London Road Forest Border

In February 2021 we launched our London Road Tree Planting Appeal. We wanted to enhance the Gardens for the whole community by creating a more welcoming, safe and peaceful haven for people and wildlife.

The Horniman Gardens have always been a wonderful resource for all of our local community, and these past two years have seen them play an even more important role in helping people’s mental health and wellbeing.

One of the country’s busiest and most congested roads – London’s South Circular (A205) – runs alongside the Horniman. As a result, our Gardens and the wildlife that live there suffer from noise and air pollution at an increasing rate.

Our goal was to raise £20,000 to tackle this problem; £10,000 for the trees, shrubs and planting plus a further £10,000 to help care for the new planting in its first five years until it is fully established.

The support from local residents and national supporters was incredible and this appeal was successfully funded by May 2021. Our gardens team completed the redevelopment in February 2022, with ongoing planting and maintenance taking place over the coming months. Thank you to everyone who has donated and helped to make this happen.

The 300m squared area alongside the boundary with the South Circular has been redeveloped to provide a ‘green screen’, protecting the Horniman Gardens from noise and air pollution, and creating additional wildlife habitats.

Here’s what we have done:

  • The location was cleared of turf and mounds were created to add a lovely dynamic to the area.
  • A few tonnes of the Horniman’s own compost that was made on site has been used to enhance the soil before planting began.
  • As the plants and trees grow and the site develops, the wider eastern section of the area of the site will become a woodland walk, with a mix of coppiced hazel under-planted with grassland including a mixture of native plants and bulbs such as snowdrops, native daffodils and bluebells, wood anemones and snakehead fritillaries.
  • The coppice will be routinely cut every three years and there will be a path mown through the grass which will be allowed to grow long to create a wildflower meadow.

The western section – which is the narrowest strip and closest to the busy London Road – has been planted using the Miyawaki method, to create a dense and fast-growing micro forest. This area is currently fenced off to protect the young saplings while they establish.

The existing shrubs along the border with London Road have been supplemented and deepened along the entire length. These layers of vegetation will in time create a brilliant barrier between the Gardens and the main road.

By donating to our London Road Tree Planting Appeal, our generous supporters have helped the Horniman achieve some incredible things.

  • Create a visual barrier to London’s busy South Circular
  • Improve CO2 absorption and reduce noise pollution in the Gardens
  • Enhance people’s wellbeing by creating a more peaceful place
  • Provide a fantastic resource for wildlife
  • Create new and diverse planting of native shrubs and trees
  • Installation of log piles and bird boxes to encourage wildlife

This appeal has now closed but you can still make a donation to help care for the new planting in its first five years until it is fully established. Alternatively, visit our Gardens Appeal page to show your appreciation by making a general donation to fund year-round care and maintenance of all the gardens and our nature trail.

Joe Swift, Horniman Ambassador

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