Green Spaces

Parks, gardens, the countryside or even just a favourite tree – green spaces are all around us, from the densest urban environments to the wildest reaches of rural areas.  Green spaces provide sanctuaries for wildlife and important leisure opportunities for people.  They allow people to connect with nature, which has been proven to keep us happy and healthy.  Documents in The National Archives show how us how people have used green spaces in the past, and in some cases, how old some of our most well-known green spaces are!

Questions for documents

What are the similarities and differences between the maps of Kew Gardens and Richmond Park?

What can you spot on the documents which tell you about how people used the green spaces in the past?

Do you think green spaces need to be big in order for people to enjoy them? Why or why not?

Big Draw activities

Create a drawing of your favourite green space. Remember, a green space can be your garden, a park, a nature reserve or countryside, or even a tree!

If you can, sit outside in your chosen green space, using sight, sound, touch and smell to tune into what is happening around you. Once you have tuned in, you can start your drawing!

If you cannot, then draw from memory.  You may also be able to imagine the senses too.

Optional extensions:

  • Using the bird’s eye view maps of Kew Gardens and Richmond Park as inspiration, can you draw your own version of a bird’s eye view plan/map of your favourite green space? You could even use an online or paper map to help you get started!
  • Can you now add sensory features to your drawing or map? For example, can you draw what the rustling of the trees sounds like? Or, can you draw what the flowers and plants smell like?

Share your drawings and plans with us by tagging us on Twitter: @UKNatArcEdu #BigGreenDraw #ClimateOfChange @The_Big_Draw

COPY 1/134 – Morecambe Winter Gardens leaflet, 1897

OS 5/112 – Ordnance Survey map of Royal Botanical Gardens (Kew Gardens), 1939

WORK 25/110/C1/SB19-N48 – Sketch of a rock garden on the South Bank, London, for the Festival of Britain, 1951

WORK 12/75/1 – Map of Richmond Park, showing the location of the South African Military Hospital inside the park, 1915-1926