CHESTNUT TREE HOUSE

When children’s Hospice Chestnut Tree House was gifted an acre of birch and oak trees, the hospice I was invited by Greenfingers Charity (a children’s charity who fundraise to build therapeutic gardens for children’s hospices) to maximise the opportunity of the space.

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One mother wrote: “I feel very excited about this project. To be able to enter woodlands on a safe pathway and sense the sounds and smells, which for my daughter will be for the first time in her life, will be a truly life-changing experience. I cannot wait to see the smile on her face when she can see and touch and feel the things that most of us take for granted every day.” As a mother of two boys, I was completely hooked.

The practicalities of this kind of garden – a tight budget, the need for little or no maintenance, rigorous health and safety measures, no steps or steep changes of level – forced me to think laterally. Children within the hospice movement have to play differently. They spend their whole lives watching their siblings doing things they can’t do themselves; we developed a design that would work for all of the children, be they in wheelchairs, beds or visually impaired.

The new hospice garden is an outdoor space where children with short lives can become nature’s superheroes – travelling through arches to a whole new world where they experience nature up close, through touch, sound or sight.

An honour.

Society of Garden Designers Award Winner – Healing or Learning Garden 2017

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The Woodland Walk is loved by all our children, families and staff. It’s such a wonderful space – perfect for adventures, bug-hunts, story time, walks or just relaxing. Thank you!