Central Park Ponds Project




A sustainable drainage systems solution 

The Central Park Ponds Project aims to transform water from a problem into a resource. The project involvesl re-landscaping an area of the park to provide a nature-based solution to flooding by using a sustainable drainage system to manage surface water and provide a space for wildlife and people.

Addressing existing drainage issues…

At present, defunct drainage and a small pond provide little means of retaining or managing water in the park. This causes localised flooding that affects access during times of heavy rainfall, which is compounded by steep banks and poor ground conditions. Additionally, runoff from the park contributes to flooding downstream and puts pressure on the city’s combined sewer overflow, which is already overburdened.

...through enhancing wildlife

Our solution is a series of connected swales and ponds that capture and store rainwater both now and in the future when climate change predictions show increased rainfall. We will repurpose heritage drainage features to slow the flow of water and convey it to the ponds, which will be lined to create permanent water bodies. Additional planting will increase biodiversity by 24%, providing natural carbon storage and rainwater capture. New seating, viewpoints and interpretation will allow people to get closer to nature and learn about the benefits of water and there will be opportunities for the community to be involved in delivery of the scheme.






Ponds Project FAQs

The ponds project uses Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) solutions to reimagine the area around the old pond at Barn Park entrance in Central Park for the benefit of people and nature. The project will reduce flooding, improve access, conserve heritage features and trees, improve amenity, increase biodiversity, be climate change resilient and provide a place to learn about water and wildlife!

Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) draw on natural solutions to manage rainfall. SuDS are great for wildlife, amenity, managing flooding and pollution and are sympathetic to the natural environment. We’ll use SuDS solutions like ponds, swales and tree planting in the Ponds Project.

Ponds are great for carbon storage and for wildlife, so we’re excited to be restoring the old pond and creating two new ones. The ponds are fed by rain water and are lined to ensure they have water in them all year round.

Water will reach the ponds by a number of routes; a new swale (which looks like a dip in the grass) which will run from the old Zoo Field to the existing pond area; stone-lined channels that replace the old drainage channels in the park, but reuse the granite blocks; a cascade feature, which will channel overflows from the sports pitch area. The ponds will be connected by pipes so water balances between the ponds. To prevent the ponds overflowing during storms, an outlet will direct water safely into the woods and away from footpaths.

Yes, we’ve included safe places for you to access the water, although there will be fencing around most of the pond areas to protect wildlife habitat. There will be new viewpoints, signs and seating. Viewpoints by the ponds will have all-weather surfaces. We’ll also make some paths higher at points which currently flood, which will also provide views over the ponds.

Yes, we will need to dig in some areas and sadly we will be cutting down 11 trees. However, we will be planting 50 new replacement trees and creating new habitats to deliver a gain for nature overall. The ponds and swale have been designed to sit in the landscape, while keeping earthworks to a minimum. We’ll create a new area of planting and low level natural stone retaining walls to form a visual showpiece on the slope down from the football pitches and incorporate wildflower areas and bee bricks to make new homes for nature.

We’ve designed the scheme to be low maintenance and have worked with the Council’s parks service, ecologists, conservation groups and engineers to come up with a long term management plan. Some of the new planting will take time to establish, so we will keep the site temporarily fenced off until planting has taken. However, we think seeing this change over time will be exciting and worth waiting for.