A weekly post to update you on what has happened in Poole Park over the last week, and what to expect this week. Around the edges of the freshwater lakes the gabion baskets have been back-filled with concrete, within a liner to prevent it mixing with the water. This provides a stable edge which the new surfacing can be laid upon, with Purbeck stone copings to be laid to the edge. The new planting beds are nearly constructed, using the existing large blocks of stone as edging and soil reclaimed from the rose garden used to bring the beds up to the right level. Fresh top soil will be imported to ‘blind-over’ and provide a really good planting medium. Planting will take place from late March/early April, with plenty of volunteering opportunities to help with the planting.

In the lagoon work continues to move the sediment to new locations which now include the formation of new islands in the north-east corner, near to middle gate car park. This area of the lagoon will act as a wildlife zone, where we limit the use by the water sports, with a range of island features that hopefully attract different birds. The islands are constructed in two outer layers to hold the sediment, the first is a grey plastic Z-shaped pile that is driven in to the mud and will be below the water line, the second line is a plastic wood-effect pile that is supported on long timber stakes. Being above the water line it needed to look nicer and in time marginal plants should establish between them to provide a natural edge.

Being close to The Ark and car parks where people traditionally feed the birds, the islands will become a key point in engaging people with nature, understanding the interesting and specialist creatures that live in the mud and to provide advice on what to feed birds and what you might see at different times of year. The lagoon being drained continues to attract large numbers of interesting bird species, and you can read more on these and welfare of the swans in the drained lagoon here on an article by the Birds of Poole Harbour website, which along with their social media pages is a great way to keep up to date (Facebook, Twitter).

On the far side of the lagoon near to the railway line the plans have changed slightly owing to the extremely soft sediments in this area. The intention was to mirror the wildlife zone in the north-east corner, with 2 new islands, a floating island and a large promontory that has a bird screen. However, we will now be constructing two smaller promontories, both with bird screens on, and a single, larger island just off-shore. This is a practical solution to the challenges the lagoon is creating for construction, but will still deliver the key benefits of bringing people closer to nature and providing a greater variety of habitats.

What is happening this week?

  • The new bridge over the sluice channel will be delivered late in the week! The bridge will be delivered in two sections, carefully swung in to place on the new concrete beams and bolted together and in to place. Work will then take another couple of weeks to install parapet railings on the bridge, on the banks either side and new surfacing on the approaches.
  • Landscaping around the freshwater lakes continues, with the new beds finalised, removal of existing planting next to Whitecliff road and preparing to install the coping stones on the lake edge.
  • In the lagoon, the new islands will be set out and constructed, as will the promontories on the southern edge. The existing islands are nearly finished and up to new height, with new edges.

Finally, for another opportunity to hear details about the works taking place on Poole Park’s lakes and lagoon a talk will be held at Parkstone Library on Wednesday 13th March, 11am to noon. This is a free event, bookings only. Contact Parkstone Library, Tel: 01202 262449 or Email: libraries@poole.gov.uk. Thank-you. Read more on the background to the sluice bridge here, and the lakes and lagoon works here.

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