The view of St Paul’s and the London skyline from Waterlow Park.
Public engagement 2023
Your opinions matter. Please respond using the link under ‘Have your say’ below.
Trees framing the views of London towards St Paul’s Cathedral have been a feature of Waterlow Park since it was donated to the people of London in 1889, but you may have found it increasingly difficult to spot the familiar cathedral dome as they have grown into the view of the London skyline. With the passage of time the views of St Paul’s Cathedral are now ‘glimpsed’ through the tree canopy of the park and may disappear in the future. This developing situation was recognised more than a decade ago by the Friends of Waterlow Park who formed a ‘Trees and Views’ Group.
Waterlow Park was given in trust by Sir Sydney Waterlow in 1889 to the people of London as a ‘garden for the gardenless’. The Waterlow Park Trust is a registered charity with Camden Council the sole Trustee. The Trust has an Advisory Group made up of local stakeholders. Camden Green Space manage the park.
Trees are currently managed under the Council’s Tree Policy, which does not support the pruning or removal of trees for the obstruction of views, and is based on arboricultural best practice. Trees help to keep our air clean, cool our neighbourhoods, provide habitat for wildlife and help to tackle the climate emergency. They also contribute to the landscape character of the Park.Tree planting is reviewed by the Trees and Views Group with particular care taken to avoid new trees obscuring key views which change over time as trees grow.
This survey intends to research public opinion as to whether the Trust should consider a proposal to reduce a specific Lime tree in the Park to enhance and preserve the skyline of London and a view towards St Paul’s Cathedral.
Significant height reduction of one lime tree
From proposed new viewpoint (see map and in-park notice)
(move vertical slider to see difference following tree work)
From current sightline by the statue of Sir Sydney
- Opens a new viewpoint of St Paul’s from the path near the statue of Sir Sydney Waterlow.
- Preserves and enhances status of Waterlow Park as a unique vantage point above London.
- Significantly enhances views of the London skyline walking along the path.
- Responds to public feedback on the importance of views.
- Significant work to a mature tree for an aesthetic reason is not good arboricultural practice.
- Reduction in the tree’s ability to capture carbon and air pollution
- Loss of tree canopy and some wildlife habitat.
- Will need regular maintenance to control grow-back in order to retain the view
- Some risk the lime tree may not recover from the work and die.
Not to undertake a significant reduction to the lime
- Maintains maximum canopy and the associated carbon capture and wildlife value.
- No immediate or long term costs.
- St Paul’s will no longer be visible from the park in a few years time (without unexpected loss of mature trees and assuming continued growth).
- No re-opened skyline views from the path. leading to a sense of increasing enclosure within the Park over time.
- Potential for visitor disappointment / lower numbers if Waterlow Park does not retain a reputation as a prime location for appreciating views of St Paul’s and the London skyline.
Sightlines of St Paul’s – Map
Have your say
Note that the image at the head of the page is of the view as it would appear if tree work was undertaken.
This consultation is the latest stage of many years of discussions and proposals. All the relevant documents are linked below. See particularly Item 8 which relates to the Trees and Views Group proposal for this consultation.
- Carbon capture impact of proposed tree works in Waterlow Park
- 26/5/23 On-site meeting notes
- 9/3/23 On-site Meeting notes
- Feb 2023 Commentary on AIA
- 14/08/22 Trustee letter – Views of St Paul’s Cathedral
- 4/3/22 Meeting – Trees and Views Group
- Feb 2022 AIA The view of St Pauls Cathedral V2
- October 2021 Maintaining a view of St Paul’s Proposal approved
- July 2021 Response from Waterlow Trees & Views group to AIA
- June 2021 AIA The view of St. Paul’s from Waterlow Park
- March 2021 The view of St Pauls from Waterlow Park
- January 2021 Trees and Views in Waterlow Park
- November 2017 Trees and Views working party notes
- June 2012 Waterlow Trees and Views report
- 2012 Waterlow Park key views
- 1889 llustrated London News article following the gift of the Park