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Roaming cattle, charming meadows, an abundance of rare wildflowers… poetic scenes like this aren’t usually what come to mind when “Croydon” is mentioned. And yet, these are all part of Croydon’s truth.

 

In this borough, much of the land we walk and live on is chalk grassland, a type of species-rich land prominent in the south of England in which you’ll find some of the rarest habitats in the UK – and it’s fast disappearing, with almost 80% of these grasslands lost since the 1940s. 

 

Conservation grazing is a centuries-old land management technique that primarily uses sheep along with cattle and goats to graze the land, and in recent decades this technique has seen a return as several organisations and charities work towards restoring the deep biodiversity and rich wildlife unique to this edge of London.

 

This is a part of the borough not often seen, and never shown in the media. But these wilder sides of Croydon are beautiful to behold.

 

‘Rural Croydon’ is in exhibition at Thornton Heath Library from 04 - 31 July 2023

 

More info here

Commissioned by This Is Croydon, London Borough of Culture 2023 in partnership with the National Gallery as part of Constable Visits

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About the artist

 

Ameena Rojee is a photographer and writer who loves to tell stories about adventure, the outdoors, and our relationship with the natural world. 

 

Her photobook ‘Crocus Valley’, published by RRB Photobooks, shows another side of Croydon; something softer that coexists with the hard realities, and a story which champions Croydon’s rich natural heritage. It will launch as part of #ThisIsCroydon in August – pre-order the book here.

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