Horniman reveals design for south London micro-forest

We are sharing detailed plans for our new micro-forest, as planting begins on the site alongside the A205 South Circular road.

A 300m2 area is being redeveloped to provide a ‘green screen’, protecting the Horniman’s Gardens from noise and air pollution, and creating additional wildlife habitats, following a successful fundraising appeal in 2021.

The eastern section of the area will become a woodland, featuring coppiced hazel under-planted with meadow grassland including a mixture of wildflowers and native plants such as snowdrops, daffodils and bluebells, wood anemones and snakes head fritillaries.

The western section – closest to a busy and congested junction of the South Circular (London Road) – will be planted using the Miyawaki method, to create a dense and fast-growing micro-forest.

The Miyawaki method, created by Japanese botanist and plant ecologist Akira Miyawaki, uses natural forest regeneration processes and close planting, prompting trees to grow faster as they compete for the sun. The method speeds up the creation of a diverse, healthy forest which can capture more carbon far earlier than traditional reforesting techniques.

In both sections, the existing shrub border adjacent to the South Circular will be deepened, and existing trees and shrubs will be retained wherever possible. The plans have been finalised by Head of Horticulture Errol Fernandes, and the Horniman’s Gardens team has been preparing the ground ready for this month’s planting to begin.