Timeline of new species in London

Londoners have always been innovative with introducing new species and some of the trees and wildlife now taken granted in London are actually, on the timeline of natural history, quite new. Some introduced species become naturalised and we tend to forget they actually have foreign origins. And then there are new ‘invasive’ species who also have found home in London.

The timeline does not include all non-native species (very far from it!), but a tiny selection to illustrate when different species have arrived and became part of the city. Personally I think they enrich London and make it more interesting and vibrant place, but everyone are welcome to their own opinion. ๐Ÿ˜Š

Non-native species now settled in London

  1. Apple
    Now naturalised fruit tree in UK is actually from Asia and was first cultivated in Britain by Romans. It’s likely apple has been grown in London since its foundation, nearly 2000 years ago!
  2. Fallow Deer
    Fallow Deer are also introduced to Europe from Asia and were first brought to UK around 11 century by Normans. It’s now become a common deer in UK and London parks alongside the red deer.
  3. Rabbit
    Yes, rabbit also travelled to Britain from mainland Europe with Normans. Now widespread in UK and London parks, the rabbit hasn’t been around for longer than 800 years!
  4. Sycamore
    Now naturalised tree from mainland Europe was introduced around middle ages, more than 500 years ago and is now a common tree of London’s urban forest.
  5. Horse Chestnut
    Horse Chestnut is actually from Turkey and was brought to UK on late 16th century. It’s another loved non-native tree that has found a home on London streets and in parks.
  6. London Plane
    One of the most common street trees in London was introduced from Spain in 17th century, but this hardy urbanised tree is actually a hybrid of oriental and American plane.
  7. Great White Pelican
    The pelican has been around in St James’s Park since 1664 when first birds were gifted to London by ambassador from Russia. 40 pelicans have since lived in the park (corrected).
  8. Weeping Willow
    This willow is native in Northern China and was first seen in London in 1700s. It’s often found near ponds, rivers and canals thanks to its dramatic drooping branches.
  9. Canada Goose
    A native in North-America this large goose has been around for around 300 years, spread widely on 20th century and is now the most common goose around London park lakes.
  10. Egyptian Goose
    This African native has been an ornamental bird since 18th century, but made an escape and has now made a permanent home of London parks mainly because of the milder winters.
  11. Grey Squirrel
    The most known London species of non-natives has been running wild in London since 1870s. Originally a guest from North-America the Grey Squirrel has taken over London and most of the country.
  12. Little Owl
    Brought over from Europe in late 1880s little owl is now quite common in England and Wales and can be spotted hunting in leafier parts of London urban forrest.
  13. Mandarin Duck
    This colourful bird from Far East was also part of the ornamental waterfowl before breaking into freedom in 20th century and now living freely on London park lakes.
  14. Ring-Necked Parakeet
    The only resident parrot in UK is originally from Africa and Asia. First spotted in London nearly half a century ago it settled permanently in over last few decades.

And here’s the visual timeline.. Enjoy!

Sources that helped me to make this infographic

https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/trees-woods-and-wildlife/british-trees/common-non-native-trees/
https://www.rsb.org.uk/get-involved/biologyweek/uk-s-favourite-tree-species
https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/wildlife-explorer
https://www.royalparks.org.uk/parks
https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/
https://www.wikipedia.org

London Street Trees type map

This typographic map shows the street trees in greater London. As Google didn’t give lot of information about the main tree species in all 32 (+city) boroughs I had to dig a little deeper and luckily found an incredible 700 000 list of street trees in London Tree Map website. None of my own tools was able to open the giant file, so I downloaded Tableau Public to check out, if there is a way to analyse this tree data. ๐ŸŒณ

I haven’t used Tableau before and turned out it was easier that I expected. It loaded amazingly quickly (considering the size of the file) and felt really intuitive to use. After setting couple of parameters I ended up with a funky table showing me the number of trees by species in boroughs. It even highlighted the values by colour which made it easier to follow. Magic! ๐Ÿ’ซ

My next step was to sketch out the map based on data. Unfortunately the information for 7 boroughs are missing from the list, but I was still able to fill out most of the map. As the information is 4-5 years old, there might be some new developments, which I might be able to fill in later. Hoping to get some valuable information from experts on Twitter. ๐Ÿคž

The pre-work done I found an open vector base map of greater London, which I modified slightly, and started to fill in the map digitally. This was straightforward but time consuming task and took me most of the second day to fill out the whole map. I decided to go with primary green colour to keep it clean and fresh. ๐Ÿƒ

After letting the map settle for a night I returned to it in the morning with fresh eyes to make some final fixes and adjustments. ๐Ÿ‘€

And here it is – the type map of London Street Trees by each borough.

Visit National Parks posters

These three new vintage style posters are inspired by travel advertisements that were used to promote travelling to British countryside in early 20th century, when the train travel for many was nearly the only option to have access to great outdoors. Although the times have changed and travellers may prefer to explore the countryside on a car, taking the train is still one of the most sustainable and comfortable way of travel, as well as sometimes even a more scenic option.

The fictional art posters invite to visit Britain’s fifteen national parks by train and include a stylised map of train stations that are access points to the national parks. The 38 stations can be travelled from towns and cities or even act as connections between parks. Why not to travel the Tenby to Taunton coastline or take a train from beautiful Windermere to Ribblehead Viaduct? The golden age of railways may have passed, but the the new age of train travel is now!