AONB Project by SCOA

SCOA was awarded an AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) grant of £1,000. The purpose of the Fund is to enable local communities and other organisations to make a difference in AONBs by promoting and achieving sustainable development. The Government stated that these schemes should focus on integrating the environment, local communities and the economy so that these unique areas are conserved and their natural beauty enhanced, making them more enjoyable for all. Specifically the brief was to survey the caravan site and to investigate the potential for improving the habitat for wildlife and conservation of the area.

In March of this year we commissioned a survey of the caravan site by Woottens of Wenhaston who provided a comprehensive report on planting schemes. This report recommended two 6m x 3m flowerbeds and the clearing of the existing raised bed next to reception. Other subsidiary planting was recommended on a phased basis.

Due to concerns that SCOA had over the quality of the land, which was not covered by the original survey, we commissioned a second survey by a professional groundsman. This second report concluded that the land on which the caravan site is located has no more than 2 inches of poor quality soil on top of a sand and gravel substrate. As some of you will know, the caravan site was originally part of the beach before the dunes and harbour mouth were built. It was recommended that we should build raised flowerbeds of a significant depth to allow for good quality topsoil to be imported. In discussion with management, it was agreed that they would match fund the £1,000 grant from AONB to provide the plants. In addition, management offered to supply 35 railway sleepers, 29 tons of topsoil and would hire a mini-digger to help us build some substantial raised beds that would withstand the test of time and the elements.

A professional groundsman was engaged to construct the flowerbeds and clear the trees and shrubs from the areas and the existing raised bed by reception. This entailed removing several grown trees on the corner opposite reception and two smaller trees and various shrubs in the existing raised bed next to reception. He was supported by one of the SCOA committee, who volunteered his time for the duration of the project. Additional help was engaged during the building period to help manually move the 29 tons of soil and lifting of the railway sleepers (the mini-digger wasn’t man enough to do this in the end without making too much of a mess). However, we were very fortunate to have help from two members – Mr & Mrs Dent – who took on responsibility of digging over and weeding the raised flowerbed by the office. This was an enormous help and support to the building team and it provided them with a pristine bed ready to plant. They also managed to retrieve a large bucket of daffodil and tulip bulbs ready to be planted elsewhere. SCOA are very grateful for all the help that they gave. Other members of the committee also made themselves available to help with planting, but unfortunately their time never coincided with the plants being available; however, the whole of the SCOA committee have fully supported the project including advising on plants.

For those that were on site during the period of construction, you will know that the weather was probably the most appalling wet period that could have been chosen to start the construction of the flowerbeds. However, one 6m x 3m bed was built and a second 12m x 3m 3 tiered bed was also constructed as you can see from the photo's below.

During this time, a selection of plants were ordered for the three raised beds, however, when they arrived and were checked through SCOA felt that they were not of good quality or quantity. As a result the order was sent back and SCOA had to source new plants at other nurseries. This took some time, but was achieved and planting took place in three phases, being completed last Friday, 22 July 2016. Unfortunately, before we could take any action to stop this, the rabbits did their best to remove all the tender tips of the new plants; this is despite the fact that we chose rabbit-proof plants, based on the report from Woottens. It is fair to say that there was considerable surprise from the nurseries that the plants had been eaten, so we can only conclude that we have a rare breed of super rabbit on site! Not to be outdone, rabbit-proof wire fencing has been erected around both the new beds which will stay until the plants have become established, by which time they will be able to hold their own.

Both SCOA and site management have received a substantial amount of positive feedback with people really welcoming the new planting and we hope in discussion with management that new planting and new beds will continue to be constructed in the next season.

This project has taken a great deal of time and energy to put together so we do hope you will help us to look after them to ensure the enjoyment of all.

 

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Raised bed by reception as shrubs and

trees were removed

 SCOA members helping to dig over

the bed

 The finished bed by reception planted with

lavender, rosemary, miscanthus and gaura

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 Cutting down trees and bushes to open

up area for first raised bed

 Starting to dig out the flowerbed

 Installing the first layer of

railway sleepers

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Second row of railway sleepers installed

and soil being added.

The completed bed landscaped and

contoured prior to planting

The completed flowerbed

(with rabbit-proof fencing)

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 Starting to dig out the second raised bed

 Installing the second tier of the

raised flowerbed

 Installing the third tier of the

raised flowerbed

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 The completed three tier raised

flowerbed prior to soil being added

 Three tier flowerbed following

phase one of planting

 The completed three tier flowerbed