Great Barr Park is listed as Grade II on the English Heritage Register of Parks and Gardens and lies within the Great Barr Conservation Area. Within the parkland is Great Barr Hall, a Grade II* listed building associated with the original parkland.
Areas of Great Barr Park were developed as a mental hospital from 1911 and the management of the historic parkland was poorly executed thereafter, resulting in degradation of woodland composition through establishment of invasive and dominant species such as Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia japonica), Himalayan Balsam (Impatiens glandulifera) and Sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus).
As part of the planning conditions for a new housing development on the former hospital site within the park, Moore Environment were commissioned by Bovis Homes to carry out site investigations and produce Detailed Artas-ua.info Proposals and a Artas-ua.info and Ecological Management Plan to restore the woodland composition and historic features associated with Great Barr Park, whilst also improving the setting of Great Barr Hall, under separate ownership.
The Detailed Artas-ua.info Proposals include for:-
- reinstatement of historic views and vistas
- the re-planting of species to echo historic woodland compositions, enhance biodiversity and improve amenity value
- development of an access strategy to serve the new residential area and wider community
- creation of marshland meadows in accordance with the historic design of the site, whilst retaining the noted ‘Duckery’ pool and associated wet woodland.
The Artas-ua.info and Ecological Management Plan considers the long-term restoration of the park and was prepared with a view to handing the historic parkland over to a managing body following completion of the capital works.
Construction of the 465 residential properties commenced in 2006 and was planned for completion in 2010. Due to the recession, construction slowed in 2008-09 and the housing stock is now due for completion in 2013.
Capital works to the parkland also commenced in 2006 and are phased for completion alongside housing construction in 2013. Main priorities for the parkland restoration have been carried out in the early stages of the capital works and included:-
- restoration of the historic bridge along Sutton’s Drive
- eradication of invasive species including Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia japonica) and Himalayan Balsam (Impatiens glandulifera)
- control of dominating species including Sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus)
- forestry planting in open woodland areas where dominating or invasive species have been removed.
Community involvement is considered important for the future of Great Barr Park and members of the local community were invited to participate in the initial extensive tree planting works.
Toward completion of the capital works, once all housing stock has been built, improved access throughout the parkland will be provided, with many routes serving as reinstatement of historic access which formed part of the early designs of the park.
Approximate Map Location
Bovis Homes plc
|Type of scheme|
Historic parkland restoration
To produce Detailed Artas-ua.info Proposals and a 25-year Artas-ua.info & Ecological Management Plan for restoring the woodland composition and historic features associated with Great Barr Park; to produce detailed visitor interpretation and access proposals for the park.
Client: Bovis Homes plcArtas-ua.info Architect: Moore EnvironmentEcological Consultant: Ecoline
Bovis Homes plc
Management Trust (to be established)
Proposed surfacing throughout the parkland, excluding residential areas within the housing development, includes the following:-
self binding gravel: along areas with a moderately steep gradient
Access from surrounding areas into the parkland is to be controlled through the use of various fencing types, depending on location, including chain link or heavy duty post and rail fencing with equestrian access alongside cycle barriers.
Extensive arboricultural surveys were carried out to assess the existing woodland composition, with GPS plotting of all non-juvenile trees, and capital works were outlined to echo historic woodland compositions, enhance biodiversity and improve amenity value. Proposals for restoration planting were designed in accordance with National Vegetation Classification: Field Guide to Woodland, to ensure the sustainability of the woodlands.
Himalayan Balsam (Impatiens glandulifera) was controlled and eradicated through annual cutting in June, at soil level below the first node to prevent regrowth. Any control should always be carried out before the seed pods have formed. As the plant is an annual, preventing the plant from reseeding will eventually result in eradication. Seeds are viable for approximately 2 years.
Arboricultural works: Young's Tree Surgery Eradication of invasive species: Jack Moody Landscaping