Holywells Park, Ipswich: Ecological Survey and Assessment

Ipswich Borough Council recently secured Stage 2 Heritage Lottery Funding to restore Holywells Park. BSG Ecology provided specialist ecological advice to the heritage design team.

Background

Holywells Park is a designated Conservation Area, and on the English Heritage register of parks and gardens of special historic interest. It is also a County Wildlife Site and Regionally Important Geo-diversity Site (RIGS). The park has two Grade 2 listed buildings, the Stable Block and the Orangery, which are the surviving elements of the former Holywells House. The park is 28 hectares in size and supports a large number of mature parkland trees, a series of spring-fed waterbodies, semi-natural and amenity grasslands, dense scrub and woodland.

The objectives for park restoration included:

  • Restoration of the Stable Block, Orangery and their immediate landscape setting (the historic core of the park);
  • Restoration / re-creation of the medieval waterbodies, the formal gardens and terrace that adorned the mansion;
  • Restoration of the other waterbodies to improve both their water quality and wildlife value.

BSG Ecology’s role in the project

BSG Ecology provided ecological advice to the design team, which included:

  • A targeted desktop review.
  • Consultation with local groups.
  • Scoping and execution of habitat and species surveys and an assessment of the ecological value and sensitivity of the site.
  • Advice on the likely ecological impacts of the restoration and the legal implications in relation to habitats and protected species.
  • Recommendations for future site management of the park to protect and enhance its ecological value.

Outcome

We identified the need for further surveys for bats and fish. Through the survey work undertaken, two bat roosts have been confirmed within these buildings. BSG Ecology has worked with the conservation architect, in relation to the restoration proposals for each building to determine if there is likely to be an impact on the bat roosts.

The proposed restoration of the waterbodies within the park aims to enhance the long term value of this network of waterbodies providing green corridors through the centre and along the western edge of the park. The de-silting and restoration strategy has been designed by Stirling Maynard and BSG Ecology has provided advice to minimise disturbance to the ecological interest of the ponds, including water vole and breeding birds, and proposed approach to the de-silting works.

Holywells Park, Ipswich: Ecological Survey and Assessment – Project Profile

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