Ahead of the WMN’s first Countryside Awards on September 11, Athwenna Irons takes a look at the candidates in the title of Best Landscape Project.
The Conservation Volunteers
The Conservation Volunteers have been reclaiming green places since 1959 and helping thousands of people each year to reclaim local green places. Through their environmental projects and network of 2,000 community groups, more and more are taking responsibility for their own local environments.
TCV have worked tirelessly to restore mire and blanket bog habitat in the upland moors of Exford, in the Exmoor National Park.
Working in partnership with South West Water and the National Trust, a team of volunteers worked from January to April of this year to restore the blanket bog habitat, classified as rare and home to a huge variety of insects, plants, mammals and bird life.
In a challenging environment with irregular weather patterns, TCV used timber panel block constructions to create ponds, designed to overfill and spill across onto the pasture to help recreate the natural wet, boggy mire conditions.
The benefits of the Exford project and others like it are also extending outwards to the volunteers who gain essential team building skills, whilst learning about wildlife conservation and the issues facing bog habitats.
The Lanhydrock Estate
The project at the Lanhydrock Estate was undertaken by CORMAC for the National Trust.
Running from early February to late March, the project displayed sustainable working practices, a reduced impact on the local environment and a reduced carbon footprint, as much of the waste materials were recycled.
The aim of the hard and soft landscaping, which included the construction of car parks, removal, rebuilding and extending of Cornish hedges and the planning and resurfacing of park areas, was to provide grass areas for visitors to the Lanhydrock Estate.
Regular feedback sessions were held with Cornwall Council and The National Trust during the project, and the liaison with a dedicated on-site contact was fundamental to ensuring any changes in the local conservation and environment were responded to quickly.
The work was delivered on budget and on time, and ensured where possible any waste materials were able to be re-used in the project or on other National Trust sites. This included excavated top soil being re-used onsite and vegetation and trees which were reprocessed (chipped and logged) and used on nearby National Trust land.
Keirin Richard, from Portreath, has single handedly transformed a barren field into a thriving holiday resort, in less than 12 months.
Within six months, the 23-year-old father had designed, ordered and planted more than 2,500 plants, of 60 different species and 130 trees to accompany the 15 holiday cottages on the 4.6 acre site.
Keirin, who gained a degree in land and garden design from Cornwall College in Camborne in 2011, was secretly nominated for his hard work by Natalie Martin, project manager at North Coast Holiday Cottages, who own the land. She said: “We never dreamt he would work so hard or produce something so fantastic.
“He is extremely talented and you can tell he has a real passion and drive for what he does. He is such an asset to us and I am very proud of him.”
Keirin manages the gardens on a daily basis and keeps a selection of chickens, ducks and geese on the land. He is also a keen user of social media, and has set up his own blog to share his creations with others across the county and beyond.