The Field Studies Council (FSC) and The Royal Parks have announced a new seven-year partnership to develop environmental education activities in three of London’s Royal Parks. The FSC, a national environmental education charity with 17 centres throughout the UK, currently work in Bushy Park, Greenwich Park and Regents Park.
The FSC’s education links with London started with the charity’s inception at the Natural History Museum in 1943, and have continued ever since with many thousands of London’s children and adults visiting its national network of 17 field centres every year. The charity is also very active inside the capital: FSC-led school groups are a familiar sight in inner-London’s parks. It is recognised as a national leader in developing outdoor education in urban areas.
Toni Assirati, Head of Education and Community Engagement, The Royal Parks said: “London’s Royal Parks offer unparalleled opportunities for city children to learn about the natural world. Following government spending cuts, the future of education programmes across the Royal Parks was uncertain. However by working with the FSC, many thousands more school children will have the opportunity to learn, discover and be inspired in Bushy, Regent’s and Greenwich Parks.”
Rob Lucas, the FSC’s Chief Executive comments “This is an exciting development for us. We are already working with many schools throughout London but these three parks are real gems. As well as building on our schools activity, they will be inspirational locations for families and adults interested in learning more about their local environment."
Helen Robertson, Head of FSC London East, commented “I am really looking forward to building on the great work that Royal Parks has already started. The Royal Parks staff and volunteers are already familiar faces to local schools around the three parks and over the coming years we will be expanding to include new ages and topics. Our vision is to make these sites world leaders in urban outdoor education”.
Lying north of Hampton Court Palace, the history of the park is inextricably linked to the palace, yet it has always had its own distinct rural character. The famous Arethusa 'Diana' Fountain forms the centrepiece to the equally famous Chestnut Avenue. The flat site on which Bushy Park lies has been settled for at least 4,000 years. There is clear evidence of the medieval field boundaries, with the finest example just south of the Waterhouse Woodland Gardens, where there are traces of the largest and most complete medieval field system in Middlesex.
There has been a settlement on this site since Roman times, but Greenwich has always been strongly associated with royalty. Since the land was inherited by Henry V's brother, generations of monarchs have taken this magnificent park to their hearts. Why not visit the Park to see some of the wildlife? There is a large grassland enclosure, covering almost 13 acres which serves as a sanctuary for deer, foxes and birds.
The Regent's Park
The Regent's Park is the largest grass area for sports in Central London and offers a wide variety of activities, as well as an Open Air Theatre, the London Zoo and many cafes and restaurants. Henry VIII appropriated The Regent's Park for use as a hunting ground, which he considered to be an invigorating ride from Whitehall Palace. At that time, the only boundaries were a ditch and a rampart. Were he here today, Henry would hardly recognise the stylish gardens and sports fields that now stand in its place.