Swanage to get a new park as designs revealed to boost wildlife

Plans for a wildlife-friendly mini or ‘pocket park’ at Rabling Green in Swanage are coming closer to fruition after receiving the backing of the town council.

The design and costs to develop the area just off Victoria Avenue into a park, were discussed at the council’s annual general meeting – and the concept was met with approval.

Rabling Green - the site of the new park

Mature trees will be incorporated into the new design

What will the park look like?

The park aims to offer more trees and wildlife-friendly areas on existing green space in the town.

It will include fruit trees and grass that can serve equally as a community hub and a boost to local wildlife.

A report presented to the town council said:

“The concept of the design is to provide an informal, low maintenance garden, with flowing, adaptable shapes that will provide pleasant areas for people to sit and relax or picnic, meet friends or play games and can be used for educational purposes.

“There is a larger central open space to allow for games and small-scale community events such as produce stalls, seed and seedling swaps.

“The wider edges and paths will provide a more interesting route across the green and children will love moving around the many paths.

“The design has been made around existing trees and current use, without edges and formal entry points.”

According to the report, a total of 15 trees are set to be planted as part of the project.

Sustainable Swanage officer, Sarah Spurling said:

“Our mission and aim is to get more trees planted throughout the town. We’re thinking of the ecological crisis and how a lot of our species of insects and birds are declining rapidly. There’s lots of things that we can do that will improve them greatly.”

She added that the current short grass at the site offers less for helping wildlife thrive than the longer grass proposed in the plan.

Plan for the new park showing trees and new planting areas
Sustainable Swanage
Aerial image of Rabling Green - the site of the new park

A ‘pocket park’ is an “exciting proposal”

Sarah Spurling said that Swanage Town Council had been very welcoming of the plans. She said:

“The plan is quite simple. It’s supposed to be quite easy, adaptable and there’s no hard landscaping. They’ve been really supportive.”

Speaking at the council meeting, Councillor Avril Harris said:

“The plan really comes to life when you see where it’s going to be. And that site’s bigger than you think.… It’s quite an exciting proposal.”

When will it happen?

It’s expected that much of the work will take place during the coming winter and should cost an estimated £900 to implement. It’s hoped that this will be funded by a grant.

However, the overall execution of the plan will pan out over a few years, especially now that the coronavirus pandemic has made getting anything done, more tricky.

Sarah Spurling said:

“Hopefully we’ll still be able to do it. I don’t know what restrictions will come into place. November is the best time. The meadow areas wouldn’t come into play until next year.

“The plan is very simple. It’s just trees with areas of long grass. So in the first year, it would just look like long grass and then we will develop it over a number of years by adding more seeds and wild flowers amongst it.”

Further information

Sustainable Swanage is actively seeking views about the plans from local residents and the wider community. Anyone who has comments or wants to get involved in the project, can get in touch at welcome@swanage.gov.uk or 01929 766018.

Read the full Sustainable Swanage report

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