s.
According to Time Out, Camley Street is "London Wildlife Trust's Flagship Reserve, it hosts pond-dipping and nature-watching sessons for children and its wood-cabin visitor centre is used by the Wldlife Watch Club."
According to the Mayor of London's Biodiversity Strategy, "Camley Street Natural Park, in particular, has demonstrated that a valuable wildlife space can be created from nothing to become a hub of communal and educational activity, supporting wildlife such as the reed warbler in a place where this would otherwise be unthinkable. Visitors from far and wide come to learn from this example."
The park is immediately opposite the high-level lines of High Speed 1, running into St Pancras Station. Much of the old industrial surroundings are being redeveloped as part of the plans for King's Cross Central (formerly known as the Railway Lands), following the completion of the High Speed 1 construction work in 2007. This should increase the park's popularity; formerly the area was part of the kerb-crawling district. Whether such a small space is able to cope with a large increase in visitors remains to be seen; for example, the developers have outlined planning permission for building a footbridge over the canal and along the park's northern boundary. The Wildlife Trust opposed the application, but it has been approved by Camden Council.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Camley Street Natural Park.|
- Natural England, Local Nature Reserves, Camley Street Nature Park
- "Time Out London". Camley Street Natural Park. Time Out. Retrieved February 2, 2012.
- Pashley, James (20 August 2007). "Ecology and Conservation". Habitat Management Investigation. James Pashley. Retrieved February 2, 2012.
- "King's Cross (Development)". King's Cross - Camley Street Natural Park. King's Cross Central Limited Partnership. 2008. Retrieved February 2, 2012.
- "The Mayor's Biodiversity Strategy". Connecting with London's nature. Greater London Authority. July 2002. p. 79. Retrieved February 2, 2012.