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Nurture with nature

Press release July 2019

Fulham Palace is set to open a brand new natural play area this September

This new area will use logs and wooden objects saved from previous tree work on site as a basis for natural play, encouraging families to connect with nature in a fun and enjoyable way. Children will be encouraged to interact creatively with natural materials set in a woodland area of Fulham Palace’s botanic garden.

The play area will feature carved logs and wooden structures to balance on, to climb over and under and smaller pieces of timber which children can handle and play with. The design focuses around getting hands on with nature, sparking creativity in order to encourage a lifelong love of nature for the children who use it.

The natural play area has been generously funded by the Western Riverside Environmental Fund (WREF).

This project has been one of the key ambitions of Lucy Hart, head gardener at Fulham Palace:

I’m thrilled we have been able to turn our own logs into a purpose built climbing and play area for our visitors. The play area has been designed around the logs we have and there has been no need to bring in any extra timber. We know that children enjoy climbing and running around and now they can do to their heart’s content without having any impact on our botanical collections. Hopefully we are connecting future generations with nature and the outdoors more, and helping them realise its ok to get a bit muddy!

Lucy Hart, head gardener

The natural play area has been built by Conservation and Access who also built the natural play trail at Box Hill. Andy Wright, countryside manager at Conservation and Access, explains the concept behind the play area:

The thing which makes natural play areas so different to other playgrounds is the element of risk involved. These areas are risk benefit assessed, something which is recommended by Natural England as a great learning experience for children. These play areas allow children to experience rough and tumble, with a chance to be brave and to learn about safety and dangers in a controlled environment. In designing this play area we’re creating a mix of elements to ensure there are aspects that all children will enjoy – I’m really excited to see how children use the new area when it opens!

Andy Wright, Conservation and Access

Opening

The play area will open on Sunday 22 September at Fulham Palace’s ‘Glory of the garden’ family fun day and will be marked by a 20 minute nature themed performance by the Fulham Children’s Choir. The event will also feature birds of prey, live music, a caricature artist, garden games and flower crown making (using flowers and foliage from the Palace’s walled garden).

Once the natural play area opens on Sunday 22 September it will be open from dawn to dusk daily, entry to the house and garden is free. The play area is suitable for children of all ages.

-ENDS-
Notes to the editors

Entry to Fulham Palace is free

Further information and press images

Nicola Price, Fulham Palace Trust | 020 7610 7166 | communications@fulhampalace.org

About Fulham Palace

Fulham Palace is the historic home of the Bishops of London. Purchased in AD 704, for centuries the Palace and surrounding estate served as a country retreat for the bishops and their families before becoming the Bishop’s permanent residence in the early 20th century until the last Bishop moved out in 1973. The Palace and 13 acre botanic garden are now managed by Fulham Palace Trust, an independent charity dedicated to the ongoing preservation, restoration and interpretation of this historically important site.

Restoration and renewal

In May 2019 Fulham Palace Trust completed a £3.8 million three year restoration project, supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund. The Discovering the Bishop of London’s Palace at Fulham project included increased visitor access to some of the oldest parts of the Palace, bringing key historic rooms back to life, and a new museum, designed by architect and heritage consultant, Purcell. The project also included improving access around the botanic garden and replanting historic varieties of plants.

Fulham Palace has a wealth of things to see and do all year round, from finding out about the lives and characters of the Bishops of London in the museum to having lunch in the drawing room café or a walk through the Palace’s garden, including a look at fresh produce grown at the Palace on the market barrow. Admission to Fulham Palace and its garden is free, except for special tours and events.

Western Riverside Environmental Fund (WREF)

This project is supported by the Western Riverside Environmental Fund, which has supported environmental improvement projects for nearly 20 years across Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea, Lambeth and Wandsworth.

a boy and girl run through the grass smiling