Sandford Farm Country Park

Overview

Ecosulis has provided ecological consulting and habitat creation expertise to housebuilding company Taylor Wimpey West London on their site in Woodley (near Reading) since 2011. As part of the early engagement, Ecosulis were involved in the planning application, assisted with site design, and wrote the Strategic Landscape and Ecological Management Plan (LEMP) for Taylor Wimpey’s Section 106 application. Part of the plan involved the restoration of 6 hectares of degraded parkland – Sandford Farm Country Park – located on an island between Old River and the River Loddon, which both flow into the River Thames. The habitat on the island is a mixture of wetland, meadow and woodland, with part of the island flooding during the winter and periods of extended rainfall.

Project brief

In 2016, Ecosulis was commissioned to begin Phase 1 of the Sandford Farm Country Park restoration work, which included the clearance of vegetation to create woodland rides and footpaths through the existing wood. Phase 2 of the work itself began in 2018, which included the creation of natural flood management features such as ditches and wetland scrapes, as well as the installation of boardwalks, bird hides and fencing. The overall aim of the project, which was completed on time and within budget, was to significantly enhance the nature of the site and make it more accessible for the local residents, while ensuring the client achieved value for money.

YEAR

2016-2019

Impact

manage Biodiversity

Local wild nature is now thriving, with a diverse range of wildlife species attracted to the site.

Protect Habitats

The park’s mixed habitats have been restored and will continue to develop as natural processes shape the site.

empower-us-to-act People

Local residents and visitors can reconnect with and learn about nature in the park, enhancing their health and wellbeing.

How we added value.

Habitat restoration

Between 2016 and 2018 Ecosulis enhanced the mixed habitat of Sandford Farm Country Park through a variety of measures, creating opportunities for local wildlife and nature to flourish. Vegetation was cleared, ditches created, 6000 trees planted and 35,000 square metres of wildflower meadow planted. A number of wetland scrapes were also created to attract insects and birds. Further to these enhancements, Ecosulis have continued to support Taylor Wimpey with ongoing work to control invasive species such as Himalayan balsam along the Old River.

Enhanced biodiversity

The restoration and enhancement habitat at Sandford Farm Country Park has already started to benefit local wildlife. By increasing the number of potential hibernation areas, providing access to wetlands and lower lying areas that hold water for longer periods of time and adding wildflower areas, the restoration has boosted biodiversity of the site, with a dramatic increase in the number of insects, birds and mamals recorded. Iconic species include the reed bunting, reed warbler, barn owl, common snipe, grass snake and stag beetle. 

Reconnecting people with nature

Time spent in wild nature is vital to human health and wellbeing. The restoration of Sandford Farm Country Park has created a vibrant and biodiverse green space in which local residents and visitors can experience such nature. The site’s boardwalks, paths, benches, bird hides and interpretation boards combine to provide people with an enriching and educational experience.

Want to learn more about rewilding and nature recovery?

Read more insights or explore our previous work.