The National Trust states that a crucial goal is providing urban residents with the opportunity to experience nature.
The head of the National Trust has stated that one of their crucial responsibilities is to provide beautiful gardens and green areas to individuals living in urban environments who may lack exposure to nature.
The main focus of the trust has traditionally been the preservation of well-known country houses in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. However, the organization is now expanding its efforts to include urban gardens in order to make nature more accessible. This will be showcased at the Chelsea flower show with a model of a pocket park, which can then be replicated and implemented in various towns and cities.
Hilary McGrady, the director general of the National Trust, stated that the importance of nature and green spaces to people has been recognized by both the trust’s founders and current members. These spaces provide benefits for our mental and physical wellbeing, strengthen our connection to our surroundings, contribute to climate resilience, and support the recovery of nature. Unfortunately, many individuals are unable to access these benefits. As a result, the trust is collaborating with partners to invest in urban green spaces and urging others, including the government, to do the same.
Last year in Manchester, the trust converted Castlefield Viaduct into a “sky park” where individuals can engage with nature in the center of the city. The trust also obtained Crook Hall Gardens in Durham, which is set to become the “entrance” to a green pathway that links the bustling Durham city center to the surrounding countryside.
The organization is planting flowering trees in city settings such as London, Plymouth, Nottingham, Birmingham, and Newcastle. They are also collaborating with 18 community groups throughout the UK to develop community-driven initiatives for nature in urban neighborhoods.
A garden in honor of Octavia Hill, the founder of the National Trust, who aimed to increase nature accessibility for the British population, will be showcased at the Royal Hospital Garden in west London next spring. Hill created the charity in 1895 with the belief that fresh air and the beauty of plants and flowers were essential for all individuals.
Ann-Marie Powell, the garden’s designer, said: “In honour of Octavia Hill, we’ve created a place to sit in, a place to play in, a place to stroll in and a place to spend the day in. It is a place of refuge, a place to withdraw from personal challenges and the everyday. In this space, surrounded by wildlife, your spirit can be nurtured and revived.
The garden serves as evidence that the parks, roadsides, and gardens in our urban areas offer a significant potential for expanding the variety of plants and creating habitats and sustenance for animals, including pollinators. While some may view biodiversity as a non-essential, it is actually the driving force behind all of our consumption. When it is lacking, everything suffers.
The layout of the garden follows the concept of “outdoor sitting rooms” proposed by Hill, with each section having its own unique atmosphere. The materials used, such as reclaimed brick, timber, stone, and thatch, will be sourced from National Trust locations. The garden will also feature plants that are free of peat and can withstand climate change, including trees. Located in an urban area on a previously developed site, Powell envisions this community wildlife garden as a model for other garden designers to replicate in public spaces throughout the country.
The director of gardens and parklands at the National Trust, Andy Jasper, stated that their goal was to consider what concerns Octavia Hill would have if she were alive today. It is clear that she would prioritize giving access to nature for city residents, as gardens and green areas have the ability to greatly impact people’s lives in various positive ways.
We hope that all visitors of this garden will leave with a greater understanding of Octavia Hill and her significant impact on the creation of the National Trust. We are constantly motivated by her contributions and firmly believe that gardens can play a role in addressing the current biodiversity crisis.
The organization stated that Hill’s goal is still significant today, as their studies revealed that 33% of individuals in the UK lack access to nature-filled areas nearby. Along with honoring Hill’s impact, the garden hopes to encourage individuals to design creative gardens that bring people closer to the wonders and intricacies of the environment.