Mountpark Woodland – St Peters Wood, Swadlincote
“This Nicholsons team have been exceptional through our journey into woodland creation, from their site assessment, scheme design, liaison with all stakeholders and the National Forest and effective implementation and management. As a company we are immensely proud of what we have achieved.”
Wal Groves, European Construction Director
Mountpark, recognising the increasing focus of government policy on the environment, wanted to develop a project that would serve as a real-life case study. They aimed to provide independent and real-time learning outcomes to inform their own future projects and other partners. Guided by the expert team at Nicholsons, the Mountpark board explored opportunities and issues and ultimately purchased a 53-acre site of low-grade arable land in Swadlincote.
The primary objective of the project was to create a publicly accessible multi-functional woodland that would contribute to woodland creation for carbon capture, biodiversity enhancement, and promote health and well-being. Mountpark aimed to plant 27,500 new trees and shrubs on the site, using a mix of native broadleaves like oak and cherry, as well as some conifers such as pine and Douglas fir for carbon sequestration and future timber production. The project also aimed to provide open public access across the site and establish a comprehensive network of access tracks and rides.
Design and Implementation
Nicholsons worked closely with Mountpark to design a truly multifunctional woodland. The site was planned to include a variety of woodland types and structures, incorporating parkland areas and allowing some areas to naturally colonize. A comprehensive network of rides was integrated into the design with key viewpoints highlighted. Additionally, shrub and minor tree species were planted along rides and throughout the site.
To enhance biodiversity, the project included wet woodland and wetland scrapes, along with the introduction of diverse wildflowers, pollen and seed sources, and grassland habitats. Prior to planting, a comprehensive soil analysis was conducted to guide the planting design. The project commenced in spring 2022, with seeding, fencing, and planting carefully specified, tendered and supervised by the Nicholsons team. The establishment has been excellent and despite last summer’s extremely hot weather conditions, the survival rates were excellent, with less than 7% failures across the entire site.