Saturday, 24 September 2011

Lemurs in London

Green spaces in urban areas are sinks for pollutants from vehicles and source of oxygen. They are also havens where city dwellers can forget their cares and relax amidst the towering trees. Most cities are overpopulated and congested and like pressure cookers; green spaces help the city dwellers to vent steam or just stand and stare and are essential for physical and mental health.

London has its fair share of greens paces. There are the big parks such as the Hyde Park, Regent’s Park, Green Park in Central London not to mention Kew gardens which is removed from the heart of the city. But several squares in the city also have enclosed gardens some of which are for public use and others which are for the use for the residents. Unofficial estimates claim that there are more than 3,000 parks and open spaces in the city. Many of the famous parks in London owe their existence to the Victorians who invented and shaped the concept of public parks.

I have never more appreciated the concept of these artificial green spaces than recently. After moving from tranquil and pristine Scotland, I ended up in the heart of the big city. Whilst this was exciting, my journey to work on the tube and the pollution around the area where I lived aggravated respiratory conditions which forced me to search for a greener area. I was fortunate to move to a nice green area in North West London near the Hampstead Heath. The part of the Heath closer to my house is called the Golders Hill Park. It is green , tranquil has manicured lawns , mature trees, and even has a small zoo. During the sweaty summer, it was an oasis. Several times after work I went straight to the park for a stroll to breathe the clean air and unwind. The admittance to the zoo in the Golders Hill Park is free which means everyone can enjoy what the park has to offer. Golders Hill Park zoo owes its existence to the Victorians . It has a herd of deer, collection of butterflies, rare and exotic birds such as laughing kookaburras, ring-tailed lemurs, cavy’s and ring-tailed coatis. The public are also given the chance to adopt the animals.

Whilst I have enjoyed the beauty of the park, and the company of lemurs, I have also noticed that since my move to my new home I have been free of respiratory complaints.

I hope that Londoners carry on with the Victorian traditions of green spaces in the city by creating new ones. I am glad that the entry to the Golders Hill Park is free. Can you put a price to these green spaces I wonder as it is indeed priceless?

1 comment:

Sarah Stephen said...

Wonderful post and especially relevant. And I agree:the greenery, the ponds/lakes/springs/waterfalls, the urban wild-life, all induces calmness. Nature- the best shrink!


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