Nature Spots Around UCL

4 December 2020

‘Nature’ might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the UCL campus but if you venture just a little off the beaten track, you may discover a green oasis in the heart of Bloomsbury!

two trees in a park

Gordon and Tavistock Square, just across the road from the Student Centre, can be great for a quick, green break. If you have a little bit of time, why not join the Conservation Society for one of their weekly Bloomsbury Bird Walks around campus to see if you can spot some of the resident tits, mistle thrushes and even kestrels

If you have even more time, walking eastwards from UCL, you can find the larger Russell Square, Coram’s Fields and St George’s Gardens. Although Coram’s Fields is an exclusive children’s playground and petting zoo, you can still sit under beautiful, huge London Plane trees in the neighbouring St George’s Gardens or discover the insect hotels at Russell Square.

If you really want to ‘go wild’ I suggest exploring farther afield. Regent’s park is a short distance away and according to the local Wildlife Trust, the occasional hedgehog can be spotted there! If you meander down the canal, you will undoubtedly encounter water-nesting birds such as coots and even Reed warblers in summer. Going north towards Kings Cross you can find the Camely Street Gardens Natural park, where many species including common frogs, king-fishers, honey bees and moorhens can be found.

Studies have shown that interacting with nature in whatever season, can improve focus, attention, and memory, providing great benefits for studying. It’s been suggested that spending even 1 hour in nature a day can improve memory and attention by 20%. Recent findings by mental health charity Mind, also show that spending time in nature can improve mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. So there are many good reasons to explore some of the nature spots around campus.

Last revised: 7 September 2021.

Helen Visscher, UCL Sustainability blog contributor