The Wilderness Project

The Wilderness Project is a new idea for the wooded area behind Rose Bowl. It will make it into a special place for children, young people and residents and provide a safe outdoor space for exploring, socialising and having fun.

We have now finished a public consultation collecting the views of local residents. In addition to lots of verbal feedback at three public events we have also received over 40 written submissions. These are now under review.

Project Summary

At the moment the wooded area behind Rose Bowl is part of St Paul's Park and is open all the time. It provides a cut-through to the park from Scarba Walk. It is managed by Greenspace (the council parks department).

The idea is to merge the wood with Rose Bowl’s garden with the railing between the two areas being removed. The whole area would then be continuously maintained by Rose Bowl.

Access hours would be the same as Rose Bowl’s opening times.

New elements to the wood and garden will be designed and built by the young people of Rose Bowl with specialist qualified supervision. These could include climbing facilities, art installations, seating areas, a stage or gardening space. It might include a temporary structure that could be used as a learning or get-together space, a free wifi zone and seating, or a dozen other ideas.

The area could become a space suitable for community events though these would always end by 9pm and noise restrictions would be in place from 8pm.

Ultimately it is up to the children, young people and residents to decide what will work best.

We hope the proposal will reduce instances of anti-social behaviour in the area.

It is hoped the Wilderness project could be underway in time for summer 2018.

Whatever happens Rose Bowl will be continuing their partnership with Ramsey Flowers N1 to ensure the area is family and community friendly and free from rubbish dumping.

See below for more detailed version of the project.


The wood behind the Rose Bowl, currently managed by Greenspace

Detailed Project Overview

Islington Council Children's Services are keen to bring the wooded area behind Rose Bowl Youth Centre into it's enclosed area. The land is partially overgrown and suffers anti-social behaviour. A little-used public right of way runs through it. Making the land part of Rose Bowl would allow controlled use for the benefit of young people and residents.

The land is approximately 788m2 (in red), which would add significantly to the current garden space available, 250m2 (in blue).

Plans for the space

Rose Bowl is managed on behalf of the Council by Isledon Arts CIC. Following a consultation with Rose Bowl's Young Advisors team, visits to comparable sites and input from community garden and adventure play experts, Isledon prepared a report weighing up the options for a straightforward community garden, a themed area specifically designed for young people, or regeneration through architectural vision. The second emerged strongest – a themed wilderness, influenced by festivals and contemporary youth tastes, providing an exciting and innovative approach that does not currently exist elsewhere in Islington.

The Wilderness would offer areas for different activities and art spaces, free wifi and phone charging, with at its heart a flexible, covered and ideally circular room or structure to reflect young people’s interest in an inclusive group area. This might be informal, like a yurt or tepee, or something more substantial. The current woodland feel and the different levels of the land would be used to create a maze-like experience, with something new and interesting around every corner. The project has support from local charity Friends of the Rose Bowl

Project components

The idea needs three key elements to work: an ongoing revenue funding stream; capital funding for the initial works to fencing, services, landscaping and the structure; and agreement to the land transfer. Isledon have secured an ongoing contract from Children's Services under Recreation and Adventure for the development and continued funding of the project's activities. This will also enable further fundraising to take place. An application is being submitted for CIL funding for the major capital components. Isledon and the council are also reviewing the reponses from an extensive local consultation exercise in preparation for any request for the land transfer.

It would be for young people themselves to develop, build and change the space, and take a strong sense of ownership. Woodland Tribe, an adventure play organisation, have been recruited to help with this.

The space needs to appeal to residents in general and to both the 8-12 and 13-25 age ranges that Rose Bowl engages with. It will be designed with different identities for different times of day. During the afternoon the Wilderness feels welcoming and friendly, with play spaces for the younger age group, perhaps climbing areas raised up into the trees, dens and seating areas. In the evening the atmosphere changes to appeal more directly to the Rose Bowl’s older age group, with coloured lights illuminating the trees, wifi and charge points, perhaps a place to watch films.

At other times the space can hold classes, offer gardening opportunities, or just be a good space to sit and enjoy. Ramsey Flowers N1, a guerrilla gardening movement that meets weekly outside at Rose Bowl, is getting many residents active and engaged in improving the local environment and reducing examples of antisocial behaviour such as fly tipping. Key to the success of these initiatives is making the land a controlled space rather than open wasteland.

Some festival inspired ideas for the wood

wicker work temporary structures and hang out space?

festival themed night lighting for special events

Temporary art installations can be made from recycling

Woodland tribe working with young residents

woodland hanging art installations

grass roofed structures could act as a den

Space for growing salad and herbs?

Wicker entrance could act as a draw

Thank you to everyone to has given feedback. This is now under review by Isledon Arts and Islington Council.

Any queries please email