SCHOOLCHILDREN will be able to have a first hand experience of the great outdoors as a new classroom is to be built in Crane Park.
The park, which spans the boundaries of Richmond and Hounslow boroughs, has just received a boost of £400,000 from the Mayor of London's Priority Parks fund, for a number of new features to be created.
The innovative outdoor teaching space will include tables and benches made from hard wearing wood that will be available to schools throughout the year. During the weekends, the classroom will double as a family picnic area.
Member for the environment for Hounslow council, councillor Corinna Smart, said: "We're all excited by this proposal, and it will hopefully become a fantastic resource to be used by school students and families alike. One of the greatest assets of living in this part of West London is the marriage between city areas and green areas, and this proposal seeks to maximise the park's natural wonder for both education and recreation. "
There will also be a substantial amount of landscaping and horticultural improvements undertaken, including the introduction of stag beetle loggeries, wildlife sculptures and specially created wildlife habitats.
A circular path around the site on both sides of the river will be built to link communities in the two boroughs.
Cabinet member for environment and planning at Richmond council, councillor Virginia Morris, said: "The classroom will be one of a number of new features in Crane Park to draw people in to watch and feel the excitement of nature in action. I'm confident that when all the work is finished, Crane Park will become an exciting day out for families, which can also be enjoyed by dog walkers and ramblers alike."
Initial plans for a bridge over the River Crane have been scrapped following a consultation with residents, and that money will now be spent on new features and improvements.
Crane Park was one of 10 public parks in the capital which received money from the Mayor's Help a London Park programme.
Improvement works are expected to be finished by early 2012.