London Forest: Exploring the Capital’s Green Spaces

London is often referred to as a “concrete jungle,” but did you know that it is technically a forest? This may come as a surprise, but the answer lies in the abundance of trees that can be found throughout the city. With a population of 8.7 million and approximately 8.3 million trees, London has nearly one tree for every person, making it a forest according to the UN.

In this article, we will delve into the numbers behind London’s status as a forest. We will explore the definition of a forest and how London meets the criteria, as well as highlight some notable trees found throughout the city. By the end, readers will have a better understanding of London’s unique status as a forest and the importance of trees in urban environments.

Key Takeaways

  • Despite its reputation as a concrete jungle, London is technically a forest due to its abundance of trees.
  • With nearly one tree for every person, London meets the criteria for a forest according to the UN.
  • Notable trees can be found throughout the city, emphasizing the importance of preserving urban green spaces.

London is a Forest: Crunching the Numbers

London’s green spaces are a major contributor to its forest status. With 35,000 acres of public parks, gardens, and woodland, London has the most parks of any European city. This means that approximately 40% of London is covered in green space, excluding private gardens.

The Green Belt, a protected ring of green space around London, also plays a significant role in increasing the city’s forested area. While most of the Green Belt is outside of London, roughly 20% of it falls within the city limits, providing more space for trees and wildlife.

To put London’s green space into perspective, the second greenest city in Europe, Berlin, has only 14% of green space compared to London’s 40%. Additionally, London is the third leafiest region in the entire country, following only Surrey and Exeter.

The following table shows the percentage of green space in London compared to other major cities in Europe:

CityPercentage of Green Space

London’s abundance of green space not only contributes to its forest status but also provides numerous benefits, including improved air quality, increased biodiversity, and enhanced mental and physical health for its residents.

Notable London Trees

The Charlton House Mulberry

The Charlton House Mulberry in Greenwich is believed to be one of the oldest trees of its kind in the UK, having been planted in the 1600s. Although its exact age is uncertain, it remains a beautiful and impressive landmark in the area.

The Totteridge Yew

Located on the grounds of St. Andrew’s Church in Totteridge, The Totteridge Yew is London’s oldest tree, with an impressive age of 2000 years. It is a significant landmark in the area and is a testament to the longevity of nature.

The Greenwich Park Shagbark Hickory

The Greenwich Park Shagbark Hickory is the largest of its kind in the UK and is named for its shaggy bark. It is believed to have been planted in 1890 and remains a beautiful and unique feature of the park.

The Cheapside Plane

The Cheapside Plane, located on Wood Street in the City of London, is believed to be the oldest tree in the Square Mile, with an impressive age of 250 years. Its age may be even older, but it is hard to determine without chopping it down and counting the rings. The tree is so significant that nearby buildings have been restricted in height to protect its space, and it remains a beloved feature of the area.