A weekly post to update you on what has happened in Poole Park over the last week, and what to expect this week.
The weekly update has been a touch delayed owing to developments on site, however we can now bring you up to date on the various improvements. Starting at the sluice channel, I am pleased to confirm that the new bridge has been installed. Last Friday CTS Bridges delivered the bridge in two sections of Fibre Reinforced Polymer (FRP), yesterday this was then carefully moved along the path to the channel. The two sections are bolted together and sat on a rubber bearing and the new concrete beams. Currently the bridge is actually quite under-whelming to look at as it is a simple deck; the railings will be installed this week and then the brick and stone piers can be re-built to full height. This will then give it a true setting and will provide a much clearer view of the channel either side, the workings of the the sluice gate and under the railway embankment. The bridge contract with Avon Construction should complete by the end of the month, the re-opening of the path will depend upon the works in the lagoon.
Photos, L-R: First section being lifted in to place, view from the sluice gate gantry of both sections; the leading edge of the deck sat on the concrete beam, this will be filled with concrete to provide a smooth join.
And the lagoon is also progressing well, despite the recent heavy winds and high rainfall (especially today!). Some of the plans for where islands are to be located and where sediment is to be dredged from have been altered to maximise the volumes of sediment that can practically be moved. The main features you can now see being created are:
- Two islands in the North east of the lagoon (nearest The Ark), these are slightly closer to the lagoon edge than originally planned because of such soft sediments further out. The islands are edged in two lines of material to hold the sediment at different levels, the inner area will be partly planted and partly covered in gravel to try and attract a wide variety of birds.
- The existing islands have been edged in ‘Nicospan’ to make them strong and they are being filled with sediment. The largest island ‘Brownsea’ will be left with low areas within it to act as a mini-wetland.
- On the southern side of the lagoon there are two old areas of reeds that have been improved and sediment built up.
- Instead of a single large promontory, there will now be two smaller features, again constructed this way owing to the exceptionally soft ground (when testing the ground a 3m long post almost completely disappeared when pushed in!). The two features will both have a bird screen on top looking towards a single large island. The deck and screen are being made from recycled plastic and should be robust and long lasting.
Photos L-R: In the North east corner of the lagoon, tall sections of plastic log pile holding back a fill of sediment, fronted by plastic ‘Z-piles’ to provide a marginal area to the island; new promontory has been created in stone boulders, with joiners constructing the walkway and raised deck area; detail of the ‘weathered oak’ finish of the recycled deck boards.
And work is progressing well around the freshwater lakes too. The coping stones above the gabion baskets are nearly finished and look fantastic, behind these will be a decorative resin-bonded gravel that will be fully accessible. Thoughts have turned to the planting of the large new island beds that have been created, there will be plenty of volunteer dates to come from April if you fancy getting involved.
Photos L-R: the large area of sediment on the freshwater lake bank is drying up nicely and around the edges nature is still having its way, with these daffodils forcing their way up through the mud; the Purbeck stone copings are in place on top of the gabion baskets and rock boulders placed to form the path edge; the mini-digger has a special grab attachment to lift the large blocks, which are bedded on mortar and knocked in to place.
What is happening next?
- Next to the small play area by the lakes the surfacing will be improved with an area of bark mulch under the two trees, helping to improve the growing conditions and remove muddy puddles; 3 new picnic benches to be installed with a new shingle surface; and a path gravel edge to the lake giving access to the stepping stones.
- Behind the coping stones on the lake edge the levels will be increased in preparation for the new surface.
- In the lagoon work will continue to fill the islands and set out the new features, all the while creating a bigger area of deep water.
- The finishing touches to the sluice bridge will be made.
The overall work programme is on track, the sluice bridge contract will complete by the end of March; work with large plant and machinery in the lakes and lagoon will complete by the end of March, with landscaping and planting to complete through April, as per the contract programme. Both contracts are on budget. the path along the railway line will be opened as soon as possible, as will areas around the freshwater lakes.