Outdoors  Features

The Wild (south) West

Riverlight green open space

Published on
March 6, 2017

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There’s an old proverb that goes something like this:

If you wish to be happy for a day, get drunk;
If you wish to be happy for a month, get married;
If you wish to be happy for life; make a garden.

We often measure city growth by the number of new buildings popping up or the number of people moving in. But there’s a new metric on the block: measuring the prosperity of a city by the number of green spaces, flora and fauna. London is growing. Yes, there’s nearly 470,000 new residents since 2011 but there’s also an abundance of green space being added.

Greenery is good for you; it’s what brings life to the neighbourhoods and there are plenty of spots to check out as we #springforward.

The area around Nine Elms and Vauxhall isn’t short of gardens or green spaces; besides, we’re named after nine Elm trees that signposted your arrival. There’s Riverside Gardens, Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens and Old Paradise Gardens. There’s Battersea Park, Larkhall Park, Heathbrook Park, Pedlars Park, Vauxhall Park, and the list goes on.

Outdoor film screenings at Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens will be starting up again soon. You can also book private historic walks of the gardens if you fancy. Otherwise, a new bit of the riverfront at Battersea has opened up, by Battersea Power Station. It’s small but it’s another bit of the Thames Pathway through Nine Elms that’s being opened to the public for the first time since the 1930s.

Bring your friends, your boyfriend, your nan, your bike or just yourself and enjoy the English tradition of urban parks and civic gardens.

Soon, the US Embassy gardens will have London Plane trees along Nine Elms Lane and a new walk to the south that connects the site to Vauxhall Station. 

St William, the developers behind the Prince of Wales Drive scheme by the Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, have a landscaping-led philosophy where the architecture is fitted to the landscape and not the other way round. They aim for remarkable quality of open spaces because that’s where you create community: somewhere sociable, sustainable, and safe.

We can be obsessed with housing prices and thinking of residential property as investment. But let us not lose sight of makes us smile: living in wonderful, cosy homes in green neighbourhoods.