String o' Beads (Rhyming slang for 'Leeds')

 

This now abandoned idea for a chain of 'pocket' forest gardens, wild flower patches and mini-orchards, linking Bedford Fields with the UoL Sustainable Garden, was proposed in spring 2014, following co-incidental suggestons from LCC Parks and Countryside, Grow Wild (Kew Gardens), The London Orchard Project, the NUS and BugLife (see here for the original proposal).

 

It was considered to be potentially viable because as well as being attractive to funders, with major PR and educational benefits for all parties, it would provide additional forageable food for insects and humans at low cost, with no detremental impact on the recreational functionality or traditional aesthetic of Woodhouse Moor (which the String would have to cross) - and  for a minimal maintenance commitment (especially during the summer when many are away).

 

Consultative meetings with local partners proved positive, and substantial funding was promised. So an initial Research and Survey Report was prepared by ecologists and landscape architects from both universities (here), working in collaboration with local stakeholders - while interns and volunteer designers were recruited to work on the project over the summer.

 

The next stage should have been a series of community consultation and participatory design exercises, and the mobilisation of local (not student, because of vacations) volunteers to manage the Woodhouse Moor section.

 

But at this point the project was halted due to opposition from the South Headingley Community Association (aka The Friends of Woodhouse Moor), on the grounds that additional edible and/or pollinator plants on the Moor might compromise the park's future inclusion in the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens.

 

English Heritage advise that this would not in fact be the case. The LEC response is available here.

 

The cessation, naturally, left the interns (five of whom had travelled from Bordeaux to work on the project) in limbo, and as there had been specific requests from partners for research and design ideas,  it was decided to progress some of these - in academic terms only (as with the other student proposals on the Design Research page).

 

These, two of which are presented right, are not as thorough or robust as intended because the interns moved on to more productive activities, but they  provide a flavour of what might have been achievable if the process had been allowed to continue. (NB The reports do not consider issues of access, resources, ownership or management, which would have been addressed in the next stage - and without which installation could not and would not have been initiated).

 

The concept of 'wild' plants for insect and human foraging may still be progressed outwith the Moor, but a String linking Bedford Fields with the Sustainable Garden is ruled out for the foreseeable future.

Student Ideas Beckett Wellbeing Allotment

Student Ideas Bowling Green Forest Gardens

Woodhouse Moor

has hosted veg in the past

 

and lots of it!