Rethinking an urban park

This project will test innovative, nature based approaches in Central Park, Plymouth’s largest park focusing on delivery of sustainable drainage solutions in the Central Park Flow project and a treescape for the future.

Central Park Pond Project

Central Park Pond Project aims to transform water from a problem into a resource. We will re-landscape an area of the park to provide a nature based solution which both manages surface water flooding and provides a space for wildlife and people.

Addressing existing drainage issues…

At present, defunct park drainage and a small pond provide little means of retaining or managing water, resulting in localised flooding that affects access during times of heavy rainfall, which is compounded by steep landform and poor ground conditions. Additionally, runoff from the park contributes to flooding downstream and puts pressure on the city’s combined sewer overflow, which is already overburdened.

Through enhancing wildlife and amenity value

Our solution is a series of connected swales and ponds to capture and store rainwater both now and in the future when climate change predictions show increased rainfall. We will repurpose heritage drainage features to slow the flow of water and convey it to the ponds, which will be lined to create permanent water bodies. Additional planting will increase biodiversity by 24%, providing natural carbon storage and rainwater capture. New seating, viewpoints and interpretation will allow people to get closer to nature and learn about the benefits of water and there will be opportunities for the community to be involved in delivery of the scheme.

Treescape for the Future: conserve, engage, future proof

Central Park is home to 1000s of trees, which include a diverse mix of native and non-native species, including veteran, remarkable and champion trees. Recent weather has had a significant impact resulting in visible gaps in the park landscape and the stock is threatened further by diseases like Ash dieback.

In response to this, the Treescape for the Future will develop a whole park strategy for trees in Central Park in a way which celebrates their social and environmental value and inspires and supports communities to work together with the Council to care for them.

Action 1 - Conserve

The project will rethink management practices to protect existing tree stock and identify opportunities for restoration, particularly around the hedgerows, woodland and orchard.

Action 2 - Engage

Providing opportunities to interact with trees and learn about their shared benefits and differences. Pounds Park- which features a fantastic mix of specimen trees- will be a key area, as will the avenue of elm trees in the south of the park, known to support white-letter hairstreak butterflies (a UK priority species). People will have the opportunity to learn about the unique relationships that can form between wildlife and trees and take part in conservation action.

Action 3 – Future proof

Now is the time to plant new trees and replace trees that have been lost, while establishing better management practices for a future in a changing climate. Pounds Park provides opportunities to plant trees to enhance the specimen tree stock and address localised drainage issues. Encouraging succession in the woods will be another important strand, as will working together with the community to identify new sites for planting, for the benefit of trees, people and wildlife.

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