Finberry Ashford Kent
Back in January 2014 and after a very wet winter we began the landscaping works for the first phase of a major housing development on the outskirts of Ashford in Kent. Formerly known as Cheeseman’s Green, we commenced the major earth works by transforming what was previously a farmer’s field and setting the soil profiles for the ornamental lakes and park areas. Our works involved creating four ornamental lakes, the planting of 200 trees,1km of hedging and soft landscaping for the Marketing Suite.
By March of that year, the installation of the trees had commenced and the banks created for the lakes, along with the installation of a 60cm girth, 10 metres high pin Oak tree (Quercus palustris) within the development's marketing suite area.
By May we finally managed to get the marketing suite landscaping completed in time for the May Bank Holiday official opening. Additionally we commenced seeding the several acres of meadow and installing the lakes.
The most effective way to achieve the installation of the lakes, given the absence of natural clay, is to use a 1mm low density polyethylene liner sandwiched between geotextile (300 g/m2 needle punched non-woven). This liner is then welded with a twin hot shoe welder, creating two water tight welds per joint.
To create a natural looking habitat within the lakes we buried the liner with 300mm of low nutrient soil, not only protecting the liner, but also improving the aesthetics of the lake.
It is not just what you see above ground in establishing the lakes; it is what goes on below ground and around the lakes to ensure the bio-diversity is protected and the provision of overflows, water top up, and putting measures in place for the mitigation of lake erosion.
Alongside the installation of the lakes we built a Pavilion; construction of which took place at our Edenbridge nursery.
Bilham Farm Newt and Reptile Mitigation Area Landscape
Along with continuing to maintain our installation we have these past two years been constructing and landscaping the Bilham Farm Newt and Reptile Mitigation Area. There is a need to provide a habitat for great crested newts and reptiles which will be displaced by future phases of the development. The Mitigation Area occupies a plot of land approximately 3.6 ha in area and was arable field. The existing Bilham Pond was present in the south west corner of the Mitigation Area, surrounded by bramble and mature white willows and recently we dredged the pond and cleared the area around it.
The installation has taken time due to the seasonal nature of the Newts hibernation and their protection; therefore we are unable to carry out our works. In addition to the original Bilham Pond we have created a further five ponds, one having a bridge and a walkway structure over it which we have constructed.
We are still creating the environment for the Newts hence the fenced protection area on site and when the works are complete the Newts will be released to their new grounds.