Top six things you didn’t know about London’s trees
London Tree Week takes place from 27 May-4 June. To pique your interest, here are six surprising facts to help you see the forest for the trees.
1. There are lots and lots of trees in London
Probably more than you think. In fact, there are around 8.4 million trees in our city. That’s almost one tree for every Londoner. Collectively, we describe these trees as London’s ‘urban forest’.
2. All those trees take up a lot of space
If you imagined all those trees together, they would cover around 20 per cent of our city. London is a lot greener than you think.
3. Trees are good for our economy
London’s millions of trees save the city cash too. This is because they do useful stuff like remove pollution, remove carbon dioxide and help protect London from flooding.
4. Parks are a big thing too
Look around you, London is full of parks for everyone to enjoy. Indeed, there are around 3,000 of them in our city. That’s the main reason 47 per cent of London is green space. Not such a ‘concrete’ jungle after all.
5. London has some positively ancient trees
The oldest tree in London is the Totteridge Yew. It is located in the yard of St. Andrew’s near Totteridge & Whetstone station. After 24 years of research, it was declared the oldest living thing in London – a staggering 2000 years old.
6. Hard to imagine, but London used to be covered in forest
This is reflected in the fact that so many parts of London are named after trees and woods. There’s the three Oaks (Burnt, Gospel and Honor), Nine Elms, Royal Oak station, Wood Green, Fores Hill, Forest Gate and many more. Seven Sisters is particularly interesting as it is a name used across the world, usually linked to the Greek myth. In London, it refers to a group of seven elms planted in a circle with a walnut tree at their centre. The clump became known as Seven Sisters by 1732.
There are over 60 events happening across London for London Tree Week.
- Facts 1 and 3: https://www.forestry.gov.uk/pdf/LONDONI-TREEECOSUMMARY160331.pdf/$FILE/LONDONI-TREEECOSUMMARY160331.pdf
- Fact 2: https://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/measuring_tree_canopy_cover_2015.pdf
- Fact 4: http://www.gigl.org.uk/keyfigures/
- Fact 5: http://londonist.com/2008/10/natureist_the_totteridge_yew_1
- Fact 6: http://londonist.com/2014/11/who-were-the-seven-sisters