Five ways to enjoy National Park City Week
This week is National Park City Week – a week to celebrate our city’s amazing green spaces, as we kickstart activity to make London the world’s first National Park City in 2019. This means a greener city, rich in wildlife, where people and nature are better connected and everyone has access to green spaces, clean air and waterways.
Here are five ways you can take part:
Almost half of London is green space – but many of us don’t make the most of it. National Park City Week has more than 300 family-friendly events and activities across London to help everyone discover London’s hidden green gems, footpaths and waterways. These include:
- family activities in parks across the city
- encounters with urban wildlife from butterflies to bats
- opportunities to help look after local green spaces
- boat trips, bike rides and tree trails
London's hedgehogs are in trouble, with the city's population falling by almost a third in the past two decades. London Wildlife Trust is calling on Londoners to help reverse the decline by counting them. You can also monitor butterflies and moths during the Big Butterfly Count, which runs from 20 July to 12 August. And for avid wildlife spotters, recording your sightings is very helpful for conservation groups, so they can protect habitats now and in future.
Half of London’s front gardens are paved over – something which can be harmful for biodiversity, as species such as hedgehogs, moths and birds are driven away. Green spaces have been shown to boost wellbeing, while plants also absorb emissions, improving the quality of air we breathe. And concrete doesn't soak up rainwater, so a paved garden can raise the risk of flooding. Find out how to de-pave your garden and help green the grey.
Home-grown fruit and veg taste better than shop-bought and save you money at the supermarket. If you don’t have space for garden beds, you can grow vegetables in window boxes, grow bags or pots – just make sure there’s plenty of good-quality soil. For more advice on growing your own fruit and veg, the Royal Horticultural Society and the National Trust have a wealth of fantastic tips.
Numbers of many bee species have fallen in recent years. A shortage of bees can seriously affect gardens and food growing, as many plants need bees to transfer pollen from flower to flower. The RSPB has a list of bee-friendly, nectar-rich flowers to plant in every season – look out for the Plants for Pollinators logo in the Royal Horticultural Society’s Plant Database. Nature charity, Plantlife, also has some great tips for planting wildflowers.