To identify a strategy for Letchworth Garden City’s 3,000-acre rural estate, the Heritage Foundation invites the Town & Country Planning Association, The Landscape Institute, Hertfordshire & Middlesex Wildlife Trust, North Hertfordshire District Council and Hertfordshire County Council to assist with devising its Centenary Competition.
Advertising in national trade media attracts 21 submissions from landscape architects, planners, countryside managers and academic institutions. Four are short-listed with proposals from Cheltenham-based firm Illman Yound selected as the winning entry by the panel expert assessors.
On the ground
Work begins on the implementation of the winning entry which is targeted to enhance wildlife habitats, encourage diversity of flora and fauna and improve public access to the countryside.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (now DEFRA) awards a £241,000 Countryside Stewardship Grant to enable the Heritage Foundation to undertake major landscape works and improve access to the rural estate. A series of ‘gateways’ to the Garden City are created at Norton Road, Bedford Road, and Hitchin Road paid, in part, by contributions from North Hertfordshire District Council.
Further sections of the Greenway are created, including a major resource and public amenity space at Radwell Meadows. A new arboretum, which will bring together over 30 different tree varieties, is created near Manor Wood, Willian.
Creating the links
Extensive works are undertaken and pathways connecting the Jackmans Estate and Willian village, and Standalone Farm with Grange Estate are constructed.
The Finishing Touches
Work is completed on the final leg of the Greenway from the Grange to Standalone Farm. Seating and picnic tables are installed in various locations. Hedge laying, planting and coppicing is completed and willow structures are installed at the Arboretum.
Into the Future
The Garden City Greenway is declared open amid celebrations in May. The award-winning children’s play area is completed at Radwell Meadows and pieces of sculpture are installed using poplar wood from Broadway Gardens. Final planting of feature trees and copses takes place in the spring.
Planting continues, including a willow area at Willian Arboretum, where willows are grown and harvested when they reach maturity.
A sustainable management programme is initiated at Willian Arboretum. Wymondley Wood’s role as an educational resource is reinforced with the addition of three woodland trails and six interpretation boards, which provide information on the natural environment.
Creation of an additional route and boardwalk at Wymondley Wood.
Numbered discs installed on signage posts to help navigation of the route.
Bulb planting continues at the main entrances to the Greenway; Standalone Farm, Manor Wood and Radwell Meadows.
Shade structure installed at Wymondley Wood study/picnic area.
Greenway area extended to create a picnic area. Planting of hedges and native shrub areas together with semi-ornamental planting to attract wildlife. Adjacent to Letchworth Golf Club. 50 bird boxes installed.