This is a wildlife park that tumbles down a steep slope in Wandsworth, sitting next to an ancient church.
There’s been a church at the top of the slope since at least the 12th-century, and the current church, renamed as St Paul’s was built in 1815 as a chapel of ease to Holy Trinity, Clapham. The church is surrounded by a graveyard and very well mown lawns, but the pocket park I am writing about sits on the other side of the footpath, and has a totally different character from the English lawns of the churchyard.
The Eden Nature Garden was established in 2000 to transform an area of underused church land into a tranquil space with plenty of planting for wildlife. With its pond, planted beds and wildflower areas it provides a sustainable space for wildlife and people alike, and promotes environmental education and biodiversity through activities such as planting native British species and organic gardening.
There are a couple of entrances into the park, both off the alleyway, and leads into a space with loads of winding paths ever so slightly overflowing with plants to remind us who is in charge here.
A local cat came out on my visit, looked at me and decided I wasn’t interesting enough to loiter about for and wandered off into the undergrowth.
Down the bottom of the slope is a space with signs saying no dogs, and a small pond for the water wildlife. Some patches of open lawn with old logs for sitting on are dotted around, but it’s very much a space for the wildlife to call their home, and for us to relax in on occasions.
Both the churchyard and Eden Nature Garden are part of a Local “Site of Importance for Nature Conservation” (SINC) for Lambeth council. Eden also sells its own honey from what has become a full-scale training apiary.
Eden Nature Garden is normally open from 7:30am until 15 minutes from sunset.