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Stort Valley Summary

Stort Valley Meadows -
Access for All

Stort Valley Meadows -
Habitat improvement

Wildflower Meadow Restoration

Brenthall & Barnsley Wood -
Access & Wildlife



Stort Valley Meadows -

Access for All (Stort Valley Phase 1)

slab bridge with handrail

This project is to revamp the footpath network on the Town Park Marsh Local Wildlife Site (LoWS) (Town Park, Stage IV), re-routing one section of path which gets waterlogged in winter via a new footbridge, upgrading the paths and existing bridges over ditches for disabled access, and adding a picnic area and some interpretation boards. The project is an important prerequisite to the habitat improvements in the phase 2 project.

The Stort Valley Meadows - Access for All project has been funded through the Community Spaces programme which is being managed by Groundwork UK as an Award Partner to the Big Lottery Fund. Community Spaces is part of the Big Lottery Fund's Changing Spaces initiative. Funding made available for the delivery phase of the project is £49,999.
This was followed up with a "sustainability" grant of 3,489.

Later improvements were funded by Harlow Council.

project plan
Click on plan to enlarge (use back button to return).

Project Elements

Main contract

  • new and reinstated surfaced footpaths in central area
  • surfaced footpath across eastern marsh area with 2 boardwalk sections
  • new footbridge to give access to "orchid" meadow
  • upgrade of 4 existing concrete slab bridges with parapets and kick rails
  • field gate across vehicle access bridge to orchid meadow
  • section of fence to divert path at other end of orchid meadow

Volunteer delivered elements

  • tree planting in picnic area
  • mesh path on new route across orchid meadow
  • installation of 2 interpretation boards
  • signs to divert visitors onto mesh path
  • carved log for funder's plaque
  • installation of 3 picnic benches for picnic area
tree plantinglaying path surfacepath with boardwalksinterpretation board
Click on photos for a larger version.

Time line


Initial application made to Community Spaces - December 2009
Stage 1 pass - 22 December 2009
Development Grant awarded - 4 May 2010, revised 20 July 2010
Environment Agency consent for new footbridge - 8 September 2010
Ecology Survey report completed - 13 September 2010
Stage 2 grant application made - 21 March 2011
Delivery grant awarded - 2 June 2011
Main contractor appointed after Tender process - 11 October 2011
Physical Work starts on site - 3 November 2011
Main contractor works practical completion - 22 May 2012
planned volunteer works complete - 19 August 2012
Main contract final completion (after defects liability period) - 22 August 2012
Project "launch" event - 24 August 2012

volunteer works to use underspend/contingency
Sustainability grant (for volunteer training, publicity, and tools & equipment for 1 year) awarded 7 November 2012
end of "Asset Monitoring Period" - 22 August 2017

Outline Project Specification

Footpath specification throughout to meet/exceed Fieldfare Trust's BT Countryside for All "Urban Fringe & Managed" Accessibility Standard.

Footpaths in central area

540m of surfaced paths 1.5m wide with
2m×2m passing places every 100m
gradients 1:20 (1:15 max.), steps 10mm max.
unsealed surface of recycled demolition waste finished level with surrounding ground:
  - 50mm top dressing over 100mm base layer on Terram geo-textile.
(surface topped up later with gravel)

Eastern path

120m overall length comprising 1.2-1.5m wide surfaced path and
two 10m sections of boardwalk with 1.2m deck width
unsealed surface of recycled demolition waste to level of pre-existing path with timber edging and central camber:
  - 50mm top dressing over 200mm base layer on geo-grid/geo-textile
(surface topped up later with gravel)
boardwalk sections: timber deck and kick rails on recycled plastic supports.

New footbridge

to span 4.8m wide ditch, with 175mm "freeboard" (clearance between underside and water level)
overall length 7m, clear deck width 1.5m,
"countryside" style (longitudinal rails) parapets to 1m above deck
load bearing frame of galvanised steel with timber deck and parapets.

Upgrade of existing concrete slab bridges

4 slab bridges, 3.35m long × 1.3m wide × 125mm thick:
"countryside" style parapets to be added to one side
(parapets added to other side later)
50mmx50mm "kick" rails to be added both sides

Tree planting

large trees (to be staked):

  • 3 alnus glutinosa (common alder)
    (replaced later with ornamental hawthorn)

small trees (potted):

  • 5 cornus sanguinea (common dogwood)
  • 5 euonymus europaeus (common European spindle tree)
  • 5 acer campestre (field maple)
  • 3 crataegus monogyna (common English hawthorn)
  • 2 viburnum opulus (guelder rose)
  • 1 corylus avellana (common European hazel)

Mesh path across orchid meadow

Plastic reinforcing mesh 2m wide cut to fit 250m long route and fixed with steel pins
ground levelled and raised marginally where required with 40:60 soil:sand mix.

Partners & Suppliers


Community Spaces
Big Lottery Fund
Groundwork UK


Harlow Council
Contributions in kind:
- Interpretation board artwork
- GreenTeam supervisor
- wood for signs and carving
- site maintenance & repairs

Lead professional

Elizabeth Greenwood CMLI, FArborA, Landscape Architect

Main contractor

Maydencroft Rural

Other suppliers

Trees - King & Co
Plastic Mesh -
Fiberweb Geosynthetics
Top dressing -
Binder Loams
Grass seed -
Jubilee Seeds & Turf
Interpretation boards - Fitzpatrick Woolmer
Picnic benches - Evershed Products


Project management & tender
  - Colin Lincoln
Grant application, reports, & claims
  - Andrew Tomlins

Practical volunteer tasks:
Harlow Conservation Volunteers
Harlow GreenTeam Volunteers

Ecology Survey
  - Jenny Spelling
Interpretation board design - Colin Lincoln
Plaque log carving
  - Andrew Tomlins
Sign routing
  - Danny Kings

Groundwork logo Big Lottery Fund beneficiary logo

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© Website design by A.G.Tomlins. This page written by Andrew Tomlins.
Last updated 14 June 2018

page URL: www.harlowwildlife.org.uk/hwp/svm-access.htm