London

National Geographic: One Man’s Plan to Transform a Major City Into a National Park


“What is a park? For most of us, a park is a place apart – a reserve of nature in a world increasingly dominated by human activities and arranged to fulfill human needs and desires. But a park is also for people –  a place of refuge for the human soul, which tends to wither when long separated from green and growing things.

John Muir, the great naturalist, captured this dual purpose at the dawn of the national parks movement. “Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity,” Muir wrote in 1901. Our concept of parks, especially in North America, Europe, and Australia, has remained largely unchanged since.

Daniel Raven-Ellison, a self-described “guerrilla geographer” and National Geographic explorer, would like to change it.”

Continue reading this article by Emma Marris on National Geographic.

Photo: Luke Massey

London’s Peaks: Wandsworth


A few weeks ago I went for a hike to Wandsworth’s highest point with Rick Pearson from London’s Peaks, a new podcast.

“The premise of the podcast is simple: each episode, one notable resident of one of the twelve inner-city boroughs will lead us on a walk to the highest point within that borough. Along the way, we’ll talk fondest memories, hopes for the future and, crucially, what that area of London means to them.”

You can listen to all the podcasts here.

London Essays: LONDON’S EMPTY CHILDHOODS


From an early age I had the freedom to go exploring. Along with my brothers and friends, I would play well-organised games of ‘hide and seek’, ‘forty-forty’ or ‘capture the flag’ over large areas of woodland. I was good at it, too. While some of my friends would hide behind a log wearing bright clothing, I would camouflage myself with soil and old branches and position myself in the one place hardly anyone looks, on a branch high up in the trees. I would imagine myself as a lynx, a shadow in the woodland’s canopy, quietly watching as people passed below without noticing me. In the heat and excitement of the games, I used these quiet moments to tune into the wild around me. I might watch a woodlouse navigate an archipelago of moss, a woodpecker feeding its young, a family of deer observing my friends trying to find me.

We should not see childhood just as a period of time; we should see it as a place

At the age of 10, we made the most incredible camps. Once, taking advantage of a fallen tree…

Continue reading on the Centre for London’s London Essays website.

BBC Wildlife Magazine: Concrete Conservation


Urban areas cover approximately three per cent of the world as a whole, and seven per cent of the UK. They are a distinct habitat that, in the case of large cities, can stretch across entire landscapes. As you’d expect, our largest, most diverse, most complex and influential of these habitats is to be found in London. Covering around 1,600km it’s larger in area than the Peak District, and it’s not just home to 8.6 million Homo sapiens.

It doesn’t matter how often I see a red fox, my heart skips a beat every time. I see them all the time where I live in Hanwell…

The this article in BBC Wildlife Magazine.

BBC Open Country: London, A National Park City?


“There’s a campaign gaining ground to make London a National Park City. But what exactly does that mean? David Lindo meets the campaign founder Dan Raven-Ellison to find out and goes on a journey across London to see for himself why anyone would think the UK’s biggest city could qualify for such a title. Along the way he finds a ghost of a river, an enthusiastic ornithologist, and some paddlers who call Regents Canal their breathing space.”

Listen to this episode of Open Country on BBC Radio 4.