Recently transformed and re-opened after a £2 million makeover are the Middle and Southern fields of Ladywell Fields Park in Lewisham, forming an exceptional new green space in the local area.
The project was funded by the London Development Agency (LDA) and carried out for the London Borough of Lewisham by Main Contractors J Breheny Contractors Ltd. Landscape Architects were BDP.
The makeover means the park now has a cleaner, healthier river, with new backwaters, wetlands, boardwalks and viewing platforms, steps and gently sloping banks. Other improvements include water pumps, a new play area, an orchard, new footpaths, cycle paths and lighting, new tennis courts and petanque pitches, as well as meadow areas with wildflowers, new riverside planting and an adventure playground.
The park’s regeneration has focused largely on revealing it’s greatest natural asset the River Ravensbourne. The scheme has in particular concentrated on: improving biodiversity and access to the river, including building a series of timber viewing platforms along the riverside and a number of new paths and bridges; improving the quality of the river, with new meanders, pebble ‘beach’ areas, deeper pools and backwaters; carrying out work to existing and new entrances, to connect residential areas with the green space; installing new lighting and street furniture to help make the park more user-friendly and accessible, and planting an orchard for community use.
In addition, a new children’s playground has been installed at the Catford end of the park; the tennis courts at the northern and southern ends of the park have been resurfaced and a Walk4Life one mile signed walking/running route around the park has been created. New signage has also been installed for the Waterlink Way which is part of the National Cycle Network and in Lewisham runs from Deptford Creek to Beckenham Place, following the Ravensbourne River.
Mr Mehron Kirk of BDP Landscape Architects said: “We considered how to improve the river in terms of access and flood attenuation, biodiversity, ecology, hydrology, and make it a better asset within the park – this required large scale land improvements in terms of re-shaping the river corridors of the park, adding backwaters, swales and riffles, re-grading the banks, and creating other land forms around the park. We also added new bridges, added new paths and new lighting and street furniture – in short, a thorough makeover.
He added that the improvements were required in order to realize the full potential of the park and the river running through it was hardly visible due to over-vegetation and ran in a uniform channel, with sections in a concrete culvert. “Working with the Environment Agency and Design for London we needed to determine how to make much better use of this park and make the river a more prominent feature, which now it really is.” he added. “It is now much more visible and accessible and the water is a much better quality too.”
“The contractors did a really good job and we have had a lot of positive feedback” he said. The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “Brighter, cleaner and greener parks are essential to the quality of life in London. The rejuvenation of Ladywell Fields means the area is now an oasis of calm for people to socialise and relax in. The project is the second phase of works at Ladywell Fields, following on from the first phase carried out three years ago in the Northern Field.
CTS Bridges of Huddersfield were subcontracted by J Breheny to design, manufacture and install two steel and timber bridges at Ladywell Fields. Having previously supplied the three footbridges and a Viewing Deck in the first phase in 2007, CTS were delighted to be involved with J Breheny and BDP for the second phase.
Two 24m long x 4m wide and 23m long x 4m wide steel and FSC timber footbridges were designed by CTS Bridges and manufactured at their factory in Huddersfield before being transported to Lewisham for installation onto prepared abutments.
All the timber used in the manufacture of the bridges is from sustainable sources and FSC accredited. Although the bridges have steel main beams, a timber fascia fitted to the beams gives the appearance of an all timber bridge.
Ermine Engineering Company
Ermine Engineering Company Limited was involved in the major landscaping overhaul of Ladywell Fields by manufacturing and installing three ‘play water pump platforms’. The platforms have been designed as a feature and measure approximately 4 metres by 3 metres and an impressive 3.5 metres tall. Constructed from a galvanised mild steel support frame with timber decking and a corten feature roof/sail, the platforms are located in the ‘middle field’ area of the landscape.
The FACTA certified Ground Mounted Distribution Assemblies (GMDAs) were specially designed and manufactured to provide three 16A and 0ne 32A 230V socket outlet for use when events that require electrical power are taking place in the park. The sockets and distribution assembly are IP67 rated and contained within the GMDA enclosure. The enclosure is mounted in the ground and fitted with a chequer plate hinged lid. The sockets and distribution assembly are readily accessible when the lid is open and a hinged window is provided to allow the RCBO’s s to be operated.
A big benefit of the units is that the lid need only be open for the purpose of inserting or removing the load plugs. It can be closed and locked shut at all other times, even whilst in use.