National Trust and Historic Coventry Trust announce plans for blossom garden in Charterhouse Heritage Park

Published Friday, 10 September 2021

The National Trust and Historic Coventry Trust have today, Friday 10 September,  announced plans to create a blossom garden in the city’s newly created Charterhouse Heritage Park.

Charterhouse blossom garden
Picture credit: The National Trust
  • Coventry is latest city to join initiative to plant blossoming tree gardens in urban places across England, Wales and Northern Ireland over next five years
  • Blossom tree planting reflect ambitions for more people to have access to nature where they live, and spaces for reflection, following the coronavirus pandemic
  • Project will tap into cultural links to spring blossom, and the National Trust’s drive to create a British equivalent of Japan’s ‘Hanami’ – the popular custom of enjoying the transient beauty of flowers
  • Announcement part of Coventry City of Culture and Heritage Open Days activity where Historic Coventry Trust is hosting a series of events to celebrate the city’s heritage
  • Coventry community to help choose where in Charterhouse Heritage Park the garden will be planted
  • Trees will be among those planted to meet the National Trust’s ambition to plant 20 million trees by 2030 to help tackle climate change and create new homes for nature

This is in celebration of Coventry’s year as City of Culture.

The initiative is part of the National Trust’s pledge to plant blossom trees in cities across England, Wales and Northern Ireland over the next five years.

Coventry is the latest city to support the ambition to connect more people to nature and create spaces for hope and reflection through blossom. The first blossom garden was created in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London, with blossom-inspired spaces also being created in Newcastle, Nottingham and Plymouth.

Alongside the announcement, Historic Coventry Trust is launching a public consultation for members of the local community to share their thoughts on where in the park the blossom garden should be located, its design and how the space will be used in the future. During this weekend’s Heritage Open Days Charterhouse Weekender activity[1] there will be an information stand outside the medieval Charterhouse where volunteers from Historic Coventry Trust and the National Trust will be on hand to talk through the plans and capture visitors’ ideas and thoughts.

Historic Coventry Trust, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, is an entrepreneurial heritage development trust which aims to bring new life to the city’s heritage, finding innovative ways to sustain historic places and to inspire, involve and connect people with the city’s history. Over the past two years the National Trust has been working with Historic Coventry Trust to support the opening of Charterhouse, a Grade I listed 14th-century Carthusian Monastery, which has been under major restoration thanks to a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant of £4.3 million.

Lucy Reid, National Trust Assistant Director of Operations for the Midlands, said: “We’re delighted to be working alongside Historic Coventry Trust to create a blossom garden in Charterhouse Heritage Park.  It will be a special place for local people to spend time, reflect and connect with nature.

“Over the past few years we have been working closely with Historic Coventry Trust to support the renovation and re-opening of Charterhouse. We know first-hand how passionate the HCT team is about Coventry and its history – they are an inspiring example of heritage leadership, and we’ve been delighted to work alongside them to support this work. We hope the blossom trees will be a beautiful addition to the park and we hope to inspire and work closely with neighbours to leave a lasting legacy.

“It is hoped these natural places will give people space for hope and reflection as the nation moves forward from the pandemic and the chance to celebrate the beauty of spring year after year. Research has shown that nature has been hugely comforting many during the pandemic. Over the last two years, the sight of spring blossom, beautiful but fleeting, has brought pleasure and reassurance, reminding people that the rhythm of the natural world continued even though all other aspects of life had changed.”

Ian Harrabin, Chair of Historic Coventry Trust, said: “The landscape around Charterhouse has been important to the citizens of Coventry for many years, and the local community have come together to make sure that this space is an oasis for wildlife and people, and an area of calm and tranquillity on the edge of the bustling city. 

Historic Coventry Trust has been working in close partnership with the National Trust at Charterhouse over the last few years, and we are excited to work with them to develop this blossom garden to allow all to escape, refresh and reconnect with nature for many years to come.”

Cllr David Welsh, Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities at Coventry City Council, said: “The Charterhouse is a real jewel in Coventry’s crown and the restoration work and the creation of the Heritage Park is bringing something special to our city.

“The blossom garden is a wonderful idea and will add to the Charterhouse and the amazing green spaces across our city to give people somewhere to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature.

“I hope people take the opportunity to visit during the Heritage Open Days and have their say on where the garden should be. This is a great opportunity to be there at the start of something new and special for the city and to help create something for the years ahead.”

After a period of working with local people and partners to choose the best type of blossom trees and the best location, the trees will be planted during 2022 in the city’s new Charterhouse Heritage Park. The park is a 70-acre site where land is being regenerated by Historic Coventry Trust to provide an important resource for community health and economic wellbeing on the edge of Coventry City Centre.

Last spring, many recognised the importance of access to nature during lockdown when so many found time in nature beneficial not just for their physical health but mental wellbeing too.  

Thousands shared striking images of spring blossom to help lift people’s spirits with the charity’s first ever #BlossomWatch campaign in March 2020. Support for the campaign was repeated this spring and the National Trust hopes to embed an annual marking of the Spring blossom season, emulating Japan’s hanami, which brings all generations outdoors, boosting tourism and helping people connect with nature.

The annually blossoming trees are part of the National Trust’s commitment to plant 20 million trees during the next decade, as part of its work to tackle the climate crisis.

Hilary McGrady, Director General of the National Trust said: “We’ve been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm from towns, cities and local communities around the country after our first blossom garden was unveiled in London this year.  Bringing more blossom to cities is an important part of our plans to plant 20 million trees, give more homes to nature and help people connect with nature wherever they are.

“This project goes back to our roots and one of our founders’ key desires – to ensure more people have beautiful spaces to enjoy.”

For more information visit  www.nationaltrust.org.uk/blossom-watch and to make a donation towards the Trust’s tree planting ambitions, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/plant-a-tree

Coventry City Council