Celebrating London the First National Park City


On Saturday we held a family-friendly free nature trail in honour of London turning into the world’s first National Park City.

The nature trail and treasure hunt was held in New Cross Gate Cutting (also known as Brockley Nature Reserve) which is part of the Great North Wood in South East London. It’s a nature reserve looked after by the wonderful London Wildlife Trust. Their superb volunteers, John and Steve helped to open up the reserve, which is usually closed to preserve the wildlife and biodiversity of the area. The cutting is open once a month, around the third or fourth weekend, so do check it out if you’re ever nearby.

We welcomed over 70 people into the reserve and saw old friends and made new ones. The little ones enjoyed seeking out the animals we’d hidden throughout the reserve and the adults collected the goodies. The amazing event sponsors who helped to provide the treasure included Liz Earle Beauty Co, CanOwater and Munchy Seeds

According the London Wildlife Trust, “The remnants of The Great North Wood, an ancient landscape of woodland and wooded commons, once covered the high ground between Deptford and Selhurst” essentially spreading from the River Thames to Croydon. Environmental conservation work is well under way thanks to funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund as London Wildlife Trust works to conserve the 13 remaining woodland sites and to ensure they remain an effective ‘green lung’ to help clean the city’s air and provide a wonderful place for everyone to relax and enjoy. 

The green spaces spaces include:

  • One Tree Hill

  • Sydenham Hill Wood

  • Biggin Wood

  • Crystal Palace Park

  • And many others.

We have walks in many of these areas including this brilliant brand new one created by the London Wildlife Trust which takes in South Norwood Country Park and Long Lane Wood. Definitely one to save and do next! 

Signing the Universal Charter for National Park Cities across the world


On Sunday we had the pleasure of attending an important ceremony to sign and support the first Universal Charter for National Park Cities.

Image from iOS.jpg

In the words of Dan Raven-Ellison: “The purpose of the Universal Charter is to inspire people, create a common understanding of what National Park Cities are and to encourage collaboration. The Charter is symbolic of people's power to make cities greener, healthier and better for both people and nature. Signing is a way to recognise and state our prerogative to act for a better future.”

The special gathering and universal charter was launched on One Tree Hill (a site steeped in relevant history) and also a important part of the Great North Wood. The small gathering of the wider National Park City family marked the occasion by sharing moving personal stories and pledges to encourage people to protect the planet and its future, in these uncertain times.

One of the reasons we love the National Park City (NPC) movement so much is that it enables an opportunity to think positively about the future. The mantra: “What if?” is one that the NPC team adopt to challenge our mindsets, habits and negativity. What if we managed to protect the planet from adverse climate breakdown? What if we dared to dream about a better future and made it happen? What if everyone walked and cycled more and we no-longer needed to rely on cars? What if everyone loved nature as much as David Attenborough?

Many of us are easily overcome with “eco-anxiety” especially when faced with these complex health, social, environmental and ecological crises that cover the newspapers and headlines. The National Park City approach is timely and helps provide a positive vision for a better life. Something I feel that we probably all need right now. Here’s to People Planet Power!

There are free events happening across London during the National Park City Festival . Head to the website to find out more and join in with one of the free events.

With love,
Hana Sutch

Co-founder & CEO

Hana SutchComment