News

great fen visitors centre

At the beginning of the year Roundfield were asked by architects Gruff Ltd to collaborate on a joint submission for the Great Fen Visitors Centre design competition. The brief for the competition called for "an exceptional building [together with associated infrastructure and immediate landscape works] that is in tune with the project’s overall ambitions, the qualities of the site, the fenland landscape and to be an exemplar of sustainability both in construction and use." Our work with Gruff produced a submission that was both sensitive to the fen landscape context as well as the need to work within budget constraints to create a focal point for the visitor experience. A microcosm of the wider landscape within an internal courtyard is enclosed by the building on three sides with the open side directing visitors out towards the fen beyond into which they can venture via a series of boardwalks. "The boardwalk takes the...

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garden is named as it nears completion

The new garden at Dart Marina is all but finished with the exception of a few finishing touches. So far feedback has been extremely positive. The garden looks gratifyingly close to the original vision, and when the planting gets going it cannot fail to impress! Having struggled to find a suitable name for this space that occupies a former expanse of tarmac between the Hotel and the Marina, it was decided that the setting itself provided the answer: Dart Marina River Garden. We'll have some professional pictures to show once the garden has become more established, but here are a few early pics to whet the appetite..  ...

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closest forest garden to brick lane?

Work is continuing apace at Spitalfields City Farm community garden in London, with the construction of the decked walkway made from reused scaffold planks. The walkway and seating area will soon be graced with a roundwood shelter complete with rainwater harvesting that overflows into a swale system. Attention has recently been turned to the forest garden area towards the back of the site. First it has been necessary to break through the layer of concrete that spans the entire site – a legacy left by Transport for London having used this area as an access point to construct the new East London Line. We have been mindful to only break through the concrete where the planting areas are proposed, as this firm base can be put to good use under the paths and seating areas. Despite the challenge of breathing life back into a ravaged post industrial landscape, soon a 15 tonne delivery of...

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hotel car park begins the transformation into a garden…

The Dart Marina project is well and truly underway, soon to create an enticing green space that will connect the hotel to the River Dart Marina. The terraces and main lawn are already taking shape, with the decked walkway scheduled to follow shortly. The green oak sleeper walls are starting to give a real solidity to the formal structure of the garden, which will be softened when we plant up the terraces with shrubs and perennials selected for their drought tolerance and biodiversity value. The main impact will be provided by three 4 meter high Quercus ilex (holm oak) trees which we look forward to maneuvering into position next week. The contractors are on a tight schedule to build the garden in just five weeks, so watch this space for more images as the garden nears completion. ...

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street forage – the website

We're excited to announce our new blog that is dedicated to the exploration of public edible landscapes. It is a collaboration between us and author and urban foraging expert Dave Hamilton. It's still in it's infancy but please do go and have a look and let us know what you think. www.streetforage.co.uk  ...

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spiralfields – work begins

Work begins on site on the spiralfields project based at Spitalfields City Farm in Tower Hamlets.   Volunteers from the nearby Osmani Centre came along to help out: Jim and Theresa finishing the first raised bed: The amazing Bottle Gourds (Kuda) growing in the poytunnel: ...

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street forage!

The Landscape Institute, Garden Museum and Mayor of London launched ‘A High Line for London: Green Infrastructure Ideas Competition for a new London landscape’. Inspired by New York’s High Line, it was judged by a panel of experts including the founders of the High Line, entrants were challenged to put forward innovative concepts that create imaginative new green space in the capital.   This was our entry: Street Forage The people of Deptford are more aware of the importance of green infrastructure than most. Deptford Green is one of the preferred sites for linkage to the new 'Super Sewer' project being proposed by Thames Water. Those opposed to the proposals have highlighted the fact that a scheme based partly on the use of green infrastructure could provide multiple benefits at less cost. Rationale Street Forage is our response to both the brief and also to the above. What better place to demonstrate an innovative multi functional...

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the forest garden…

The Roundfield trip to Martin Crawford's forest garden had been a long time coming. Talk of Martin's course has been echoing around our office for literally years so we were both pretty chuffed to finally make the journey down to his two acre site near Totnes. “Martin Crawford has spent the last 15 years creating what is almost certainly the best forest garden in the temperate world...

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new studio space

We are very pleased to say that we are now settled into our new studio space. The new site found for Utrophia on Deptford High Street (right opposite the train station) could not be better. All hands were needed to get the place in shape for the opening show at the end of July. It went amazingly well! We found it particularly refreshing to be able talk to people about urban landscapes and potential community growing spaces in the context of an art show. There is a lot of enthusiasm within the Deptford creative community for building local resilience. A great kick start to a new chapter! Even though Utrophia has moved the spirit of the last space lives on!...

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we have moved…

Until recently we have been working from a studio space in an old ice cream factory off Tanners Hill in Deptford. Sadly, this industrial relic is scheduled for demolition to make way for new housing, so it was time to look for  a new space. [caption id="attachment_480" align="alignnone" width="590" caption="Our studio space in an old ice cream factory"][/caption]   [caption id="attachment_466" align="alignnone" width="590" caption="Our 'back yard' with Big Yellow Storage depot construction site in background. Spot the apple tree and the Jerusalem artichokes!"][/caption]   We are excited to announce that our new studio is located on Deptford High Street just across from the train station! Roundfield, Utrophia 120 High Street, Deptford High Street, London SE8 4NS. More on this later...

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croydon charcoal

When we heard that there was going to be a demonstration charcoal burn in Selsdon Wood, we decided to take the afternoon off and take a closer look. The next thing we knew we were splitting coppiced Ash, Oak, Hazel and Cherry for the kiln! Rob Sowter of Croydon Coppice & Charcoal and his band of volunteers use a mobile kiln to hold weekend burns in the surprisingly abundant woodland in and around the Croydon area. We helped load the kiln on Friday afternoon and it was fired up by Saturday lunch time. In order to keep a close eye on the burn and make sure the chimneys were swapped mid burn to reverse the air flow, the guys spent Saturday night in the coppice clearing. When we returned on Sunday there were 43 x 3kg bags of charcoal lined up for sale at £5 a bag. For anyone who hasn’t barbequed with...

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hill holt wood

A Roundfield excursion to the foremost woodland social enterprise in the country proved to be both enlightening and inspiring! Our search for a truly sustainable land based enterprise finally led us to Hill Holt wood in February 2011.  Set in 34 acres of degraded ancient woodland in Lincolnshire, this project is restoring the wood to its former condition through a number of measures such as rhododendron clearance and planting of native broadleaf species to replace those felled during a period of heavy logging prior to the purchase of the wood. What is remarkable about Hill Holt Wood is that contrary to most conservation projects, it actually turns a profit that is reinvested back into the social enterprise. This is possible through numerous contracts with local councils that pay Hill Holt Wood to train and educate permanently expelled school children for a period of 2 years. Interns learn woodland based practical and social...

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