The Wild Escape

Future Forest: Habitats and Hope 

In March 2023, the Learning team at the New Forest Heritage Centre, Lyndhurst, delivered their project ‘Future Forest: Habitats and Hope’ as part of the ‘Wild Escape’.  

The Project 

We used the New Forest Embroidery as inspiration for the children to explore the rich wildlife that makes the New Forest their home and to imagine what a hopeful future should look like for the New Forest if we were to be mindful of biodiversity loss. 

Schools we worked with 

  • The New Forest Small School, 24 pupils, aged 7-11yrs 
  • Bartley Junior School, 19 pupils from year groups 3-5

The Journey 

Day one of the visit to us was in two parts- on one half, they took a closer look at the embroidery and took part in interactive activities as ‘ways in’ to look and imagine. They identified the wildlife in the forest, considered what biodiversity means, the human impacts we make on the forest, and what we could do to ensure we protect habitats for our future. 

Then, each pupil responded creatively to the question ‘What would a future forest with rich biodiversity look like?’ by creating a drawing of something from nature.  

In the afternoon they went into the forest with our partners from the New Forest National Parks Association. 

panel of embroidery of the summer in the new forest

We supplied Rachel (an artist from Swanwick Studio) with digital images of their drawings from day one, which she used to create a vision for how their final boards would look: 


The Result

On day 2 of their visit, they created a magnificent mixed media mosaic final piece with the support of Rachel: 

All the pupils learning and understanding of key messages went into the final piece. The rich and thriving wildlife pictured, is the vision of hope the children want to see for their future forest and natural environment.   

The three boards from each school, merged seamlessly for a huge bright and bold forest scene full of wildlife and biodiversity.  


Hannah Eastwood, Head of Learning, comments: 

‘We are incredibly proud of the work the children have done. The creative journey they have been on, and their learning of such a big topic such as biodiversity. We are so pleased to be able to exhibit the work in the Museum & hope that the public will enjoy the artwork as much as we enjoyed delivering the project. This colourful and bright work, full of optimism, will remain on display for as long as possible. The embroidery has proven to once again be a source of inspiration and the legacy continues to inspire younger generations. This is such a strong piece in our collection which has many avenues to explore for cross curricular learning and opportunities for creativity.’  

Hayley Long, in our Learning Team, comments: 

‘It was a pleasure to work with all the children; they were historians, geographers, scientists, and artists for the day. The Wild Escape has been an inspiring opportunity for the children to learn creatively and imaginatively about the importance of biodiversity in their local environment while also developing their communication and teamworking skills.’ 

We are delighted to display the finished Wild Escape artwork in our Museum for the pupils, their families and for all our visitors to see. 


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