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Families journey through ‘The New World’ at the National Memorial Arboretum

The National Memorial Arboretum, within the National Forest in Staffordshire, is welcoming families to journey through ‘The New World’ this summer holidays (21 July – 1 September) in a free, immersive experience that is rooted in environmental sustainability. Created in collaboration with arts organisation Wild Rumpus, chosen by the Arboretum for their creativity and commitment to sustainable practices, the six interactive installations, from a ‘Dream Garden’ to the ‘Memory Maze’, are built using upcycled, recycled and repurposed materials, offering families a fun-packed experience with a gentler impact on the environment.

Drawing inspiration from the natural surroundings of the Arboretum and the powerful stories of service and sacrifice that are encapsulated within the memorials and landscaping, ‘The New World’ introduces six distinct themed areas that encourage creative, physical, and reflective activity centred on the themes of journeys and travel, inspiring people to contemplate the experience of exploring new places.

“The Arboretum is an inspirational living landscape, and we make sure that sustainability and good environmental practices are the heart of everything we do. This summer we really wanted to share that message through creativity and play with the families that journey through The New World with us throughout the school holidays,” said Rachel Smith, Head of Participation and Learning at the National Memorial Arboretum. “The New World installations transport our visitors to new and wonderful places through the power of their own imaginations, whilst reducing the impact on the environment thanks to the upcycling and repurposing of many materials.”

Families will be guided on their journey by the spin of a wheel, sending them on an unpredictable adventure around each of the installations. Starting from ‘The Oracle’, visitors will plot their unique journey through ‘Dream Garden’, ‘Memory Maze’, ‘Playscape’, ‘Sanctuary’ and ‘Utopia’, completing fun activities that will challenge their imagination along the way. Fantastical characters in the guise of ‘New World travel guides’ will playfully encourage families at certain points in their journey.

  • Dream Garden – Marvel at the weird and wonderful plants, before planting seeds to take home and gather hints and tips on how to create a dream garden at home.
  • Memory Maze – Recall and share memories and joyful moments to help this installation grow.
  • Playscape – Imagine and build a unique space to play.
  • Sanctuary – A space to sit and be, rest, reflect, and contemplate with fellow explorers.
  • Utopia – Explore bamboo structures and suggest slogans for the ‘signs of the times’ placards that frame this evolving space.

“As an immersive environmental arts company, we aim to work regeneratively and within the boundaries and cycles of the living planet, an ethos that is reflected in all elements of ‘The New World’ at the Arboretum this summer, from the design concepts to the repurposing of materials once we have finished,” explains Rowan Cannon, Director of Wild Rumpus. “We have a responsibility to produce environmentally sustainable events which provoke debate and inspire change and we always question how we can impact on the world more gently.”

This sustainability-led summer activity forms part of the National Memorial Arboretum’s broader commitment to sustainability and reducing its carbon footprint. It builds on previous sustainability initiatives, including; introducing 100% recyclable or compostable food services packaging; cultivating an onsite herb garden for use by the chefs in the kitchens; using local suppliers to offer the best seasonal and sustainable produce, and installing 250 solar panels on the roof of the Remembrance Centre to make a significant reduction to CO2 emissions.

Visitors can journey through ‘The New World’ daily from 10am to 5pm and a free guide to the experience can be picked up from the Visitor Welcome Desk on arrival. Entry into the Arboretum and The New World is free, advance booking is recommended to guarantee entry and save on parking.




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