Part-funded by European Regional Development Fund
Photographs chronologically cataloguing the work at the Grange Field can be viewed via this link: The Grange Field project photos.
Our main priority in the coming weeks is the planting of up to 60 trees over the site. Substantially sized species of Alder, Hazel, Oak, Birch and Field Maple will be planted and we are also looking to include Walnut, Cherry and Plums.
The sowing of the wildflower meadow will follow this in late autumn. In addition; bulbs of native Bluebell, Wood Anemone, Snowdrop, Snake’s Head Fritillary and Wild Garlic are planned over the next few years (to coincide with their best planting time).
As you are probably aware; the construction phase has essentially been completed. There are a few areas that need continued fine tuning and we will be monitoring the watercourse to see how it reacts and stabilises. We are also awaiting some solid hardwood benches and stone boulders for the entrance boundary.
One point we may not have focused on enough is that this approach, to the remedying of the failing watercourse, is actually far better value when compared to a traditional solution of concrete and gabion baskets. Not only does it offer better value for money, it provides significant multiple benefits in the way of surface water flood risk, biodiversity, water quality and amenity. It also provides for less onerous and costly future maintenance requirements due to much easier access and monitoring.
Finally, as we’ve said all along; even though the main works have been completed, the land may look fairly untidy until we establish the planting and it finds a subsequent balance. Using ecological principles to work with nature, we are aiming to provide diverse, interesting and sustainable results.
We do ask for your continued patience, as it is unrealistic to expect plants to fully develop enough to flower in their first summer. The early years of a meadow (years 2 - 3 from sowing) are characterised by more rapidly establishing plants and the growth can be vigorous. In following years the meadow will become more diverse, as slower establishing species appear and growth becomes less vigorous as nutrients become settled.
Firstly, thank you for the overwhelmingly positive comments we have received. As you may know; in order to prevent the condition of the watercourse deteriorating, the most effective option is to divert it into the Grange Field away from adjacent properties.
Hopefully this link to the drawings and visualisations (pdf, 10.4 MB) conveys more clearly the enhancements we are trying to achieve.
This design has the ability to bring significant benefits - reducing flood risk, increasing biodiversity, improving water quality and generally enhance the local area. It will better serve the community as a whole and will also reduce the council’s on-going management liabilities. This is due to easier access and needing comparatively fewer costly maintenance operations. The potential environmental benefits will also allow for further grant bids to be submitted - hopefully bringing additional funds to Bishop’s Cleeve.
However, there are a number of constraints we have to accommodate. Not least of which is the Wildlife and Countryside Act and the Protection of Badgers Act. This dictates when we can get on site and how we work. Provisionally we are looking at conducting further survey work in July 2018, culminating in enabling work in August and September (outside of the bird nesting season). It is anticipated the majority of the works will be finished by the end of 2018.
As we are enhancing the area, certain elements such as seeding and planting will understandably be on-going. For instance; it will take a few seasons to fully establish the planting regime. It will be dependent on how successfully seeds germinate and the planting establishes (and our unpredictable weather). Therefore, even after the main works have been completed, the land may look fairly bare in patches until everything starts to establish and find a balance.
We believe that this is an exciting opportunity to create an enhanced and inclusive public open space which will be seen as an important local resource, improving the quality of life for both people and wildlife.
Your continued help and support with the project is very much appreciated.