BKLPAG Part 1: Tooting Bec Common

On my way to work one morning

It’s nearly the middle of February and Colleen’s new years resolution No. 6 has not been been tested much. I am supposed to be visiting 20 new London parks or gardens and taking lovely pictures and sharing my thoughts on them, but I haven’t yet. But that’s all changing tonight as I bring you part 1 of my 20 part series: Better Know London’s Parks and Gardens (a small rip off of Stephen Colbert’s Better know a district) or BKLPAG for short. That’s easy to remember abbrev. Any ways, The first park up: Tooting Bec Common.

I first must admit that I’ve gone through this park many times. It part of my commute route into work since November. So it’s hardly new. But I never take pictures.  That is until a couple weeks ago when I fancied a bit of walk. The common contains a small woodland area which is dominated

Cycle path, lined by Aesculus hippocastanum. Better known as Horse Chestnut

by oaks. I’d randomly discovered it in the fall when I was walking home from Balham one night and the leaves were still on the trees. It felt really special and I was happy to discover such a place not too far from where I live.  Even in the middle of winter, it’s a wonderful place to walk through.

The park is a couple hundred acres and contains a bunch of football pitches, an athletics track and a pool. Recently they’ve installed a new adventure playground which is like a giant rope playground thing, which I’d be pretty excited about if I were a kid in the area.

As you’ll start to see, trees will most likely prominently feature in these posts for good reason: trees are

The adaptable and ever so strong, Quercus robur (English Oak)

neat. And with all the excellent oaks in Tooting Common, it’s worth a visit. The great thing about oaks are the cavities they can develop and have for literally hundreds of years and not severely hamper their ability to grow. One of the oaks along Bedford Hill has one of the largest cavities I’ve ever seen on an oak. I’m pretty sure I could have taken up residence inside of it and been quite comfortable.

While I was there snapping photos I spotted some birds in a tree which didn’t seem like they quite fit in. I know that there’s a population of bird species here in London, which are most likely birds who have escaped or been let loose by their owners. Now they’ve successfully bred and taken to the sky of London. They aren’t the only species to take over here in England either. In the UK the red squirrel used to be the dominant squirrel species. That was until some aristocrat went across the pond and discovered North American gray squirrels which they brought back here for novelty. Well these squirrels are much more aggressive and destructive than their red counterparts. They ended up competing the reds out of most of England. Now the red ones are only found in isolated forests of Britain which is sad.

Even though I don’t think the gray squirrels should be here, I made a friend at the common the day I

New squirrel friend

went photo shooting. Poking out of a cavity in an oak above my head was a squirrel just staring at me. For a second I thought it was fake, but after about 25 seconds he disappeared back into the tree. Some of you may know that I have a soft spot for squirrels.

So I’ll leave you with a few more pictures from around the Common. If you live in SW16, I hope you go for a wander through there. I look forward to seeing the leaves getting back on the trees soon in another month or two.

BKLPAG Part 2 will feature something a little less sprawling, but no less impressive. So look forward to that in the coming days.

Love birds

Avenue of trees

I bet this old tree provides a habitat to a surprising number of creatures.

Tooting Bec Common is part of the Capital Ring Walk











Categories: 20 London Parks and Gardens, I'm 29 | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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