Case Study Forest for the future - Derby City Council


This project was conceived by Karl Smith who started as an apprentice in 1978 at Derby City Council and throughout the intervening 44 years has navigated his way to Grounds Maintenance Officer.

Karl had seen media of our Somerset House Installation and planned a similar installation in the Market Square in the centre of Derby

In our experience, the wheels of local government can often move slowly and in opposing directions and so it is a testament to Karls determination that the project gained approval and funding sourced

The Brief

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The plan was to create a temporary forest to be in situe for 8 weeks (June to August 2022), with underplanting through which the public could walk to a clearing and enjoy shelter from the wind and enjoy some peace and quiet, close to Nature in the middle of a bustling town. All trees and shrubs to be replanted locally in the Autumn

The Challenges

Timings! When the project finally gained approval, we had 5 weeks to source all trees and plants.

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The Market Square is a wind tunnel from two directions, so securing the trees without damage to the existing Yorkstone paving was our primary challenge.

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The heat wave added to the challenge as the trees needed plenty of watering to keep them healthy for re-planting int the Autumn

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The Result

The forest was built in 7 days and opened by the Mayor of Derby. 

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It was a huge success attracting coffee drinkers and passers-by who could take a moment to find quiet and shelter amongst the trees and enjoy some forest bathing.

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The community placemaking theme extended to music events and shows for children and each morning some goldfinches would forage for insects in the tree canopies.

The Legacy

Under the auspices of Karl, all the trees will be replanted in the Spring of 2023 in Alvaston Park in Derby to form wooded recreation area to be enjoyed by members of the public.

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