Show Us Those Extraordinary Places Reclaimed By Nature

As humans, one thing we are extremely good at is building amazing structures meant to last through the ages. And we’re just as good at abandoning them. Across the globe everything from castles to entire towns have been left as empty shells, waiting for Mother Nature to begin her work. Deep in the wilderness of Fredricksburg, Virginia, the remnants of a medieval town square are being slowly engulfed by weeds and shrubbery, the buildings slowly, but beautifully, disappearing into the thicket. In Ithaca, New York, along Six Mile Creek, trees and other plantlife sprout from the bricks of an old watermill, as if the mill itself grew out from the earth. These are just a few examples of the defunct places people have left behind to be reclaimed by nature. Now we want to see some of your examples of the decrepit, disused places that nature is slowly reinvigorating with overgrown beauty.

(Image: Florian Olivo/Public Domain)

In the thread below, tell us about your favorite place where nature is reasserting itself. Where is it, and how did you discover it? What was the area or building used for before it was abandoned? What’s the history behind the place? Be sure to include any pictures you might have as well. Your response may be included in an upcoming round-up article on Atlas Obscura. Now, let’s see those enchanting, forlorn places that nature is injecting with a fresh, new charm.


I just came back from Samoa, where one of the tourist attractions is the London Missionary Church on Savai’i, which was destroyed by a lava flow in 1905. This would count as nature reclaiming a place, albeit at a much faster rate than other sites. The church is easy to reach at the Saleaula Lava Fields.
Google Photos
Google Photos
Google Photos


I recently visited Tskaltubo in the Republic of Georgia. I added a few user photos over there.

Fascinating place - massive abandoned buildings slowly being swallowed back into their own overgrown gardens. Some buildings have been taken over by refugees of the nearby conflicts with Russia, some are still being used as hotels and spas, but a big chunk of the town with multi-floor atriums and archways from when megalomania was running high in the USSR are simply being reclaimed by nature and they are mostly open for exploring.


This is a great idea! We’re always out in nature and we will keep our eyes open for these interesting sites.


Recently went to Ireland and explored several derelict buildings. There are abandoned homes, churches, & castles scattered though out. One of my favorites was the Seafield Lisheen House in Sligo. It was built in 1842 by an English landlord. It was allegedly haunted and finally abandoned in 1938.



Wow that first picture is incredible. Looks like a hobbit hut.

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While in West Virginia a few years ago, we found an old manufacturing facility of some kind. It was rusting and slowly being overgrown by the native flora in a most beautiful way.


St Dunstan in the East in London is a church that has existed since the 1100s, and been rebuilt and added to several times since, leading to being almost completely rebuilt in 1821. Then during the Blitz it was very badly damaged. The decision was taken not to rebuild it again (not too sure why) and to let plants overtake it and it become a spot of for calm retreat in East London



The old pump station at Eno River State Park provided Durham with water from the 1880’s-1926.


Woww this looks incredible, thanks for sharing. What part of West, Va? I’ve been to Martinsburg too many times to count.

Old abandoned house and car being reclaimed by Nature in somewhere rural Alabama.


Downtown Camp Hill, Alabama.


I’m sorry I have no photos, but near Safe Harbor, Lancaster County, PA there is an abandoned church and cemetery back in the woods that I was introduced to several decades ago.
Known as St. Mary’s, it once served the workers in the area. The roof is long gone and three of the walls are only a a few feet high. The wall behind the altar is still standing and has a semicircular alcove.
The cemetery is what fascinates me. Around the grave of a priest are several markers for women, all of whom are buried not in the traditional east-west orientation, but north-south.
Of course, this has led to unsubstantiated stories of a group of witches led by the priest. The whole area has an aura of fear and the sense that something is not quite right. The several times that I have been there, as dusk began to arrive, I was compelled to literally run out the dirt lane to my car! My friends had the same reaction.


No worries this was still fascinating ! And thanks for sharing this tale :beers:

Reminds me of an old hand-pulled tractor at my parents house, its been inside a bunch of shrubbery since I was a kid.

Bieber Mill along the Scioto River in
Delaware County, Ohio



Sadly, a lot of Detroit is in this kind of condition. There are a lot of abandoned buildings that are slowly being razed to make room for revitalization.


Gorgeous picture!

Hotel Montaña Cerro Verde in El Salvador
The hotel closed in 1996 after several earthquakes caused irreparable damage to the structure. I visited in 2013 and could see how nature is taking hold of it.

A peek inside the lounge built in the late 1950s shows creeping ferns hanging from the ceiling and flourishing through its fire pits.
And this is the view from the terrace, overlooking the once active Izalco Volcano for nearly 150 years. The spectacle is dormant now.