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Hayward Gallery + SUGi launch pocket Forest of 390 UK Native Trees.

Hayward Gallery + SUGi launch pocket Forest of 390 UK Native Trees.
Natura Nostra Forest, Southbank in 10 years time visualisation. Image courtesy of SUGi.

Hayward Gallery + SUGi launch pocket Forest- The Hayward Gallery, Moët & Chandon and urban rewilding organisation SUGi are joining forces to install a pocket forest, Natura Nostra Forest — Southbank, a 130 metre-squared patch of 390 trees created as a new, permanent feature of the Southbank Centre, reflecting the art centre’s commitment to sustainability, with its continued work to be a Net Zero carbon site by 2035 (Scope 1 and 2). This is the first pocket forest to be installed at an arts organisation anywhere in the world with SUGi.

Our mission is to restore native ecosystems in cities around the world. The Natura Nostra Forest — Southbank, will instigate a conversation between the concrete surroundings and Nature, restoring the sights and sounds of the natural world in a place that celebrates the wonders of human creativity.

Elise Van Middelem, Founder & CEO at SUGi,

Being planted in early May, Natura Nostra Forest — Southbank will be situated on a terrace next to the Hayward Gallery entrance and adjacent to Waterloo Bridge. It is estimated that this pocket forest will give an average carbon sequestration rate of 3 kilos per square metre per annum, at a total of 405 kilos per annum over the first 20 years of growth. Carbon sequestration is the capturing, removal and storage of carbon dioxide.

The Natura Nostra forest will be launched as part of the Hayward Gallery’s upcoming exhibition Dear Earth: Art and Hope in a Time of Crisis, from 21st June to 3rd September 2023, the Hayward Gallery will present a timely exhibition exploring how international contemporary artists are helping to reframe our responses to the climate crisis. Dear Earth hopes to inspire a renewed sense of connection with the natural world, and invite audiences to consider the unique and evolving role art has to play in today’s climate debate and activism. The Natura Nostra forest will aim to align with the exhibition’s aim to inspire a deeper emotional connection to nature, in this case through rewilding its urban surroundings. This exhibition is a part of Planet Summer, a summer season of climate-focused programming at the Southbank Centre.

Created using the Miyawaki method, a technique that allows for quick planting and an almost maintenance-free upkeep, the pocket forest is designed to encourage wildlife and nature to thrive amongst the brutalist architecture of the site, restoring the sights and sounds of the natural world. The pocket forest will be installed using a dense style of planting and it will reintroduce 24 native British species such as hazel, crab apple, dog rose and more to the heart of London, supporting the wellbeing of both people and the planet.

The forest’s success will be monitored with yearly biodiversity reports.

We’re delighted to be partnering with SUGi on this inspiring project, which represents an important step in the Southbank Centre’s ongoing plans to green the site, and which launches alongside a summer programme at the Hayward Gallery and across the Southbank Centre devoted to artists who are responding to the climate emergency, and promoting an ethic of engaged care.

Ralph Rugoff, Director of the Hayward Gallery,

Further greening of the Southbank Centre site is taking place with a rejuvenation of the roof garden above the Queen Elizabeth Hall. This will include a new garden commission from Paul Pulford, Founder and Head Gardener of Grounded EcoTherapy, a scheme that provides therapy and skills through gardening for people with experience of substance misuse, mental health difficulties and homelessness. The project responds to the growing impact of the climate crisis and the necessity to build resilient communities and farming practices. This new garden will be bedded using a technique called rock mulching which has been used for centuries by indigenous populations in the deserts of North America, and which reduces or eliminates the need for irrigation.

Find more information on the Southbank Centre’s environmental sustainability MORE


SUGi is a global platform fully dedicated to biodiversity building, ecosystem restoration and reconnecting people to nature through the creation of ultra-dense, biodiverse forests of native species primarily in urban areas. Their signature strategy entails engineering soil, microbes and biomass to kickstart natural growth processes, according to the proven Miyawaki method, which in only 20 years yields growth comparable to a 100-year-old forest. 

With 155 pocket forests planted in 28 cities on 6 continents, they have reconnected 33,500 youth and community members to nature. MORE SUGI & Moët MORE

About Grounded EcoTherapy

Grounded Ecotherapy is part of a year-round Arts and Wellbeing programme within the Southbank Centre’s Creative Learning team. The initiative is supported by Providence Row Housing Association and the Southbank Centre. MORE



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