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A slice of wilderness where London needs it most now has the visitor center it deserves

Mar 01, 2022
Wedged between two busy train stations in Central London, Camley Street Natural Park has always been a somewhat improbable oasis of green space. Now, equipped with a new visitor center, it’s offering even more to urbanites seeking respite and a chance to learn about nature

The new Visitor and Learning Center, created with support from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) and others, has spaces specifically designed to help the park offer public programs for adults and families and hands-on lessons linked to England’s national curriculum for schoolkids.

A former Victorian-era coal drop for King’s Cross Station, the two-acre site Camley Street Natural Park occupies is now bursting with native flora and fauna. Habitats from woodland to grassland to wetland, ponds, and reedbeds host vulnerable species like the snake’s-head fritillary and the reed bunting. The new building’s design also provides animal habitats, including bat boxes and places for birds to nest, in addition to features that minimize energy and water usage.

The opening of the Visitor and Learning Center comes at a time when the number of visitors to the park, already in the tens of thousands each year, is expected to increase dramatically. Camley Street Natural Park, managed by the London Wildlife Trust, is situated in the heart of a major redevelopment project in the area of King’s Cross, and its location places it near institutions like the Francis Crick Institute.