Hartfield Walk – a reimagined space with eco-messages and sustainable design

Sustainable Materials

The much-needed seating in Hartfield Walk has been constructed from oak, reclaimed from The Grand Union Canal lock gates. The gates are replaced every 25 years, and in the process, they are dismantled and the metal within is recycled. It is the metal content, bars and pins that create the black and blue tannin staining which you can see present on the seating.

The construction of the kiosks, planters and seating in this space has also seen the use of locally sourced and responsibly grown timber and Oriented Strand Board (OSB). The former derives from well-managed forests and/or verified and recycled sources, approved by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), whilst the latter is a material made from waste – large wood shavings that are formed together to produce a sheet material. Plus, the kiosks have been finished with shade-tolerant meadow flowers covering the roof!

Decorating with a Difference

Water-based paints were chosen, where possible, to add a pop of colour to the Harfield Walk furniture. Such paints have a significantly lower environmental impact than traditional solvent-based products, due to their low level of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). VOCs are harmful chemicals carbon-containing substances that vaporize at room temperature and enter the atmosphere. Over time, these chemicals are be released into the air through a process called off-gassing.

Selecting paints that are highly durable, last longer and don’t require repeated cleaning, was also considered, to reduce maintenance cycles and limit the amount of paint used, on aspects such as the kiosks.

Plant Selection

The large variety of plants that can be seen throughout Hartfield Walk, include a range of climbers, bulbs, herbs, shrubs and perennials, species that are powerful in their pollinating properties and have bee-friendly flowers, as well as those which help combat pollution, such as Amelanchier and Betula. These plants can capture and temporarily hold pollutant particles, take up gaseous pollutants and absorb heavy metals from soils. 50% of the plants in Hartfield Walk are also drought tolerant, meaning that they can continue to boost local biodiversity, even in less ideal conditions. Read more about the plant selection here.

Eco-conscious Ambience

Outdoor festoon lighting will help to continue the ambience of Hartfield Walk into the evening. The lights are all LED, which is known to reduce waste as the bulbs rarely require replacing, and are also controlled by light sensors.