A typical wildflower meadow sown on Hampstead Heath to support house sparrows (c) Tim Webb

Why is that grass uncut? Why are there piles of leaves? Why are there dead trees in the park? All valid questions that get asked by parks' visitors more often than you imagine.

The truth is, long grass with wildflowers, decaying leaves and dead wood are all valuable when it comes to attracting and supporting wildlife. As are piles of twigs, uncut hedges during the bird breeding season and dead flowerheads or stems. Removing them woukd mean all sorts of pollinators, birds and other wildlife would struggle to survive or move on to other areas.

This change in parks and public space management is relatively new. A couple of decades ago, many parks had manicured lawns, trimmed hedges and perfect flowerbeds. They were also wildlife deserts. That coincides with the loss of species like house sparrows, once one of our most common urban birds. They suffered a population crash of more than 60% and a lack of natural food such as seeds and insects was a big part of the problem.

We still struggle to love dandelions and daisies, but we are getting better, and our parks are much richer in nature as a consequence, which is better for us and the wider environment.

Check out these five parks in spring and summer for great wildflower displays:

  • Hampstead Heath
  • Whittington Park
  • London Fields
  • St Helier Open Space
  • Perretts Field

Hampstead Heath - Hill Garden and Pergola, Camden

The Pergola, Inverforth Close, London,NW3 7EX | Dawn until dusk

  • Admire the beautiful Pergola and ornamental garden

Whittington Park, Islington

  • Whittington Park is an attractive park, alongside the busy Holloway Road. Local children have helped create attractive murals celebrating the wildlife interest of the park. The park also has excellent play facilities and an all weather games pitch.

London Fields, Hackney

E8 3EU | Always open

  • A really friendly place to hang out, great space for picnics, dog walking, socialising and just enjoying being outside. Also a great place for kids football classes, PT users, yoga classes, junior park run and lots of other activities.

St. Helier Open Space, Sutton

  • Football, open space, playground, ball park.

Perretts Field East, Sutton

  • Perretts Field and Seears Park (collectively called Seears Park) contains mixed woodland and a seasonal pond. A more permanent and secluded pond, surrounded by woodland, occurs in the adjacent waterworks.There is free public access to Perrets Field, but n

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Mapped spaces are based on data published by Greenspace Information for Greater London CIC (GiGL), 2020. Contains public sector information licenced under the Open Government Licence v3.0. See About. | GiGL park and open space content and associated images are ©2020 GiGL CIC, all rights reserved.   |  All other park and open space information is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License   |  CPRE London, 70 Cowcross Street, London, EC1M 6EJ | Charity number 802622