Southwark Park is credited as being one of the first municipal parks in London, having been one of the earliest parks to be opened by the Metropolitan Board of Directors, in 1869. idverde UK has been responsible for the park’s maintenance since 1996, when its legacy company, Quadron Services, won the London Borough of Southwark‘s Integrated Parks and Grounds Management Contract.
In 2014 the company was awarded a prestigious British Association of Landscape Industries (BALI) Principal Award for its maintenance of Southwark Park. The BALI Awards recognise a contractor’s professionalism and skill in providing landscape and grounds maintenance services. To win a Principal Award the scheme must demonstrate an exceptional level of skill and client satisfaction.
The 25 hectare park benefitted from a 2.5 million pound Heritage Lottery Fund grant in 1999 which enabled extensive improvements to be carried out. It boasts a wide range of facilities for visitors including a lake, bowling green, cricket oval, tennis courts, children’s play area and beautiful gardens, including the stunning Ada Salter Garden. Southwark Park is highly popular and exerts an attraction for visitors out of all proportion to its size due to its high amenity value. The park was awarded a Green Flag for the first time in 2002 and has retained it ever since.
Southwark Park is very flat, and so can be enjoyed by all ages and abilities. However, the landscape is not without variety: There is a lot of close-mown open grassland, mature broadleaf and coniferous trees, ornamental shrubberies and bedding, small areas of woodland, a wildlife area and some spring and summer meadows.
Lynne Olding is idverde’s Head Gardener at Southwark Park. Lynne has lived locally all her life and joined Quadron in 1996 as a litter picker. The park awakened a passion for horticulture and she has risen through the ranks as a gardener, supervisor and Team Leader before being appointed as Head Gardener in 2010. Lynne is a key member of the team and is always available to pass on her knowledge and experience, as well as being a familiar and friendly face to all park users and visitors. Lynne is supported by a Team Leader, three gardeners and an apprentice.
Southwark Park has an active Friends of Group and our staff regularly attend their meetings in order to update the members on work in the park and to better understand the aspirations of the parks users. idverde and the Friends also organise community events in the park such as bulb and hedge planting. Head Gardener, Lynne Olding, recently led a guided tour of the Ada Salter garden for members of the public as part of the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the 1864 Southwark Park Act, which led to the creation of Southwark Park. Other commemorative events were held over the summer, and the park also hosted the Borough’s annual Friends Conference in June and commissioned a short film to be made in celebration of the park’s history. You can view ‘Our Park’ free online here.
As an ISO 14001 accredited contractor, idverde aims to employ sustainable maintenance methods in the park. Green waste is composted and returned as mulch and we also operate a bulb and bedding reuse scheme whereby any material that cannot be re-used in the park is donated free of charge to the local community. The use of pesticide is avoided wherever possible and a fleet of electrical vehicles has been deployed across idverde’s Southwark contract in order to reduce the CO2 emissions resulting from our activities.
Southwark Park provides a vital haven within the city for wildlife. Bats, greater spotted woodpeckers and stag beetles have all been sighted in the park and the flowers in the borders and meadow areas are an important habitat for pollinating insects.
Southwark Council’s vision is to continue to preserve and enhance the historic character of Southwark Park, increase the amenity and biodiversity value of the park whilst satisfying the diversity of needs of current and future generations of park users. idverde is pleased to be able to support the Council in the realisation of its aims for this well-loved London park.