ROLE: Concept to Completion
LOCATION: Morden Hall Park, London Borough of Merton
CLIENT: National Trust
Background & Objectives:
Design Morden Hall Park is 42 hectares of open space in the London Borough of Merton, home to historic manor houses, parkland and a National Trust managed wetlands. Groundwork London was commissioned by the National Trust to develop and oversee the implementation of a new public boardwalk within the wetlands, in the northern section of the park. The boardwalk was designed to complement the natural environment and to improve public access to the wetlands for recreation and education.
The route was chosen to allow visitors to experience the variety of natural habitats within the wetland, from areas of open water through reed beds into scrub and woodland. Walkers following the boardwalk explore semi-enclosed areas of high vegetation and emerge into open spaces with far reaching views. The wetland was dominated by reeds, rushes and sedges. To increase the diversity of natural habitats, we created new scrapes (strips of shallow water) which help open up views across the wetlands and create a more diverse habitat, with varied vegetation and water levels. Innovation Groundwork London has worked closely with the National Trust, the Environment Agency and the London Borough of Merton to ensure that the boardwalk design and associated works respect the park’s heritage, protect existing wildlife and contribute to managing flood risk in the local area. The boardwalk was constructed using driven hardwood piles, which are visually sympathetic to the natural and historic environment. The building of a new ‘dipping platform’ has given school children the opportunity to learn more about the wetland habitat and wildlife.
These improvements are part of the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) supported Living Wandle project, delivering landscape improvements along the whole length of the River Wandle. This programme of works, including the new boardwalk, aims to contribute to the creation of a healthy and multi-functional landscape with opportunities to involve local people in the rich heritage, culture, landscape and biodiversity of the Wandle Valley.