Darent Valley Hospital opened in September 2000 and has approximately 463 inpatient beds and specialties that include day-care surgery, general surgery, trauma, orthopaedics, cardiology, maternity and general medicine. The hospital is seeking to use more of its green spaces for staff and patient wellbeing.

Four trees were planted as part of NHS Sustainability Day 2015: apple, plum, cherry and amelanchier. These were planted in the wildlife garden that was designed in memory of a gardener. As you head out of the rear of the canteen, you now walk past strawberries and other fruits on the way to our fruit trees – a tasty lunchtime stroll.

Three more NHS Forest trees were planted to celebrate the installation of a new Combined Heat and Power (CHP) energy centre at the hospital. The CHP centre means the hospital is producing its own energy with the waste heat used to provide hot water to the trust. This saves the trust a massive 25% in carbon emissions daily as part of our sustainability agenda.

In 2022, the trust wanted a space where staff could relax and reflect while remembering loved ones, friends or colleagues who died during the Covid-19 pandemic. With support from NHS Forest, the Ttust has now planted a Memorial Wood with dozens of trees. Staff can have a commemorative plaque attached to tree trunks reclaimed from a recent development site, which will mark the entrance to the wood.

Photo: Leslieann Osborn. All rights reserved.

On 12 May 2022 the site formally opened the Memorial Wood. The trust said: “The wood has been lovingly planted with donated trees to acknowledge the bereavement suffered by many of our Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust family since the beginning of the pandemic. The newly planted, quiet woodland area has seats and space for staff to remember and reflect. They can remember their loved ones who passed away during the difficult period in our shared history. Two memorial tree trunks have been saved from recently felled trees near the endoscopy unit, and have been positioned so that memorial plaques can be placed on them. The plaques are of loved ones that staff have lost anywhere in the world, for any reason since the beginning of the pandemic. Chief Executive Louise Ashley cut the ribbon after giving a heartfelt speech and poem; Rev Tony Green said a blessing; and staff took a leisurely stroll around the wood.”

Photo: Leslieann Osborn. All rights reserved.
Photo: Leslieann Osborn. All rights reserved.

In 2024 they planted a further 200 NHS Forest trees paid for by the Nature for Climate fund.

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