A project designed to showcase natural flood management techniques and enrich the wildlife of a treasured Kendal park is about to start.
Several years in the planning, the natural flood management scheme at Town View Field, beside Nobles Rest park, will see around 90 metres of culvert “daylighted” or opened up to create a natural watercourse and flood basin, designed to slow the flow of floodwater during heavy rain.
The land is owned by South Lakeland District Council which, in partnership with South Cumbria Rivers Trust, has brought together key players including the Friends of Nobles Rest and Catchment Designs to bring the project to fruition.
From next Monday, 3 August, Town View Field will be closed to the public for around four weeks while contractors from Catchment Designs open up the culverted Dyers Beck on behalf of South Cumbria Rivers Trust.
The works, which will divert flood water away from bungalows at Nobles Place, have secured £48,000 from DEFRA’s £15 million Natural Flood Management programme. The Environment Agency has been awarded almost £800,000 from this DEFRA fund to target natural flood management on the watercourses above Kendal and Staveley.
SLDC has contributed around £7,000 to the project at Town View Field where, historically, heavy rainfall has led to the stone culvert pipe overflowing, putting nearby properties at risk of flooding. From next week, contractors will open up the culvert to create a meandering stream running into a small wetland area before rejoining the culvert downstream. Two leaky timber dams will be installed to store and slowly release flood water.
As well as naturally slowing the flow of stormwater, the newly created “bog garden” will hopefully attract a richer variety of wildlife to Town View Field, such as dragonflies, voles, frogs and toads. After the culvert work is completed, the field’s biodiversity will be further enriched by the planting of a wildflower meadow and a small damson orchard to help attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies. Interpretation panels are also planned.
SLDC Leader Cllr Giles Archibald said: “This is a fantastic example of the community working with local government, South Cumbria Rivers Trust and the Environment Agency to protect a treasured park and enhance biodiversity.
“As local ward councillor, I know how hard the community groups have worked to make this a reality. I am also very grateful to SLDC officers, the EA, Catchment Designs and the Rivers Trust. This has been a wonderfully collaborative effort that will bring real benefit to the town and will further enhance the experience of visiting the newly refurbished Nobles Rest, which is next door.”
Town View Field will be closed while the culvert works take place. The meadow is a popular cut-through for people walking from Windermere Road to Kendal town centre via Nobles Rest, and posters have gone up ahead of the closure. Nobles Rest will remain open from Maude Street, Town View and Low Fellside.
The natural flood management project is part of the overall vision to improve Nobles Rest for future generations. Also known as Maudes Meadow, the park was dedicated as “a sanctuary of rest for the aged and as a playground for small children” by Mary Ellen Noble in 1929 in memory of her husband, Kendal surgeon Samuel Clarke Noble.
If you would like to join the volunteer gardeners of the Friends of Nobles Rest who help care for this cherished green space, email [email protected]