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Sloane Street to welcome London’s first rewilded ‘Heritage Forest’

A total of 630 trees, shrubs and wildflowers from 77 native English species have been planted on Pont Street

Projection of what the Chelsea ‘Heritage Forest’ will look like in 10 years

Pont Street, which intersects Sloane Street, is soon to become home to central London’s first-ever ‘Heritage Forest’ as part of a new partnership between Louis Vuitton, rewilding consultancy SUGi, and property manager, investor and developer Cadogan – the 300-year-old family business that owns and safeguards more than 90 acres of Chelsea and Knightsbridge.

The project has seen 630 trees, shrubs and wildflowers from 77 native English species, including red campion, sessile oak, and hawthorn, planted in a 240-square-metre area adjacent to Sloane Street and its nearby Louis Vuitton boutique, transforming it into an urban pocket forest that will become self-sustaining within three years.

The forest, planted with the help of local school children, will increase the neighbourhood’s biodoversity and demonstrate an innovative way for businesses and landowners to work together and make an impact with environmentally responsible planting in small urban spaces.

SUGi, the globally renowned organisation dedicated to restoring 100% native forests in urban spaces, followed the complex ‘Miyawaki’ planting methodology, based on the work of Japanese botanist Akira Miyawaki, which has been successful at more than 3,000 sites on six continents, with a 97% success rate for tree survival with little-to-no maintenance required.

The method gives its pocket forests four layers: shrubs, sub-trees, trees and a canopy, with at least three native trees planted per square metre. The forest floor, dense with shrubbery and wildflowers, will create an ideal habitat for at least 80 species of insects. By using this variety of native species, the forest will require less maintenance and watering, alleviating the need for pesticides and fertilisers.

“It is vital that we try new opportunities to accelerate positive change” – Hugh Seaborn, Cadogan CEO

“This forest is certainly a complementary contrast to the 15 acres of more manicured gardens across the estate and our plans to make Sloane Street a dramatically greener boulevard from Knightsbridge to Sloane Square,” said Cadogan chief executive Hugh Seaborn. “It is vital that we try new opportunities to accelerate positive change and we believe this will be a beautiful and necessary addition, while offering inspiration for many similar opportunities.”

The initiative is part of Cadogan’s recently launched 10-year sustainability strategy, Chelsea 2030, and maps out ambitious targets that will contribute to a more sustainable city. These targets outline initiatives including a roadmap to net zero, improving air quality and enhancing green infrastructure and biodiversity across the estate.

The Pont Street pocket forest is part of Vuitton’s sustainable development plan, ‘Our Committed Journey’, which is dedicated to preserving natural resources by 2025 based on a set of quantitative targets. It echoes the maison’s commitment to contributing to the local communities in which it operates.

“The forest will be a green space for local neighbours to find quiet moments of respite and to take in the joys of nature in a vibrant and busy city,” said Elise van Middelem, founder of SUGi. “Visitors can take in the changing colours of the trees, the aromas of the blossoms and the sound of rustling leaves. Thanks to its urban location, this forest will offer not only an individual experience but a communal one. We hope it becomes a recognised source of joy for all.”

Be sure to check out the forest’s progress next time you visit Sloane Street and as the first of the native trees begin to mature in the coming seasons and years.

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