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Nature in Canary Wharf

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Published: 15 November 2021

Student on laptop outside

Our students often tell us one of the best things about studying at the University of Sunderland in London is the location.  

Surrounded by the glass and metal high-rises of Canary Wharf, it’s easy to be inspired.  

That’s true whether you’re studying for an MBA in Human Resource Management or a BSc (Hons) in International Tourism and Hospitality Management 

But how often do you spend time looking at the natural world around the University? Despite appearances, roughly 43% of London is considered ‘green space’ 

Right outside your window, there are parks, trees, grass, flowers and, if you’re very observant, even a few animals.  

Canary Wharf is no different, which is why we wanted to encourage you to get out into nature a little bit more.  

According to research, getting outside for at least two hours a week has a major impact on your health and wellbeing and the better you feel, the easier time you’ll have at University.  

Green city  

Canary Wharf has a surprising wealth of greenery all within its tiny 97 acres. There are over 650 trees and 30 different species of plants here.  

But you’ll also find 8,000 metres of ‘living roof spaces’ in the estate which essentially means gardens on top of the buildings and nearly 350,000 metres of water habitats.  

All of that means the area known more for its concrete and people in business clothes is really a natural wonder suitable for a huge range of animals and plants to thrive.  

Beehives  

A few years ago, news reports of a shrinking bee population caused businesses and organisations around the country to place hives on their roofs, and Canary Wharf was no different.  

There are beehives on top of 15 Canada Square and One Canada Square (the really big one with the pointy roof).   

Plus, the other green spaces around the estate provide the perfect environment for them to collect their pollen.  

Protected plants  

Sticking with the theme of green recovery, did you know that Canary Wharf plays host to an endangered plants species?   

The Jersey Cudweed might not have the prettiest sounding name, but saving plants like this has a huge impact environment.  

It’s also interesting to note that in Vietnam the Cudweed is used as an ingredient in traditional foodstuffs like the rice cake banh khuc, as well as a herbal remedy for everything from pain relief to a cough.  

Crossrail Place  

Not all natural things need to have gotten to Canary Wharf naturally, of course. One such location, well worth the visit, is Crossrail Place 

This lush roof garden is populated by greenery representing the long and interesting history of the estate.  

Canary Wharf was built up during the British Empire, seeing trade from all around the world.  

Crossrail Place is teaching people about that history through plants like tree ferns from Australia and New Zealand, and bamboo originating in Japan and China.  

It’s free to visit, so well worth getting out into nature on your lunch break and learning a bit too.  

Whether you’re walking around the parks of Canary Wharf or spotting the geese and coots floating on the river, there is plenty more to our area than simply business.  

Take some time to get outside and do a little nature spotting of your own. Maybe snap a few photos.  

We’d love to see your snaps! Share them with the community on FacebookTwitter and Instagram using #WeAreSunLon.

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