Derriford Community Park will cover 146 hectares in the north of the city, south of Derriford Hospital. It contains a large area of previously inaccessible farmland, and three designated Local Nature Reserves, Forder Valley, Bircham Valley and Seaton and Lower Bircham Valley The site has a rolling valley topography which is steep in a number of places. Streams run through the valleys and there are a number of wetland areas. The site used to be part of the Derriford Estate that surrounded Derriford House, built in 1820. The estate included a pheasantry and several orchards, planted woodland and an ornamental pond.
The farmland is currently managed as pasture with hedgerows bordering many of the fields. The current Local Nature Reserves contain broad leaved woodlands, with small areas of grassland, and wetland features. The site supports a wealth of wildlife including bats, deer and badgers. The protection and enhancement of features that support these species will be a key component of the park.
Background to the park
The idea for a new park in the north of the city was developed since 2005 with a number of subsequent studies showing that the vision for the new community park in this location was not only achievable, but would provide a much needed resource for the city.
Aim of the park
The community park aims to deliver:
- High quality multi-functional green space that provides a new city-wide destination
- Regionally significant environmental education centre offering hands-on learning opportunities in food production, nature conservation and sustainable living for people of all ages and abilities
- Recreation destination that communities and visitors can access for walking, cycling, relaxing and as a way of improving health and well-being
- Large-scale restoration of important habitats such as species-rich grasslands and hedgerows in line with Biodiversity Action Plan targets and will ensure the area becomes part of the network of important green spaces and links the city with the surrounding countryside
- Network of high quality multiuser routes that link the park to the surrounding neighbourhoods and encourage visits by walking and cycling
- Long term maintenance of the park through the development of a sustainable business model administered by a Community Trust
At the heart of the park will be the 'One Planet' centre. The centre will support the park both financially and managerially. Revenue generated from the centre through its use as an environmental education facility for all ages and abilities will resource the management and maintenance of the park.
Delivering the park
After extensive community consultation which provided a cohesive vision for the area, the project was drawn together in the Derriford Community Park Masterplan below:
In 2015 the Council along with partners began the delivery of the Park from Poole Farm and has worked with hundreds of people from across the city to deliver the first phase of improvements to the wildlife value of the site. By the summer of 2019 this has included:
- Planting 1.5km of new native hedgerow
- Planting over 5000 trees
- Planting and establishing the city's largest orchard of over 200 fruit trees
- Sowing new wildflower meadows and enhancing existing grassland areas
- Making plans for enhanced wetland areas
- Monitoring the habitats to inform the future management of the site
Existing access routes through Bircham and Forder Valley's have been maintained – see separate pages for details on these routes - and funding has been secured to deliver the first phase of new cycle paths through the Seaton and Lower Bircham Valley to link with the existing routes. These new routes are due to be open to the public by Summer 2020, until that point access to the Seaton and Lower Bircham Valley is restricted to organised activities running from Poole Farm
The map below shows the extent of the land currently being managed as the Community Park by the Council and its partners.
Poole Farm has begun its transformation into a local nature partnership hub with some of the buildings being transformed into spaces to enable community and educational activity to take place. Find out more detail on the progress and activities running at Poole Farm.
If you have an idea or are inspired to get involved then please contact the team through DerrifordCP@plymouth.gov.uk
A series of topic papers were produced alongside the masterplan to document the evidence and rational that underpins the projects and provides more detail on the key themes.