Wraysbury – We were proud last year to be asked to design and build a landscape on a large-scale at the famous Wraysbury lakes near Heathrow Airport.The Wraysbury Nature Reserve is a large (over 140 acres) of semi-wild landscape with SSSI status (Site of special scientific interest).
History – It developed in the last 100 years primarily as it was used to quarry aggregates (for the Heathrow runways and other projects). As the sand and gravel was removed, the remaining pits were left to fill with water, attracting new plant life and, in turn, insects, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. By the time of the second World War, this process was already forming the lake at W1-Wraysbury Nature Reserve, which was already 50 acres in size. Wraysbury 2 took longer, probably only beginning to form during the 1950’s.
A Haven for Wildlife – The atmosphere around the lakes is magical the lake and its margins are havens for a host of indigenous and migrant bird life and animals. The waters offer sustenance and shelter to everything from cormorants and migrant gulls to heron, warblers and SSSI-noted Goosander and Gadwell ducks. A lone otter also appears on the lake from time to time, feeding here before disappearing and returning again. Other wildlife concentrates around the shores, with toads, frogs, newts, diving beetles, pond skaters and water scorpions all making an appearance, amongst a multitude of other insects, amphibians and reptiles. Away from the water, the meadows, shrubberies and woodlands provide another playground for birds and mammals. Warblers, Wrens, Dunnocks and Goldcrest feast on the insect life and diverse flora, while woodpecker, buzzards, owls and roe and Chinese deer are just a few of the regular visitors to the shaded copses of oak, ash, elm and sycamore.
Design Principles – Our brief was to design a landscape with a fishing lodge/ functions suite as a focal point, using design principles that would sensitively reflect the existing landscape. Over 1000 native trees and 4,000 native shrubs were used to revive the area as well putting in new paved and driveway areas. The existing, lake edge had been neglected, and a series of gabion cages were used to formalise the waters edge, being softened by planting a reed bed strip.