- Close to the Forest,
Nature in the City
Traversing Helsinki from south to north, the Central Park of Helsinki
offers excellent opportunities for outdoor sports and recreation.
Nature in the Central Park is varied, with many different types
of terrain and species of birds and mammals. The Central Park begins
in the south at Töölönlahti Bay in the middle of
the city and ends in Haltiala and the River Vantaa on the northern
border of Helsinki. Covering a thousand hectares, the Central Park
is ten kilometres in length and an excellent representative of the
rich and varied nature in the southern coastal area.
In the Central Park, you can feel the rhythm of the seasons, with
their changing colours, light, and smells. It is a place where people
go for an outing, play, do fitness training or sports, tend their
allotment gardens, study nature, and just relax. Many city inhabitants
go through the park daily on their way to work.
There are four nature protection areas in the northern part of the
park: Pitkäkoski deciduous forest, Haltiala primeval forest,
Niskala arboretum, and Ruutinkoski deciduous forest. The forest
in Ruutinkoski is protected under the national programme for the
conservation of herb-rich forests. The protection of the new
Vantaanjoentörmä nature conservation area is pending. The Central Park is at its widest
in Haltiala, where the vegetation in the protected area is a luxuriant,
untouched primeval forest. Haltiala currently has the largest and
most cohesive forests in Helsinki.
Mammals living in the Central Park include elk, badger, fox, arctic
hare, brown hare, weasel, raccoon dog, and muskrat. In the nesting
season the forests are filled with birdsong. Bird species nesting
in the park include black woodpecker, goldcrest, Eurasian jay, tits,
dunnock, garden warbler, wood warbler, and red-breasted flycatcher.
In 2014 the Central Park turned 100. The Helsinki City Council approved a plan by architect Bertel Jung for the Helsinki Central Park in 1914.