Improvements to Fairlands Valley Park
Improvements have been made to the park since 1997.
To enhance the entrance to Fairlands Valley Park from Fairlands Way, a planted maze was constructed in 1997. The design allowed for low growing planting to create a maze in which children could play safely. Local school children helped design the totem poles that were then created by a local chainsaw artist.
In 2000, Fairlands Valley Park benefitted from three exciting projects.
The Millennium Wood was originally planted in November 1999 by school children from across Stevenage. 2,000 Stevenage school children helped to plant 2,000 native trees to commemorate the new millennium.
The Millennium Avenue was also planted in November 1999. 100 English Oaks were planted along the footpath leading from the South Field car park up towards the Millennium Wood.
The Millennium Lake was completed in 1971. The Boating Lake was originally lined with a thick polythene liner. By 2000, the liner had deteriorated beyond economical repair resulting in the banks of the lake becoming severely eroded and water being lost to the chalk bed below.
In 2000, work began to drain and reline the lake. This work was complemented by new landscaping to stabilise the waters edge, provide new viewing platforms and wildfowl ramps. In November 2001, the lake was officially opened and renamed the Millennium Lake.
In 2001, we replaced the bridge between the Environment Lake and Boating Lake with a Scandinavian hardwood bridge. The new bridge was designed with gentle ramped approaches, resolving some of the difficulties previously experienced by visitors with push chairs, wheel chairs, or with other mobility difficulties.
There are two play areas within the park. The main play area, adjacent to the paddling pools, made some provision for toddlers and juniors. However, in 2004, works were undertaken to extend the boundary of the play area, making provision for additional fixed play equipment catering for toddlers, juniors and teenagers.
The open space between the café and main lake was redeveloped in 2005. The design sought to provide a larger, more attractive space for café users to enjoy, improved access to the waters edge for those with mobility problems, deliver an enclosed grassed area ideal for formal or informal activity and excellent views across the main lake.
Built during the 1970’s, the polythene liner that retained the water throughout the lake system had become exposed and badly worn, allowing water to leak through to the underlying chalk bed.
Upstream from the Millennium Lake, the Environment Lake suffered the same liner problems and with some parts of the lake clogged with silt, there was a significantly reduced natural flow of water.
In 2006, we appointed consultants to undertake a comprehensive ecology survey of the lake and islands.
In Spring 2007, clearance of scrub and vegetation from the islands was carried out in accordance with the ecology survey and with guidance from the consultants.
In Summer 2007, work began to drain the lake and remove the silt. Reshaping of the islands was undertaken and relining of the lake followed. All of the silt originally removed was reused within the Lake to create a habitat immediately suitable for vital micro-organisms and to assist with the establishment of marginals.
Planting to stabilise the banks and provide new wildlife habitats was completed during Spring 2008.
During an inspection of the Main Lake in 2005, it was identified that a range of works were needed to be carried out to safeguard the future of the lake.
Not to cause stress to fish during their removal, the project was programmed to take advantage of cold water temperatures during the early Spring. The construction phase of the works was carried out during the Summer and was scheduled to be completed by the autumn, thereby enabling the lake to refill during the wet Autumn and Winter period.
We worked closely with the Environment Agency and fisheries consultants to ensure the fish in the lake were removed in an appropriate manner and subsequently cared for. An estimated 37,000 fish (including carp, bream, roach, perch), were removed from the Lake in Spring 2008.
Works to drain the lake and carry out the necessary repairs started in June. Specialist contractors undertook the replacement of the wave deflector beams and re-jointing of the concrete surround. All works were completed within the scheduled time.
During 2008, the Sailing Centre and Café received a full refurbishment of the toilets, changing facilities, showers and class room. The reception area for the Sailing Centre was also relocated and refurbished.
Stevenage Direct Services
Stevenage Borough Council