The Living Rainforest

The Living Rainforest is an indoor greenhouse tropical rainforest located in Hampstead Norreys in Berkshire, England. It is an ecological centre, educational centre and visitor attraction consisting of three glasshouses, operated and run by the Trust for Sustainable Living.[5] The glasshouses are named Amazonica, Lowlands and Small Islands respectively.

The Living Rainforest
Date opened1993
LocationHampstead Norreys, Newbury, Berkshire, England
Coordinates51°28′52.69″N 1°13′14.79″W
Land area1000 square metres
Annual visitors95,000[1]
MembershipsBIAZA,[2] BGCI[3]
Major exhibitsAmazon Aquarium, Armadillo, Bromeliads, Fischer's Turaco, Goeldi’s Monkeys, Orchids, Pygmy Marmosets, Snakes, Toucan, Small Islands, Sustainable Futures[4]
Websitelivingrainforest.org

The Living Rainforest has been accredited by the Council for Learning Outside of the Classroom[6] and awarded the LOtC Quality Badge.[7] Each year around 25,000 children visit the Living Rainforest as part of their school's curriculum.

History

The site was once an orchid nursery called Wyld Court Orchids[8] who were well known for their collection of rare and beautiful natural orchid species, especially Cymbidiums and Lycastes. Wyld Court Orchids received considerable recognition from the R.H.S. including a distinction of Grand Champion Hybrid and Best in Show for a home-raised seedling at the British Orchid Council Congress Show. The privately owned ‘Wyld Court Rainforest’ was created in 1991 by philanthropist Keith Bromley (former chairman of the shoe retailer Russell and Bromley) and horticulturalist Barry Findon. Keith Bromley said he was inspired to create Wyld Court Rainforest after sailing in the Orinoco delta in Venezuela in the 1980s. It first opened to the public in April 1993 as a rainforest visitor centre. They donated the facility to the World Land Trust in 1996.[9] On 30 June 2000, ownership of Wyld Court Rainforest Ltd transferred from the World Land Trust to a new company[10] "The Living Rainforest", and has been operated by Karl Hansen as an independent educational charity since July 2000.[11] The centre is home to over 700 plants and animals including rare and endangered species of global conservation value.

Attractions

The visitor attraction consists of three glass houses that adjoin each other; the flora and fauna in each glass house are representative of different layers or areas of tropical rainforests. The rainforest layers represented in the Amazonica and Lowlands glasshouses include the canopy, understory and forest floor layers. The Small Islands glasshouse exhibits shows life at the edge of an island rainforest, the exhibits in this glasshouse are being developed to highlight the issues and concerns faced by Small Island Developing States (SIDS) throughout the world.

The Human Impact Building[12] opened in 2006 incorporating sustainable materials, Low Embodied Energy, passive/natural ventilation, passive solar gain and a small photovoltaic solar array.

There is also a gift shop, cafe, outdoor adventure themed children’s playground and picnic area with a rainforest theme.

Exhibits

  • Littoral Zone project completed in October 2018 saw the introduction of plants in Small Islands often found at or just above the high water mark, these together with the mangroves exhibit represent the Littoral Zone
  • Bromeliads exhibit was introduced in August 2018, the concept of the exhibit is bromeliads growing on or around a fallen tree
  • Toucan exhibit was rebuilt in July 2018, it is home to a Channel-billed toucan (Ramphastos vitellinus) and a male Azara’s Agouti (Dasyprocta azarae)
  • Sustainable Futures exhibit was opened in January 2018, consists of interactive displays that include a look at Climate Drawdown
  • Snakes exhibit was rebuilt in February 2017, it is home to – two Emerald Tree Boas (Corallus caninus), a Green Tree Python (Morelia viridis) and a Carpet Python (Morelia spilota)
  • Small Islands exhibit was built in August 2016, it is home to a Green Iguana, mudskippers, various tropical fish and mangroves
  • Armadillo exhibit was built in 2014, it is home to a Six-banded armadillo (Euphractus sexinctus)
  • Goeldi's Monkeys exhibit was rebuilt and relocated in 2014, it is home to a troop of 5 Goeldi's monkeys (Callimico goeldii) and a male Azara's Agouti (Dasyprocta azarae)
  • Fischer's Turacao exhibit was built in 2010 and is home to a pair of Fischer's Turacaos

Animals

Plants

The Plant Collection at The Living Rainforest contains some of the most attractive species of the many tropical plant families such as bananas, bromeliads, calatheas, cinnamon, ficus, gingers, hoyas and orchids. However the highlights of the collection are the Aroids and the Philippine Jade Vine (seasonal). Plants of particular interest include;

References

  1. "Trustees Report". Companies House. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
  2. "BIAZA Find a Zoo". biaza.org.uk. British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Retrieved 9 February 2017.
  3. "BGCI Garden Search". bgci.org. Botanic Gardens Conservation International. Retrieved 8 February 2016.
  4. "Sustainable Futures". livingrainforest.org. The Living Rainforest. Retrieved 8 December 2018.
  5. "About The Trust". trustforsustainableliving.org. Trust for Sustainable Living. Retrieved 10 February 2019.
  6. "Learning Outside of the Classroom". Council for Learning Outside the Classroom. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  7. "LOtC Quality Badge". Council for Learning Outside of the Classroom. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  8. "Wyld Court Orchids". Quinta da Boa Vista Orchids. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  9. "Our History |World Land Trust". newburytoday.co.uk. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  10. "Our History |World Land Trust". worldlandtrust.org. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  11. "Our History | The Living Rainforest". The Living Rainforest. Retrieved 14 April 2011.
  12. "Human Impact Building". The Living Rainforest. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
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