Upton Park is a country park of approximately 126 hectares consisting mainly of open fields which are used for grazing land for sheep, as well as recreational purposes.
Public footpaths traverse the park, and the River Nene flows through the centre of the site, with flood defence bunds present along the northern and southern banks. Other features include two large lakes and a smaller pond.
idverde was contracted by Northampton Borough Council in May 2019 to provide landscaping construction works at the site to improve accessibility, as well as making enhancements to ensure the site could be enjoyed by visitors while remaining an important grazing area for livestock, and maintaining the safety of both people and animals.
The works included:
- Laying a 3-metre wide footpath cycleway (tarmac) with timber edging extending over 2,350 metres. Seven culverts with stone headwalls were built for existing drainage lines
- 1.1-metre wide leisure routes (self-binding gravel), extending on both sides of the River Nene, covering a total distance of 4,400 metres. The route runs mostly along the top of reservoir bunds adjacent to the River Nene.
- A viewing platform was built from local ironstone, incorporating seating areas and signage, at a prominent position overlooking a lake (formerly a quarry) and the old Upton Mill.
- Stock proof fencing was installed adjacent to the cycleway and an upgraded bridle path, stretching over 3,500 metres.
Post and rail fencing was installed at primary and secondary gates
- 20 field gates for farming activities and maintenance were installed along all routes. Additionally, 15 self-closing timber gates were installed for public access to the leisure routes.
- Six primary gateways including stone walls, seating and interpretation signage were constructed at the beginning/end of the major routes, and where the route crosses the Upper Valley Way North road. Local ironstone was used, and includes 2m feature stone piers anchoring one end of the stone wall. All timber used in the area was green oak, cut to specified dimensions.
- Three steel bridges, and a 44-metre steel boardwalk were installed over streams and waterways, allowing the public to access the park during wet and flooded periods. 6m concrete piles were installed, on which the bridges and boardwalk rest.
900mm PVC pipes were used in the construction of seven culverts.
- Two small wetland areas were created for added interest and to augment open water bodies for birds and other aquatic fauna and flora.
- Interpretive signage designed by the Council were manufactured and installed at primary gates, secondary gates and at the viewing point.
- 12,700 trees, hedge and aquatic plants were planted in various locations along the cycleway.
- Wildflower and amenity grass seeding/turfing was undertaken along the whole length of the cycleway.
- Renovation works to the existing reservoir system included repairs to rip-rap protection on a dam wall, repairs to rutted surfaces on bunds and the cleaning out of flumes and other structures.
The majority of Upton Park is located within a flood zone, so particular care had to be taken to maintain the integrity of the site’s drainage throughout and following works. Further challenges included an outlier badger sett being found in the direct path of the cycleway necessitating an alternative haulage route being arranged via the local farmer’s land.
idverde was delighted to be able to able to successfully deliver this project, which was completed in May 2020, and to fulfil the vision of Northampton Council and the Environment Partnership in regenerating this much-loved country park. idverde was also extremely proud to be awarded a British Association of Landscape Industries (BALI) National Award in 2020 recognition of the high standards of workmanship demonstrated on this project.