Two of London’s parks have been declared “sites of special scientific interest”, meaning that they have been designated important areas for wildlife in England.
The two green spaces are both located in the South West, they are Bushy Park and Home Park, in the London Borough of Richmond. The declaration has been made by the quasi-government body Natural England. The area contains such gems as the National Physical Laboratory and Kew Gardens, Hampton Court Palace, and Twickenham Stadium.
Bushy Park, which is located immediately north of Hampton Court Palace, has played an important role in British history. During World War I, it the King’s Canadian Hospital; furthermore, between the world wars it hosted a camp for undernourished children. Home Park adjoins Bushy Park.
Having special scientific interest status means that the parks have a special legal protection in order to preserve wildlife and geology. The status has been granted to different areas since 1949. The legal status prevents the areas from being built upon.
The two areas have been selected because, as the U.K. government has announced, they have significant populations of rare insects, large numbers of ancient and veteran trees (a tree second or mature stage of its life); together with extensive areas of special grassland habitat. Several of the trees date back to the fifteenth century. The types of trees described as “ancient” include oak and lime trees. There are also a number of old hawthorn trees, festooned with mistletoe.