Gateway to accessible, natural green spaces

It’s all change here at Earth Trust!

We host more than 200,000 visits a year across our green spaces. In recent years we have been working creatively to find new ways to welcome and excite people about our amazing environment, whilst protecting our heritage. In 2020, we embarked on our most ambitious project to date – the Gateway Programme – bringing together longstanding ambitions to improve our facilities for visitors, extend our educational opportunities, and inspire debate and action about how we enjoy and protect our green spaces into the future.

The Gateway Programme will realise our vision of a greater welcome for visitors, transforming their experience of the Earth Trust Centre through upgrading of our existing facilities and the building of new ones.  This includes the development of one of our barns into an ‘Innovation Hub’ to provide a welcome and orientation area and multi-use space for Earth Trust and its partners, and the creation of Earth Lab – our new education and skills centre.

Longer term plans include a farm shop, a café, and ‘Earth Adventure’ – a playful outdoor area where everyone can discover more about the value of wildlife rich green spaces and the heritage of our landscape.

Phase 1 completed

Despite the challenges of multiple lockdowns, our work on Phase 1 progressed during 2020 and in the summer of 2021 we were able to finalise the creation of the first new spaces, Earth Lab and Innovation Hub.

Earth Lab is an award winning, living demonstration of sustainability, incorporating natural and carbon-sequestering building materials, a wildflower roof and water management system. Our environmental education offering has been greatly enhanced. We now have the space and facilities to be able to welcome school groups, families and learners in an inspiring setting.

The barn refurbishment has been completed and the Innovation Hub is now ready to become a multi-use space for Earth Trust and our partners, and in time a visitor welcome and orientation area.

We received £1.49m of funding from the government’s Local Growth Fund, secured by Oxfordshire LEP, and this, together with grants from a number of Trusts and Foundations, members and private donors, enabled us to complete Phase 1 of our vision. We are extremely grateful to them all.

Continuing the journey

We have many more plans for the Gateway programme, which are currently taking shape. The pandemic has been a difficult time for all charities, but, as we begin to recover financially our plans for Phase 2 in the Gateway Programme can start again.

We hope to continue our journey to provide even better access to green spaces at Earth Trust Centre in 2022.  What this space!

Artist's impression of the Gateway

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Find out more about the current progress:

 

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