The Friends of Rainham Recreation Ground are pleased to announce they have installed Medway’s first living den within a public space. A living den is a domed structure built using recently harvested willow stems that are pushed into the ground. The natural regenerative properties of these stems mean that within a few weeks they grow roots, and the whole structure becomes a living tree that grows and produces new leaves. They are a wonderful way to create natural playground equipment that allows children to play and appreciate nature.

The project happened because the group was able to secure funding from the CO-OP community fund, a fund that supports projects across the UK that their members choose. In this case the group was given the funds via the Rainham Eco Hub, from the Parkwood CO-OP store and Rainham Funeral Care. This allowed us to commission the specialist living den suppliers, the Willow Bank, to supply and install den. The group would also like to thank Medway Council, who not only gave permission for this to happen but also supported the group throughout the process.

Stuart Bourne, Chair of Friends of Rainham Recreation Ground, says ‘We are all very excited about this project. Since the group was first formed last year during COVID, we have made it our mission to improve the park in an exciting and environmental way. Living willow structures are a beautiful way to create playground equipment for children, as well as encouraging more wildlife into the park. I want to personally thank all those who helped make this happen.’

This is the first of many new exciting projects that the group have planned for Rainham Recreation group, hoping to reinstall a sense of community pride in a park that is at the heart of our town.