Parched Primrose Hill

Primrose Hill is regularly featured on news reports about all manner of topics, and this week it has been used to illustrate the dry state of our parks during this hot summer.

The hill has been a welcome refuge for residents and visitors alike throughout the summer, especially for those who don’t have gardens. The trees in our surrounding parks provide shade and cool down the atmosphere by several degrees. They also provide a vital habitat for birds, pollinators and other wildlife during the heat.

The health of the parks and the ecosystems they support must be maintained, so the Royal Parks are continuing to water vulnerable plants and trees to ensure they survive the extreme stress of the heat. Water is prioritised to where it is essential, such as newly-planted trees and shrubs, those showing signs of extreme stress, and flowers which are essential to insects and pollinators.

Tom Jarvis, Director of Parks, The Royal Park’s charity said that unusually, even some of the older, more established trees are suffering under the strain of the drought.

The water they use is predominantly drawn from boreholes and waterbodies, with mains water restricted to essential use, and only where alternative sources aren’t available. Where possible they use water when it’s cooler – in the early morning or evening – and they ensure watering is targeted to deliver maximum benefit.

Long-term plans for the parks are to build on the natural resilience of the landscape by increasing meadows which are more resistant to hot weather, enhancing biodiversity, planting drought resistant trees and strengthening the ecosystems within the parks.

TV report from Primrose Hill. Photo by Jason Pittock

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