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Multi-functional scheme improves habitat in local park and nature reserve within the Solihull Borough Tudor Grange & Hillfield Park Multi-Functional Scheme

2 month time frame
Environmental Developments

As part of ongoing environmental developments in the Solihull Borough, this multi-functional scheme was designed to improve habitat in two locations across the Solihull Borough, Tudor Grange and Hillfield Park. The scheme was match funded through ERDF and the small habitats grant (SHG).

The two sites have become much-loved amenity spaces for the local community, however were classed as being low ecological value and required significant improvements. Overtime, the parks two main ponds had accumulated significant amounts silt, causing stagnation and depleting oxygen levels. In addition, the adjoining brooks had been historically straightened and concrete lined, further deteriorating the area. The works carried out by Ebsford will provide multiple benefits including, biodiversity enhancements, diversifying hydrogeomorphology and improving the connection between green and blue infrastructure.

The first part of the project consisted of dredging the lake at Tudor Grange using a silt pusher and amphibious excavator. The Nicospan receptor was then installed, providing high-quality and economical erosion control, providing protection to the banks. Coir rolls were used to line the banks, so in future a vegetated bank will form, and wildlife can flourish.

The site team then started works at Hillfield Park, which involved desilting of the lake and relocation into the receptors. This increases the water capacity of the pond, providing enhancement to the aesthetic value of the park. Daylighting tree works were then carried out across the watercourse and the removal of concrete across various inlets that feed into the lake. Spilsbury croft, at the north of the site, was widened and re-meandered to the existing channel, connecting it to the paleo-channel, allowing it to act as a floodplain and create a free-flowing, sinuous channel for natural river processes to occur and offline ponds to act as water storage.

Aside from providing greater opportunities for local plant, fish, bird, and invertebrate species to grow, further environmental benefits of the works include an increase in overall water capacity, which will reduce the risk of flooding.

Following completion of the main works, wildflower planting of all areas took place with a few helpers from the local community, including the Friends of Hillfield Park and a local ECO-club from Monkspath School. Key plants that have been introduced to the park include Marsh Marigold, Lesser Spearwort, and flowering rush, which will provide more marginal wetland habitat, helping improve the park’s natural biodiversity.

Solihull council were pleased with the results and the real improvements being made across the borough. “The park and lake, both at Tudor Grange and Hillfield Local Nature Reserve are looking great. The works untaken were done swiftly and the minimum of disruption to park users. The environmental benefits for the work are well recognised by local residents and people who use the parks and I thank all at Ebsford for their commitment to our borough. The work involving the local community and school in planting aquatic plants was the icing on the cake.” Ken Hawkins, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Environment and Infrastructure.


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