Tolworth Court Farm could be one of London’s greatest nature reserves. At over 50ha, it’s size & location along the Hogsmill River mean it is an important place for nature. Despite being a haven for brown hairstreak butterflies, due to years of neglect & minimal use by locals, the site is far from reaching its ecological & social value. Adopting techniques used in rural projects, we will develop a pioneering rewilding vision for the site that stands to be the first of its kind in an urban environment. This will create an ecologically complex landscape, generating a wealth of biodiversity to be enjoyed by locals & Londoners alike. Working with & for the community, we will raise the profile of the site in an engaging & inspirational way. We will work with local people to understand their hopes & aspirations for the site and using state of the art technology such as virtual reality, Citizen Zoo & The Community Brain will map out a vision for the space as a haven for people & wildlife.
What we'll deliver:
- Create an inspirational vision for the site capturing its ecological and social potential.
- Series of engagement sessions with local people to inspire them about the project.
- Series of community consultations to understand people’s aspirations for the site.
- Work alongside leading experts in conservation & rewilding to inform our project plans.
- Engage a local artist to deliver on a virtual reality experience to showcase our vision for the site.
- Use this information to develop a roadmap to enhance the site to become a truly outstanding nature reserve.
Why it's a great idea:
Tolworth Court Farm (TCF) is the unpolished jewel in Kingston’s crown when it comes to natural spaces. As a neglected site, it is increasingly stricken with antisocial behaviour & is visited by very few people. However, it has the potential to be a pioneering nature reserve to showcase the power of rewilding to transform the landscape & reconnect people with the natural world.
In a recent survey of Tolworth residents, only 5% stated they had ever visited TCF. We will work to create a fantastic nature reserve that can engage thousands of people from diverse backgrounds & demonstrate how rewilding themes can be applied within urban landscapes.
We have links with some of the UK’s pioneers in the world of rewilding, & by adopting & adapting their methods, we are excited about the impact we can achieve in this urban environment. We have a base of committed volunteers, as well as links with local schools, community groups & organisations who will help make this dream become a reality.
Steps to get it done:
- A feasibility study detailing the social and ecological potential of the site to guide future ambitions for the project.
- Run 3 community engagements events in rewilding to enthuse locals about the project and its potential.
- Deliver 3 educational sessions with local schools to teach young people about urban wildlife.
- Conduct community consultations for the project to identify local people's aspirations for the site.
- Deliver 20% of engagement sessions to underrepresented groups in conservation including ethnic minority groups.
- Create a virtual reality engagement experience to showcase and excite people with our vision for the site.
- Gain support and advice from leading experts in the field of rewilding.