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Get closer to nature in North London - nature walks, nature reserves and nature groups

There was an article in the New York Times that caught my eye recently, talking about something called Nature Deficit Disorder. The article refers to a book by the writer Richard Louv in a 2005 book called “Last Child in the Woods.” The book argues that a lot of the problems facing us today including obesity, poor health and behaivioural difficulties can be traced back to how little time the average child spends outdoors.  This got me thinking about how much time we spend outdoors, especially when the weather is like it is now, and how important it is.  I know that in my own childhood some of the most enjoyable times were those we spent outdoors walking and exploring nature and want my children to have the same experience even though they are growing up in a big city. Luckily North London has lots of beautiful and wild places to explore.

I'm fortunate to have a a beautiful walk minutes from my house in the Dollis Valley Green Walk (pictured above and below) and so we do manage to get out into nature fairly frequently. This is a really great walk to do, especially as they have recently refurbished the playgrounds along the walk. At times you can really feel like you are in the middle of nowhere.

Other good local places to walk and explore nature that I know of are Aldenham Country Park, Adelaide Road Nature Reserve (Camden), Camley Street Natural Park (near Kings Cross), Long Lane Pasture (Finchley), and the Parkland Walk that runs from Alexandra Park to Highgate Wood as well as obviously some of the wilder parts of Hampstead Heath including the parts by Spaniards Inn and the top of the Heath extension.

I've also come across two groups recently that encourage exploration of nature, that sound really enjoyable and something different to do with children:  

Nature Play North London, Highgate Wood

This lovely sounding group meets every Thursday 2.30pm at the drinking fountain in Highgate Wood. The group is free and for all ages. It meets every week and in all weathers. They set up blankets in a cosy nook in the wood. When they are settled, snacks and drinks can be shared, and then it's about freedom for the children to explore and discover their surroundings and abilities!
You can find out more by visiting the site or joining their Facebook page.  

Babies In the Park, Avenue House Park

This is described as a conscious walk in the park connecting to nature and meets at the Avenue House Kiosk. For more details check out the Facebook page

Do you know of any other groups or good places to go that are on the wilder side? Do let us and other parents know.
Mindy Day 15 February 2013 at 10:08 said...

I just wanted to thank you for this post! I am not a mum but a North Londoner looking for some nice nature walks. We are going to try the Dollis Valley one this weekend:)

Anonymous 15 February 2013 at 10:16 said...

Great, enjoy it!

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