Students Staff

18 October 2018

Wivenhoe Park is one of the best

Filed under: Latest news — ckeitch @ 10:24 am

Wivenhoe Park has been named one of the nation’s favourite parks following a public vote, being placed top ten in the Green Flag Award People’s Choice vote covering more than 1,500 parks and green spaces.

We spoke to Grounds Manager Marcus Clayton about what the award means, and his team’s plans for our campuses in the future…

How does it feel to have Wivenhoe Park be among the top ten parks in the UK?

Our Grounds Team

Our Grounds Team

We’d already retained the Green Flag Award for the second year running which was brilliant in itself, but to be voted in the top ten out of all green spaces in the UK is absolutely fantastic.

I wouldn’t be able to do it without my team. They’re all 100% dedicated and for most of them this is their hobby too. It couldn’t be done without them – it’s as simple as that. We’re about 10-strong and at Colchester we maintain 200 acres of parkland and a further 30 acres of sports pitches. It’s hard work!

To be the only university featured in the top ten is absolutely fantastic. I’m lucky to be the custodian of this historic parkland – that’s an honour in itself – but to top it off with the Green Flag Award and coming top ten in the People’s Choice is great.

What’s changed in Wivenhoe Park over the last year?

We are always making improvements, but recently we have focused on the arrival experience at the campus entrances, along with the replacement of the main boundary fence. With new signs, fencing and landscaping these improvements have already brought a really significant visual improvement.

We’ve also done a lot of work around the lake which has proved really popular. We’ve introduced a significant amount of new seating, a fire-pit and new paths, planting and bank protection.

We’ve revamped some of the landscaping around accommodation areas, with new block paving and bedding schemes, along with improvements to the rear of the LTB which was previously uninspiring.

What’s happening next?

This is going to be a really busy year for us. We’re doing a lot of work at all three campuses.

At Colchester we’ll be revamping the planting at North Housing with new planting, seating and wildflower areas. In addition we’ll continue to create more outdoor social spaces at South Courts so students living there can really enjoy the area. We are also reviewing the seating on the Squares with the aim of bringing new designs and capacity, as these are such an integral part of the Colchester campus.

At Loughton we’re planning on making improvements to the beautiful grounds, looking at planting, hard landscaping and generally making it the best environment we can for students studying there.

Finally, we’ve got a big project at Southend where the planters are going to be improved and additional seating added so students can get out and enjoy their outside space.

Our focus is absolutely on enhancing the student experience and it’s great for the wellbeing of both staff and students to have nice outside spaces to enjoy, relax and unwind.

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