Monday, 31 March 2014

Greater London National Park

A campaign is launched today which suggests an obvious move forward for our capital city: a designation as the country's newest National Park.



We see no reason why London shouldn't join the Peak District, Snowdonia and the Norfolk Broads as having a designation as a National Park.
The city has a breadth of habitats, and a diversity of wildlife that rival some of the existing parks. Check out the new WEBSITE to find out more.

From the press release...


The Greater London National Park* was launched today, celebrating the importance and diversity of London’s urban habitat. It may sound like an April fools joke, but it is not.

It is only a “notional park” for now, but geographer Daniel Raven-Ellison is calling for the public to back the idea.“There is this idea that a National Park has to be remote and rural, but cities are incredibly important habitats too. An amazing 13,000 species of wildlife can be found in London’s open spaces which together make up 60% of the Greater London National Park*. In London we have peregrine falcons, 13 species of amphibian and reptile, pigeons, over 8 million people and countless dogs and cats too. The Greater London National Park* celebrates all life.

”National Parks are currently funded by central government to conserve and enhance natural beauty, wildlife and their cultural heritage; and promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of National Parks by the public. These objectives could be applied to a city like London as well the countryside.
Raven-Ellison makes clear that he is not proposing any changes to planning policy in the capital, or that the Greater London National Park* would have the planning powers that so many residents in current National Parks dislike.
“I am proposing a new kind of National Park – an ‘urban’ National Park that would aim to conserve and promote London’s awesome ability to be dynamic, innovate and evolve. The Park’s role would be to inform and inspire best practice, while helping to better co-ordinate and promote London’s biodiversity and recreational opportunities, especially those in outer London.”
Raven-Ellison, a geographer and National Geographic Emerging Explorer, argues that the park would create a new way to see and think about London.
“How would being a National Park change the way we live, work and play in the city? How would we educate children, design buildings, plan health services or create new leisure activities differently if we started thinking of London as a National Park?”
“It’s a bit of an outside-of-the box curve ball, but sleep on it and you will realise what a great idea it is. Being the world’s first National Park city would celebrate and consolidate London’s position in the world as a leading, green world city that invests in the health and wellbeing of its people, which is great for both new and mature business and employees. Besides, wouldn’t you like to live in London and a National Park at the same time? I know I would!”
Raven-Ellison is asking the public to support his idea by adding their name to www.greaterlondonnationalpark.org.uk (GLNP).
*Officially just a Notional Park.


Click to enlarge

You can HELP SPREAD THE WORD in a number of ways.

The project has already featured on the National Geographic website.


Let me take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of London

I'll show you something to make you change your mind



Ralph McTell

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Zadie Smith on changing England

From the April 2014 issue of the New York Review of Books, an Elegy for a country's Changing Seasons, written by Zadie Smith



Wonderful writing on the impact of climate change....

Image: Sunset, Sporle, Norfolk - Alan Parkinson

Location, location

Interesting reading in the Telegraph, and also in the editorial about the importance of a 'sense of place' when developing a sense of drama...

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Cleaning up Everest...


An interesting point for discussion...  Good for units on Mountain landscapes...

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Following in the wake of Hugh Miller through the Scottish Highlands...

I've been reading quite a bit about a man called Hugh Miller in the last few weeks.
He was a geologist and storyteller and had a fascinating life.

Now you have a chance to sail through the Scottish Highlands on a voyage of discovery...



The voyage is being organised by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society.

The Geological Societies of Glasgow and Edinburgh are offering unique opportunity for young Earth scientists to follow the journey of Hugh Miller in "The Cruise of the Betsey".

On 6 September 2014 Leader, a wonderful old Brixham Trawler built in 1892 (www.trinitysailing.org/vessels/leader/), will set sail from Oban heading north for the Small Isles in a one-week voyage in homage to Hugh Miller and his Hebridean tours, described in his classic book "The Cruise of the Betsey". The boat sleeps 19 people including 4 crew members, and will be filled with an inter-generational mix of geologists, geographers, artists, writers, ecologists, storytellers and historians (including a Gaelic speaker). The voyage will take the form of a mobile conference during which each participant will apply their own talents and interests in celebration of the achievements of Hugh Miller, and the landscapes, seascapes and cultural history of the Hebrides. The reward for the successful applicants will be to broaden and deepen their appreciation of Hebridean geodiversity, but also to gain new and probably unexpected perspectives on the geology, landscape and people of this beautiful sea-bound realm.

The Geological Societies of Glasgow and Edinburgh will fund up to four berths on the boat for young people (aged 16-30) studying Earth science, who have a research interest in the area or in a subject related to Hugh Miller, and a passion for sharing and communicating geology, landscape and/or Hebridean culture to a diverse audience.

Dates: Saturday 6 to Friday 12 September 2014; you will need to be in Oban ready for embarkation on the morning of Saturday 6th.

Costs: £500 per berth (including all food during the voyage) plus travel costs to/from Oban.

Grants from the two Geological Societies will meet most of these costs but you may be expected to make a modest contribution.

How to apply: Email Simon Cuthbert, Honorary Secretary, Geological Society of Glasgow for more details at simon.cuthbert@uws.ac.uk by 31 March 2014.

An amazing chance to see the Scottish Landscape close up...

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Landscapes where survival is hard...

Author copies of my new book for Collins have just arrived.
Aimed at KS2/3 boys to get them reading, but also readable by all age groups and girls too...


Monday, 17 February 2014

Fictional landscapes...

I'm about to head into a catch-up of the first three seasons of Game of Thrones, as the 4th season starts on Sky Atlantic. I don't have Sky, so this is my option for catching up with a lot of my colleagues...

I've got a large poster map for my classroom wall, and a proposed unit on mapping of fictional landscapes, which will also form part of my presentation at the SAGT conference later in the year.

There's also been a rise in tourism in Iceland and Northern Ireland: two of the key locations where the series is made.
(Thanks to Rebekah Chew for the tipoff here)


Iceland's tourist board says it's seen an increase in the number of people wanting to go on tours of locations where the show was shot.
While, the film industry in Northern Ireland says it's helped increase employment in the area. But it's also helped spread the country's cinematic reputation around the world.
Meanwhile I've got the first book on my Kindle, and am looking forward to reading ahead from where I stopped so that I didn't give away too much of what is to come...

"Winter is coming..."