NORTH: Kate, Camden

What part of London is home and how long have you lived there?

Kate in Epping Forest

I have lived in West Hampstead for the past 2 years. Prior to that I lived in my family house in Loughton. Our home was 200 meters from Epping Forest so I was brought up in a very green area.


I taught in Essex for 3 years. As my career progressed, I decided it was the right time to gain experience in an inner city school. When a job opportunity came up in Camden, I took it and have been living here since.


What are your favourite things about where you live?

It is so accessible to central London and being in lockdown, I have realised this even more. I really enjoy cycling, but I wouldn't have considered cycling into central London before lockdown. However, with far fewer cars on the roads, I've been loving it and have been exploring much further afield than normal.


The quieter roads have led me to explore the centre of London- cycling from West Hampstead through to Regents Park, Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace and through to the river. One of my favourite parts of this ride is stopping off at the zoo spotting the giraffes and camels through the railings!


To make the most of lockdown and the great weather, my boyfriend and I have eaten outside a couple of times and treated ourselves to a take away on the Heath following a ride. I'd love to hold onto things like this when lockdown ends: exploring and spending ample time outdoors. It is such a pleasure to have Hampstead Heath on my doorstep. I have come to appreciate the diverse range of landscapes within this one green space, ranging from forest to open heathland.

I am more of a runner and a cyclist, but last summer I swam in the ponds. I started off in the mixed ponds as I wanted to swim with my boyfriend, but I found it too touristy and there were people everywhere. As a result, I swam in the female pond a few times. Although I am not a big fan of fish, wild swimming is great. They are different to lidos which can be found in a few areas of London such as Tooting, Brixton. Parliament Hill and the Serpentine.


If there was something you would want others to know about your area, what would it be?

The heath is a beautiful space but most people know the more famous areas of it such as Parliament Hill and Kenwood House, however, I want them to consider visiting the Heath Extension. The extension is generally so much quieter and has some lovely secluded areas, forested areas and so rich in it's biodiversity.

Moss in Macro

Where is your favourite part of London for nature?

I love Epping Forest. I grew up there and it holds a lot of wonderful memories for me. It is a special place for deer. You can so easily stumble across them while out walking, I have happened upon muntjac and fallow deer many times and it is always really special.


My dad knows their behaviour so well that he even knows the areas they are likely to be found depending on the time of day and the season. This means that if I feel the need to see a deer or two I'll ask him where he expects them to be and more often than not, he's right.


I really like the way the Corporation of London manages the forest because it is really important that forests are not over managed and not heavily commercialised. It's great that they don't have signs all over and it is very easy to walk off the main path.

In recent years, I have found that there is a much wider range of people spending time in the forest. There seems to be more family groups and is also more culturally diverse.


Finally, the fields study council (FSC) is based in High Beach. They run some wonderful courses there. I have previously attended a day photography course. It was only £30 for a whole day which is an unbelievable price and such a good standard of teaching. They have courses in a wide range of subjects. I am keeping an eye out for their winter wreath making course. It's lovely to be able to use the forest for the resources to make something with.


Finally...

I love running. I come from a family of runners and am the third generation of the Woodford Green Athletics Club. I started when I was 11 years old and always loved running with my dad and brother.


It has been so beneficial, not just for fitness, but it clears my head and helps me to feel good in myself.


On moving to London, I tried to be more productive with my time. As such, I would listen to podcasts whilst running. More recently, I have realised that this reduced the enjoyment of getting outside. I have now reconnected with my original love of running and take in landscapes and just be, rather than trying to want more.

Kate teaches geography in a Camden school

Living in Camden means that Kate is close to many of the points of the Brent and North line on the #GreengrounMap

For TFL, Camden is in zone 3, on the northern line with good access to buses.


Find the full Greenground Map here

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