Summer bedding, Courtenay Park, Newton Abbot. BALI 2014 winner

Courtenay Park is one of 20 formal parks managed by Teignbridge District Council, and idverde UK (via its subsidiary company, Quadron Services) has been responsible for its maintenance since December 2010, when Quadron won the Council’s grounds maintenance contract.

This Victorian park has an area of 3.4ha and retains many of its original features. Situated opposite Newton Abbot’s railway station and just 700 metres from the bustling town centre, it is a smart town park with manicured horticultural features and specimen trees.

The community regards the park as a vital part of the town and it is one of the main recreational spaces. It offers a mix of facilities for local people of all ages, including a sensory garden, a pond and surrounding bog gardens, a play area, teen shelter, toilets, annual floral display beds and ample grassed areas on which to kick a ball or enjoy a picnic. There is also a bowling green within the park, but this is maintained by a third party contractor.

Courtenay Park is one of Teignbridge’s most diversely planted parks. It contains shrub beds, seasonal bedding displays, rose beds, bog plants, a sensory garden and a sustainable garden.

Our on-site gardener is present in the park from Monday to Friday during the Spring and Summer seasons and is a familiar face to visitors. He is supported by a three-person team for larger tasks such as mowing. Our contract with Teignbridge District Council requires the onsite gardener to be present 75% of the working week with 25% of his time spent on smaller areas close to the park. Having a near-permanent on-site presence gives park visitors a friendly face to report problems, as well as providing a feeling of increased safety.

The on-site gardener takes great pride in ensuring the park looks its best and is meticulous in making sure the round of litter picking is done first thing in the morning so that the first visitors of the day are greeted by a clean and tidy park. He also visually inspects the equipment in the children’s play area for safety before continuing with the horticultural maintenance work.

He says, “I am lucky enough to work in my favourite park but it needs plenty of attention to take it through its many seasonal changes. Hundreds of people pass through the park every day, many of whom stop to enjoy the peace. There are plenty of quiet places with benches where they can read, think, or simply watch the world go by. I take pride in what I do and try to get on well with the public. It’s nice to chat with them and receive positive feedback about my work.”

As an ISO 14001-accredited company, we aim to adopt sustainable, environmentally friendly practices in its maintenance activities. While Courtenay Park does not generate a large amount of green waste, what is produced is composted on site to be used as mulch. Bedding is ordered from a supplier who provides the plants in peat-free compost and an electric John Deere ‘E-Gator’ vehicle has also been deployed in the park and local area. This vehicle has the advantages of zero emissions and low noise levels, and so provides minimal disturbance to visitors enjoying the park.

Both idverde UK and Teignbridge District Council are keen to encourage community involvement, and the Friends of Courtenay Park take an active interest in the development of the park. We have also assisted the Council in running several events with local school children. These included sowing wild flower seed and the construction of bird and bug boxes on site. There are also plans for a ‘bug hotel’ to be constructed in the park in the near future.

Teignbridge District Council’s vision statement for the park is, “To maintain and develop the park in a long-term sustainable manner sympathetic to the needs of the area and its historical nature, while meeting the long-term needs of people today and future generations.” We are pleased to be able to contribute the realisation of these aims in this well-loved town park.