Gardener and broadcaster Alan Titchmarsh has taken part of the greening of a historic street in London, digging in the last of 48 trees that have been planted around the recently rebuilt Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Fitzrovia’s Bolsover Street.

The trees were planted as part of the NHS Forest project, a national programme which aims to improve the health of staff, patients and communities through increasing access to green space on or near to NHS land. The target is to plant one tree per NHS employee, over 1.3 million trees.

News paper report on the tree planting event at Bolsover Street, London
News paper report on the tree planting event at Bolsover Street, London. All rights reserved.
Newly planted trees outside Bolsover Street Outpatient Assessment Centre, London
Newly planted tree outside Bolsover Street Outpatient Assessment Centre, London. Unknown author. All rights reserved.

Alan Titchmarsh was joined by local school children, patients and staff from the hospital and the Lord Mayor of Westminster, Councillor Judith Warner, who all attended the tree planting ceremony, with the mayor unveiling a special plaque to mark the occasion. The trees will soften Bolsover Street’s tough and hard-built environment, and this initiative supports the local community’s efforts to line the entire length of the street with trees by creating a green pedestrian corridor from the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital to Regent’s Park. It also returns two elm trees to the street – last present in the 1850s.

“Planting trees along Bolsover Street has enhanced our outlook from the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital’s Outpatient Assessment Centre. Working in an environment where there is some greenery is a big improvement to our surroundings, which will not only benefit our staff but patients visiting the centre as well.”

Helen Duncan, senior sister

The Bolsover Street project is part of the NHS Forest, an exciting new national project coordinated by the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare (CSH) and partly funded by the Forestry Commission’s Big Tree Plant Campaign. This innovative project is set to increase the accessibility of green space on NHS estates bringing health benefits to staff, patients and the local community by creating wooded areas for people’s exercise and relaxation.

“We are delighted that the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital has joined the NHS Forest project,” said Rachel Stancliffe, Director of CSH. “Not only is this good for patients and staff at Bolsover Street, but we hope this captures the imagination of communities in the area and sparks further tree planting at healthcare sites across London.”

Studies have shown that the presence of trees can improve mental and physical wellbeing. Even patients in hospital who just have a view of trees through their window can benefit, as they make quicker recoveries. One patient commented, “It’s refreshing to have trees breaking-up the street scene, particularly in a built-up area.”

The project was made possible through the generous support of the W1W Tree Planting Initiative made up of local residents, medical practices and businesses, along with Westminster Tree Trust and Westminster City Council.

Banner photo: Alan Titchmarsh plants NHS Forest trees on Bolsover Street. Unknown author. All rights reserved.

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