Whether you are enjoying a vegan sandwich sitting on a park bench, or taking loved ones for a trip to the park, here are some good books to help preserve or even set up a local park. Green space should be for everyone, and the vegan and environmental movement are so closely linked, it’s always good to return public spaces to nature.
All bulbs and many plants and trees (plus items like cocoa mulch and slug pellets) are toxic to pets. See how to make gardens and parks safe for pets.
Park Life: Around the World in 50 Parks is a book that showed how the pandemic taught us one thing if nothing else: that people love parks. As horizons shrank, we took stock. At first, a sense of panic set in; nowhere to go, nothing to do. Then we all went to the park, and realised that we crave greenery.
Whether we’re in Colombia or Korea, America or Australia, urban parks are placed where we can find calm amid the chaos. They can also (more often than we may realise) conceal intriguing hidden histories, and can tell us something about modern life in our frenzied world, too. With fondness and humour, Tom recalls 50 of his favourite urban parks from across the world. In a love letter to the green escapes, that bring joy to our cities.
Tom Chesshyre is a writer of travel books, who has journeyed 40,000 miles around the world for his books about trains. He has also visited North Africa’s Arab Spring, the Maldives and been to Hull and back. He lives in London.
London Parks is an essential companion guide to anyone who wishes to explore the evergreen beauty of England’s capital city – whether it’s spotting pelicans and politicians in St James Park, the birds in London Wetland Centre, or the views from Greenwich Park.
In this book, the author illustrates the wonders of his favourite parks, by spending a year walking around them. From his local haunt on Hampstead Heath to the latest Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Each park is chosen for its unique appeal. Informative and entertaining, this book details the history of each park, describes its layout and reveals hidden delights and new attractions that may otherwise be missed.
One story covered is that of the statue of the little brown dog in Battersea Park. He was erected due to protests by early anti-vivisectionists appalled at this dog that died during experiments at a time when there were around 300 experiments a year. This led to riots and the statue was torn down, then a new one erected recently which you can pay homage to if you visit. Then only give to humane research. Other interesting finds covered in the book is a garden of exotic plants and palm trees (Burgess Park) and Ian Dury’s musical memorial bench (Richmond Park.
Hunter Davies is a writer, journalist and broadcaster, of whom Jilly Cooper says ‘he cannot write a boring word’. The author of the only authorised biography of The Beatles, he has loved telling people about his life since a child, when he would announce to visitors that his mum and dad were cooking chips for tea. He boasted to everyone that he had reached 80, and says if he reaches 90, he will be unbearable!
Park Life: A Love Letter to London’s Green Spaces is by photographer Sophia Spring. Camera in hand, she traverses the first dates, family meet-ups, yoga classes, swimming parties and other familiar life activities that suddenly started to take place outdoors. London is unique for its multitude of green spaces, which occupy some of the most expensive real estate in the world, but yet remain free and communal for all. This book celebrates the salvation that nature brought, and continues to bring.
What Should a Good Public Park Have?
Ellie Ling for Green Pebble
- For a start, you should be able to walk to a good public park. It should have lots of litter bins and poop bins, an organic lawn, and be free from pet-toxic dangers like bulbs and slug pellets. If you have a pond, it needs to be cleaned regularly from algae and have sloping sides so that wildlife can easily enter and exit.
- Pathways should be easy to walk on and free from pet-toxic cocoa mulch, rubber mulch (a choking hazard) and pine mulch (can puncture stomachs of animals). It should have secure fencing and solar lighting and have regular wardens. Also important are nice places to sit. Marmax Products offer nice seating (including wheelchair-friendly seats) and other items, all made from recycled milk bottles, in colourful colours (so easy to clean and they never rot).
- Finally, councils need to consult with local wildlife experts. Often councils don’t have the knowledge on the best types of bird houses or where to site them, and how to keep local wildlife safe. Trees are more important than metal statues and skateboard parks.
- If you don’t have space, that’s not an issue. Many cities worldwide make ‘tiny parks’. Size is not the main issue, in fact you can do a lot more with a small space with some expertise and some willing hands.
- Bag and Boop Compostable Dog Poop Bags are made from cornstarch and compost after use. They meet strict European testing standards and contain no plastic sticker. Strong and leakproof, they are also unscented and create zero microplastics when degrading. Each box contains four rolls of 20 bags.