Camley Street Natural Park is one of the wonders of central London - several acres of wildlife habitat in Zone 1, a literal stone's throw from the King's Cross Development. Here Amy Warner of the London Wildlife Trust explains why the site needs our help to reopen - and just how you can provide funds.
Kings Cross was once filled with black dust as it was the main area where coal from the North was offloaded and distributed across London on the canal system and by horse-drawn cart. There was a large coal drop along Camley Street right where Camley Street Natural Park now stands. As the use of coal decreased across London, the area stayed an industrial neighbourhood with a bad reputation. In the early 1980-90s some areas of King’s Cross were no-go areas at night; the area was well known for prostitution and the tow path along the Regents Canal was a hive of antisocial behaviour.
In 1982 the park was just a wasteland which the council wanted to convert it into a lorry park, but a joint effort between the local residents, the London Assembly and London Wildlife Trust saved it and in 1983 it was converted into a natural park which was free for local communities to access. Ever since then Camley Street Natural Park has been the emerald jewel in the crown of King’s Cross. It is now a thriving nature reserve and centre of education, visited by thousands of people each year.
Camley Street needs the community to work with us once again. The reserve was closed in 2017 as the visitor centre was in dire need of repairs, costing more each year to fix its problems. Now, London Wildlife Trust have launched a crowdfunder to ask the public to help raise £30,000 in order to complete the building work on a brand new learning centre, including a café and volunteers room.
The new centre will allow us to continue to deliver the family and school education programmes that the park has become well known for. With wildlife always our priority, the new building has been designed sustainably, needing less electricity than before, and the roof will provide a roosting area for bats and birds. The new outdoor learning area will ensure that higher visitor numbers will not impact the more wildlife sensitive areas on the other side of the park.
Camley Street Natural Park has been a special part of Camden for decades. It is free to visit for all, and London Wildlife Trust want to ensure that it stays that way for many years to come.
Visit the Help Reopen Camley Street Natural Park crowdfunder on Spacehive to make a pledge and help London Wildlife Trust reach their goal by October 31st - as this is an “all or nothing” crowdfunder, they will only receive their pledges if they hit their goal, so time is of the essence!
Those who pledge over £100 to the cause have the opportunity to dedicate a special personalised wildlife plaque on the supporters wall of the new building – find out more here.