Greening the city – one street at a time.
Green Corridor: Malmesbury Rd. to Mile End Park Project – series of small-scale interventions with two main aims:
“1. to encourage local residents to use Malmesbury Rd. as an attractive walking and cycling route to Mile End Park.
2. to make an area of Malmesbury Rd. an important habitat for wildlife and plants and to help plants and animals move between Mile End Park and the Malmesbury Estate.”.
The masterplan identified ten small sites along the Malmesbury Road, paved or grassed. The sites were individually assessed and designed for cleaning, depaving, ornamental or native planting, herb gardens, native hedges and trees, orchards, bird boxes, and loggery.
Housing Association, residents and the Gardening Club are closely involved and participate in the decision making, construction and maintenance of the gardens.
Phase 1. 2019-2020
In 2019-2020 The Wilder Community with help from volunteers and other charity organisations ‘greened’ three Malmesbury Estate sites:
- Guerin Sq. – planted in April 2019 with biodiverse planting;
- Tom Thumbs Arch – planted in September 2019 with ornamental and wildflowers, biodiverse planting;
- Ambrose Walk – planted in February 2020 with wild-flower meadow, ornamental and native, biodiverse planting, herb planting & fruit trees.
Phase 2. 2020-2021
In spring 2020, seven new sites were identified for ‘greening’. Four areas will be planted with native trees (11 no. in total) and three sites with fruit trees (20 no. in total). Additionally, a total of 14 m native wildlife hedgerows will be planted in two areas. All locations will be underplanted with biodiverse planting: native or ornamental. Several bird-nesting boxes, bug hotels and one loggery will be located on the sites, created and installed in collaboration with local schools.
Site 01 – a raised, empty and grassed area, will be transformed into a community orchard with five fruit trees, e.g. apples, and pears. Additionally, eight meters of mixed native hedge and biodiverse under-planting with nectar reach flowers will be planted, as well as bird boxes and bug hotels installed.
Site 02 – existing planting will be kept and three new fruit trees, e.g. apples, planted to create a small orchard, plus biodiverse underplanting with nectar-rich flowers, bird boxes and bug hotel.
Sites 03 – green stripe along the car parking will be planted with two native broadleaf trees, e.g. lime, and underplanted with wildlife supporting planting: shrubs and perennials, plus bird boxes installed on the existing and new trees.
Site 04 – the small grassed area will be transformed with one native broadleaf tree, e.g. rowan, underplanted with ornamental and wildlife supporting planting.
Site 05 – planted with one native broadleaf tree, e.g. lime, plus a bird box, and underplanted with wildlife supporting planting.
Site 06 – one of the bigger sites, it will be planted with seven mixed native broadleaf trees, e.g. oak, lime and rowan plus six meters of mixed native hedgerow, all underplanted with wildlife supporting planting. Additionally, bird boxes will be fixed to trees with bug hotels and loggery for deadwood insects installed.
Site 07 – the biggest site, it will be changed into a community orchard with 12 fruit trees, e.g. apples, pears, and apricots. Biodiverse underplanting with nectar-rich flowers, bird boxes and bug hotels will provide additional benefits.
Creating new orchards, wildflower meadows and sites with nectar-rich ornamental planting will make the Malmesbury Rd. an important habitat for wildlife and a pleasant environment for residents.
- Proposed trees and planting compromise of native broadleaf trees, mixed native hedges and perennials.
- The benefits of tree planting are countless, just to list a few:
- rainwater uptake,
- shade providing,
- cooling and improved microclimate effect,
- wildlife habitats.
- Ornamental and native planting provide food and shelter for birds and insects throughout the whole year.
- Rich biodiverse under-planting and orchards, provide plenty of food for pollinators.
- Bird boxes and bug hotels create additional habits for birds, wild and solitary bees and beetles.
- Depaving and planting improve the soil quality and habitats for invertebrates.
- Additional benefits are cleaner air and rainwater uptake.
- By creating a series of high quality, open green spaces the Malmesbury Rd. connects to the wider Tower Hamlets Green Grid Strategy.
- The sites are open and fully accessible to residents, visitors, local school pupils and staff.
- Promote walking and cycling, including school trips.
- Greening the Malmesbury road aims to connect residents with nature.
- Long term benefits of improved mental and physical health, such as contact with nature, are proved to be an excellent tool for coping with stress and improving mindfulness.
- Strong community, actively involved in creation and maintenance.
- Improved air quality – long term health benefits.