Seeing the wood for the trees in Derby

Derby’s historic Market Place will be transformed into a woodland wonderland this summer, creating a new al-fresco dining and outdoor events space in the heart of the city centre.

From 25 June, Derby’s Market Place will become a green oasis with up to 125 trees and around 300 shrubs forming the pop-up woodland, one of four Urban Forests in the UK this summer, and the only one in the East Midlands.

As well as bringing nature right into the heart of Derby, the city centre forest will feature a clearing with picnic benches for al-fresco dining, which can also be used as a performance area, with a stage, for special summer events.

Derby’s Urban Forest not only raises awareness of climate change and increases biodiversity but is also part of the city’s plans to breathe new life into the city centre as it bounces back from the pandemic.

Colourful new street canopies, cutting edge ‘son et lumière’ projections and eye-catching street art are planned for Derby, or are already being staged.

All are aimed at making the city centre not only a destination of choice for shopping and dining, but also a thriving base for entertainment, street performances and events.

The ‘greening’ of the Market Place – a central hub for centuries – follows the city winning praise for is innovative transformation of the square into a Covid-safe summer al fresco meeting-and-eating venue and an autumn outdoor, and indoor, events space during the pandemic.

Derby’s fledgling forest will also last longer than its summer stay.

Free to access, the Urban Forest will be in place until Saturday 29 August and then the trees and shrubs will be re-planted in a city park to recapture the design as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy project, a tree planting initiative across the UK for the Platinum Jubilee.

Information about events taking place in the Urban Forest will be available at

For tourist information about Derby, see

Photo: This urban forest was created at Somerset House in London (image: Scotscape).