Track bugs with the Royal Parks’ new smartphone nature trails

We’ve all got used to spending a LOT of time in the park. Park tinnies, park picnics, park exercise classes, park this, park that. But most of us don’t devote a lot of time to thinking about what goes on in the infrastructure of the parks themselves, especially at insect scale. Now the Royal Parks have launched a series of self-guided nature walks around five central London green spaces.

The new ‘More Than Bugs’ trails are available as smartphone-led walks or downloadable PDF maps. The trails range from short walks for preschoolers (probably involving mud) to more detailed ecology adventures across the diverse habitats of Kensington Gardens, Regent’s Park, St James’s Park, Hyde Park and Green Park, from woodlands to meadows and reedbeds. The app also informs visitors about some of the invertebrates, birds and mammals that they might be able to spot along the way. 

In the blurb is the astonishing factoid that London’s Royal Parks are home to nearly 5,000 different species of bugs (not counting birds, fish, mammals, Chelsea Mum in Tears and Drunk Fella in Two Pairs of Trousers). Since 2017, the Royal Parks’ ‘Mission: Invertebrate’ initiative has supported this amazing diversity by encouraging these bees, butterflies, beetles, worms, slugs and snails to develop and colonise. The ‘More Than Bugs’ trails are designed to help us all see our beloved parks as thriving ecosystems, not just extensions of our living rooms. So if you’re planning a stroll this month, why not spot a few creepy-crawlies along the way?

Trails available now. More details on the Royal Parks’ website.

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