Commission for the Woodland Walk Interactive Trail in Alder Hey in the Park

Commission for the Woodland Walk Interactive Trail in Alder Hey in the Park

Alder Hey Children’s Hospital

Alder Hey Children’s Hospital recently moved into an award-winning brand new hospital, Alder Hey in the Park. It is the first in Europe to be built within a park and is a truly world-class, patient-friendly hospital. Every year it treats more than 270,000 patients and is globally recognised for excellence in children’s healthcare.

Springfield Park, East Liverpool.

Alder Hey is the first paediatric hospital in Europe to be built in a park, developed and opened in 2015. We have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to capitalise on our natural environment and empower our local community to interact with nature to improve their health, wellbeing, quality of life and provide opportunities for lifelong learning. Through the development and use of an inclusive green space, Alder Hey aims to inspire healthcare providers across the world to change behaviours and offer new solutions for healthy cities.

Springfield Park, Knotty Ash, where Alder Hey is situated, is currently an underused, neglected urban greenspace in a highly deprived area in one of the top five unhealthiest local authorities with many marginalised groups. With our large local community, Alder Hey Children’s Hospital identified a need and opportunity to create a new higher specification park to support the health and wellbeing of the local community. Extensive research shows that access to nature greatly improves health outcomes, including reducing blood pressure and helping to combat depression.

Within the park there is an area of woodland with a rich biodiversity, including heritage species, which has recently welcomed a Forest School. We want to develop this area with an interactive trail that is free to enter, safe, accessible to people with mobility issues, disabilities and visual impairments and incorporates informative interpretation. We hope to encourage excluded and hard-to-reach groups to engage with and enjoy the natural environment around them, to promote their health, wellbeing and lifelong learning.

Location- Woodland Walk, Springfield Park


To create an interactive trail in a public park for use by the general public, schools, patients, staff and visitors to Alder Hey Children’s hospital.


To design, provide the material for, create physical signage and implement a multi-sensory nature trail that will engage the local community as well as previously excluded and hard-to-reach groups in an under-used woodland area; including people with disabilities, mobility issues, visually impaired people and patients from Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.


The Park Development Team is looking for an outstanding artist/designer with a proven track record of high quality commissions to design an interactive trail which is embraced by young people and the wider community. The trail is approximately 205 metres in length (see map below) and a Forest School is located at the site.

Please send your expressions of interest electronically to Rachel Clint, Park Project Coordinator, Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust: by 22nd June. In the first instance we would like to receive an expression of interest with a specification plan, up to 12 images that represent your work, your CV and a statement of your approach.  Shortlisted candidates may then be asked to produce a design development brief. The fee for this commission in total is £19 500 for the design of the interpretation trail, graphics and the physical signage. This is inclusive of all materials, travel, delivery,  VAT and other costs. A breakdown of costings and more details can be seen below.

Completion date and installation: September 2018


  • Any signage must include the Veolia logo, our source of funding. Some signage is held at the Trust
    • Illustrations/ graphics and text explaining species and points of interest in a woodland area. Aspects of the local ecology  and edible planting will be identified collaboratively alongside the Lancashire Wildlife Trust
    • Learning opportunities for range of ages
    • Potential design links to Knotty Ash Primary School with trail design
    • Links to well-being/healthy living
    • Family friendly
    • DDA compliant- accessible to wheelchair and pram users and those with mobility problems
    • Creative, there will be 15 signs in total
    • Contemporary
    • Sustainable-robust, long lifespan and low maintenance
    • Unity between hospital landscape and park
    • Raise awareness of the environment and its value through lifelong learning, enabling our community to engage with the natural habitat
    • Develops innovative educational interpretation that encourages exercise and improves physical and mental health and well-being
    • Multisensory- scent boxes could form part of the trail, braille (can collaborate with local school)
    • QR codes will enable learning and interactive opportunities to exist, perhaps even encouraging some exercise/ games and feedback/ monitoring of usage this is part of the design brief. Augmented reality implementation planned in future

The budget for the design, graphics and setting of 15 signs for an interpretation trail is £7500 inclusive of VAT (£500 VAT inclusive per sign). The budget for the physical signage is £12 000 inclusive of VAT (£800 VAT inclusive per sign); ideally both design and physical signage can be completed together



Any signage must include the Veolia logo, our source of funding. Some signage is held at the Trust.

Identification and planting of species will be supported by the Lancashire Wildlife Trust, assisting in information to support the design process of the trail.


DDA compliancy- accessible to wheelchair and pram users and those with mobility problems

Sustainability- maintenance, vandalism, fixed points


  • Outdoor learning
    • Engagement with natural environment


  • Leisure


Who will benefit from this project, and how will they?

Our project will benefit a range of people in Knotty Ash, Liverpool; a highly-deprived area and one of the top five unhealthiest local authorities with many excluded and hard-to-reach groups.

Access to nature greatly improves health outcomes, with a DDA-compliant path, wheelchair and pram users, people with mobility conditions, the elderly and patients of Alder Hey with complex conditions, will benefit from our project. Braille interpretation, developed with St Vincent’s School for Sensory Impairments, will ensure people with visual impairments benefit.

Forest schools and interpretation will engage and educate children and school pupils. Free to enter and open 24 hours daily, our project will enable families of all income levels to access and enjoy the environment.

Alder Hey and Lancashire Wildlife Trust volunteers will benefit by preparing the woodland, installing the path and interpretation and running guided walks.

Groups that currently use the amenity

The Woodland Walk has been created in Springfield Park, which is used by a wide range of people including, local residents, staff, patients and families of Alder Hey, dog walkers and some young people. The park is one of only two parks that meet the Trans Pennine Trail route 62 cycle path; making it highly accessible.

While the park is used, it is in need of improvement and development to create a safer, more accessible and engaging environment, which will in turn encourage wider use. We know access to green space has a transformative impact on health and wellbeing, and we want to ensure current groups continue to benefit from Springfield Park through The Woodland Walk, whilst encouraging new and harder-to-reach groups.

Through the innovative interpretation trail we will be offering an exciting new interactive experience that will help transform the amenity into a destination area and encourage interaction with, care of and learning about the natural environment.

Who will use the amenity on completion of the project?

Current and new/returning users

Groups that have expressed an interest in using the amenity

We want to create a Woodland Walk that transforms Springfield Park into a safer, more accessible and engaging environment that encourages new groups to access the space.

Sandfield Park SEN School, St Vincent’s School for the Visually Impaired, Lister Drive School, East Prescott Road Nursery, Alder Hey Nursery, St Margaret Mary’s, Blueberry Primary and Youth Charity ‘Priority Youth’ have expressed an interest in using The Woodland Walk. The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award delivery centres and Everton FC Community Team want to use the amenity to support youth volunteering and citizenship.

Many other groups have expressed interest in using The Woodland Walk, including wheelchair and pram users, residents with mobility issues, patients of Alder Hey and the elderly.

A general consensus is felt within the community that the woodland has previously been an unwelcoming and intimidating area to enter and experience, and all members are keen to enjoy the area.

How will we encourage new users including hard to reach groups?

Inclusion, equality, and diversity are deeply embedded in Alder Hey Children’s Hospital’s culture, and these values will be reflected in the development of the Woodland Walk and interactive trail.

The new interpretation trail will offer an innovative, interactive and educational experience, enhancing the park visit for all including those with additional needs.

We will promote The Woodland Walk widely to local schools and community groups to encourage access, through public signage in the park and a targeted marketing campaign.