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Historical Lakes transformed at top Yorkshire Attraction Cannon Hall Desilting and Enhancements to Georgian lakes

16 weeks

As part of a £3 million restoration project made possible by the generous support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Big Lottery Fund, Cannon Halls Parks for People project began with Ebsford Environmental desilting the parks historical Georgian lakes to improve the visitor experience and offer a further glimpse into Cannon Halls fascinating history.

The water restoration project was just part of Barnsley Councils vision to restore the museums parks and gardens to their former glory and minimise the impact on visitors and the local community during the works.  

Ebsford specified a low impact solution to sensitively remove the build-up of silt from the watercourse whilst protecting the historical features of the park and worked closely with ecologists to carry out investigations designed to protect any existing wildlife. Following these surveys Ebsford opened up the original vista with careful vegetation removal whilst protecting important specimen trees, which had grown in contrast to the original Georgian planting scheme then installed tree root protection across the site to protect those that remained ahead of desilting works. Removal of these trees immediately much improved the views, revealing uninterrupted glimpses of the lake from the Cannon Hall museum.

Ebsfords main focus was to make sensitive environmental enhancements to the area to improve the water quality and local biodiversity whilst retaining sediment where possible to reduce waste.

Using a mix of low impact machinery and in water technology, Nicospan barriers were installed to reshape and restore banks that had become eroded, creating an area for the silt removed from the lakes to be retained. 17355m3 of silt was removed from the watercourse and deposited behind 5872m of Nicospan or spread on the land resulting in zero waste sent to landfill. The nutrient rich content of the silt provided the ideal conditions for native aquatic planting, creating 5872 linear metres of new marginal habitats further improving the local biodiversity.

Cannon Hall welcomes a large number of visitors to its grounds every day and it has long been a treasured community attraction with groups such as the Friends of Cannon Hall investing a lot of time into maintaining the site, particularly this restoration project. The Parks for People team were keen to involve the community in this transformation particularly as the park remained open for the duration of the scheme. Ebsford were able to secure over 300 volunteer hours for local job seekers, community members and Barnsley Council employees. These volunteers who were looking for an opportunity to get involved with the project meet new people and share knowledge, greatly assisted us with fencing, faggot making and planting of the bank sides and were invited to be a part of the future monitoring and maintenance of the work we have done.

The scheme which focused on environmental enhancements and sediment retention has already much improved the water quality and local biodiversity whilst reducing the risk of future flooding. Surveys will continue into the future to monitor the conditions of the lakes assess the benefit of our work to local wildlife.


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