A sanctuary in the heart of London.
Located in the heart of central London, Heritage Forest will revive the UK’s endangered flora, nurture pollinators vital for food production, and grow medicinal herbs known to bring balance back to body, mind, and spirit.
The forest will be a green space for local neighbours to find quiet moments of respite and to take in the joys of nature in a vibrant and busy city. Heritage Forest will provide a peaceful and restorative experience, where visitors can take in the changing colours of the trees, the aromas of the blossoms and the sound of rustling leaves. Thanks to its urban location, the forest will offer not only an individual experience but a communal one. In so being, we hope this space will help cultivate community bonds and become a recognised source of joy for all.
Native Species Selection (sample)
Red Campion — Silene Dioica
Perhaps the best of all wildflowers for bees, pollinators and butterflies. Campion has a long flowering season and provides bountiful nectar.
Sessile Oak — Quercus Petraea
The Oak is the king of biodiversity and a haven for numerous forms of life that can include 38 species of bird, 1178 forms of invertebrates and 31 species of mammal. The Oak can be home to over 500 species that are rarely if ever found living in harmony with any other species of tree.
Hawthorn — Crataegus Monogyna
The hawthorn is steeped in mythology as was much revered by the Celts, who believed the tree to be imbued with magical powers. The small trees are one of the first to blossom and provide a vital early food source for pollinators. The hawthorn is known as the bread and cheese tree as the leaves were seen as bread and the buds as cheese. Both edible and complimentary to eat.
Forest Report: 2023
Average of Tallest 3 Trees
We are seeing a real interest now from passers-by. The information boards are really helpful. The species growing in the shadier sections are slightly smaller, but this is to be expected.
There is a lack of 'weeds' now as the forest is starting to shade out the forest floor. There have been a number of species observed, including the Hawthorn Shieldbug/Acanthosoma haemorrhoidale.
Urban Heat Profile:
The Urban Heat Island Effect is affecting cities more and more each year and temperetures in urban areas can go up to 12 degrees hotter. This can be reduced and prevented by planting urban forests like this. We collected the air temperatures on an unusually hot day in August at Heritage Forest and saw amazing results.
Air Temperature Difference
Air Surface Difference
Forest Report: 2022
Average of Tallest 3 Trees
This little forest is vibrant and adapting well to urban life. The summer heatwave has had little negative effect and the saplings are maturing well. Shade-tolerant species such as dogwood (Cornus sanguinea), spindle (Euonymus europaeus) and hazel (Corylus avellana) are growing well in the dense shade without becoming leggy - often an issue with growth in shady areas.
The rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) and crack willow (Salix fragilis) are currently both the tallest species, and the crack willow has a girth of 25mm. Crack willow is interesting in that it's the only variety of willow that grows well in drier conditions - willow is normally associated with damper conditions. Crack willow is also a fantastic early source of forage for pollinators when the catkins arrive in early spring. It is promising to see this species thriving.
The oaks too are doing well too - planted as the climax species to eventually take over from the current canopy of London plane trees.
Heritage Forest has really transformed this pocket of Kensington and Chelsea, bringing some much needed greenery to an area dominated by buildings and traffic.
“Thanks to its urban location, the forest will offer not only an individual experience but a communal one. In so being, we hope this space will help cultivate community bonds and become a recognised source of joy for all.”
James Godfrey-Faussett, Lead Forest Maker SUGi