19 October 2021
New Forest School Opens Belgrave Square Garden to Local Children
Outdoor Play and Curriculum Aides Learning & Wellbeing amongst Children with Limited Access to Outdoor Space
A new Forest School has opened its doors in zone 1.
The Belgravia Forest School in Belgrave Square, SW1 has begun to welcome local schools and community groups to an outdoor classroom designed and managed by Grosvenor Britain & Ireland.
The Square, one of London’s most famous gardens, is less well known as a home to its wildlife habitats, beehive, pond and bug hotel, known as ‘Bugingham Palace’, aimed at encouraging insects and increasing local biodiversity.
Each element of the school, including the outdoor classroom, have been built from sustainable, natural and reclaimed materials by Grosvenor’s Landscape Management team who care for c25 acres of green space in Mayfair and Belgravia including three garden squares like Belgrave Square.
The space will be open year-round and Grosvenor, who will assist in many of the outdoor activities and lessons. The Forest School is nearly fully booked for this term already and Grosvenor expects to host around 10 classes and outdoor play sessions a week alongside other educational activities across Mayfair and Belgravia.
The Forest School opens up outdoor learning opportunities to groups who are amongst the least likely in the UK to have access to their own green spaces.
In 2020, the ONS found that Westminster residents were some of the least likely in the UK to have access to private outdoor space and that space is amongst the smallest in the country. In addition, most local schools enjoy only a small hardscaped play area.
Simon Lewis, Landscape Manager, Grosvenor Britain & Ireland said “It has always been our aspiration to create a more permanent outdoor educational space. We’ve been working closely with schools for many years and have run various activities including sustainability, biodiversity and after school classes and you can see the benefits straight away.
“Kids are highly engaged in lessons, learn to value nature and participate enthusiastically in environmental discussions. The Forest School means local schools and community groups can now schedule outdoor learning into their curriculum in a meaningful way all year round.”
Lauren Castle, St Barnabas School, added: “As an inner-city school we have precious little outdoor space for outdoor learning activities. The Belgravia Forest School will provide a home for this fundamental part of early years education and a wonderful environment for them to explore the outdoors. I’d like to thank Grosvenor and Belgrave Square key holders – this will make an immense difference to us and our pupils.
Rachael Robathan, Leader of the Council, Westminster City Council, commented “I am very excited to see such a positive local initiative which will not only enrich the education of our young people in Westminster by connecting them to nature, but also enhances one of the many wonderful garden squares and green open spaces for the benefit of the whole community.”
Notes to Editors
About Grosvenor Britain & Ireland:
Grosvenor Britain & Ireland creates great places where communities, business and nature thrive.
In London’s West End, we support c11,000 residents, c1,000 businesses and c60,000 workers every day. We also create and manage sustainable neighbourhoods in London, Liverpool and across the South East of England.
We are one part of a global, family owned business that has been developing and managing land and property for over 340 years. Thinking long term allows us to give equal weight to the environmental, social and commercial impact of everything that we do.
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About Belgrave Square Garden
Immediately south-west of Hyde Park Corner, Belgrave Square Garden is Belgravia’s green and leafy centrepiece, a 4.5-acre private garden that was designed by George Basevi and first planted by Thomas Cubitt in 1826.
Now restored to its 1867 layout the garden is maintained by Grosvenor’s Landscape Management team on behalf of key holders. It features large plane trees, some dating back to the original planting, pretty wisteria-covered pergolas, rose bushes, a tennis court and a play area for children.