The Wilderness

The restoration of an early twentieth century wilderness landscape.

MHA Care Group


with TerraFirma Landscape Architecture

2016 – 2021

Created by the Reverend Wilks (famous for, amongst other things, the selective breeding of the Shirley poppy) from 1912 where he worked with the land he found, planting it sympathetically and experimentally.

A mixture of woodland, bog and acid grassland, he embellished what he found with sympathetic informal planting placed within the grass. He adopted the minimum of intervention with no formed paths, only mown grass and woodland tracks. It was vastly ahead of its time.

The restoration of this landscape, now attached to a new care home, is giving an opportunity to explore landscapes’ capacity to increase the wellbeing of the care home residents. Providing for their accessibility needs is paramount. Redefining their interaction with this wild landscape – as opposed to a more formal, traditional care home garden – helps to make a more positive contribution to their long term health.