Park life

Natur-Park is a secluded wee haven in Schöneberg with a gentle wildness to it. A former shunting yard, it was left to fend for itself after 1952 until a group of artists and horticulturists revamped it in the 1990s.

Image for Park life
Photo by Tania Castellví

Right at the eastern exit of S-Bahn Priesterweg is the unique Natur-Park Südgelande. After paying the voluntary €1 (which goes towards the park’s maintenance) pass into the former shunting yard which is now taken over by wilderness.

A corroded water tower welcomes visitors as they follow the rail-tracks through this 18-acre park, now a designated protected environmental area. The horticulturists and artists must have had a lot of fun back in the 1990s when they created it. The former shunting yard had been left to its own devices since 1952 until it was taken over by GrünBerlin GmbH in 1996.

There’s a unique kind of wildness to the place even today, thanks to the use of rough iron pathways which complement all the untamed weeds. In amongst the towering vegetation, there is a tunnel where graffiti artists are welcome to do their thing, though for some reason not on Sundays.

And while there are a lot of pointless signs telling park visitors what they can and cannot do (“Don’t climb the locomotive!”) the place is actually a pretty chilled out urban haven.

From teenagers smoking cigarettes out of their mothers’ sight to old FKK folk, everything about this park seems natural: an uncluttered spot in Berlin which is too secretive for haters and not lucrative enough for bottle collectors.

Natur-Park | Südgelande, Prellerweg 47, Schöneberg, S-Bhf Priesterweg, Mon-Sun 8-20:00.