Wychwood Park / Ancient Woodlands
Case study

Wychwood Park / Ancient Woodlands

One of the core objectives of sustainable design is to eliminate or minimise the impact of the works on the environment.  This can often be challenging, particularly when dealing with heavily constrained sites, due for example to the presence of extensive vegetation or complex/sensitive ecology.

On the Wychwood Park project in Haywards Heath, we explored different options to try and reduce the impact of the proposed drainage works on a sensitive Ancient Woodland.

Transport Planning
Infrastructure Design
Environmental Assessment


The challenge to achieve sufficient storage during heavy rainfalls

The planning approved drainage strategy utilised an existing pond located in a densely vegetated area for attenuation as part of the strategy to achieve greenfield discharge rates.  Although above ground storage features (such as ponds, basins etc.) are preferred to underground storage structures (e.g. traditional plastic crates), they still require excavations and/or building up ground levels to achieve required depths and volumes.

In this instance, the main concern was due to the weight on tree roots of a proposed embankment required to achieve a certain water level in the pond, and therefore sufficient storage during heavy rainfalls.

How our drainage design offered a solution

We explored different options to avoid overloading tree roots, including the use of light weight headwalls and orifice plates, instead of more disruptive pre-cast concrete chambers housing flow control devices.

Thanks to effective communication with all stakeholders and using our expertise knowledge in 3D modelling and drainage design, we were ultimately able to identify a solution that removed the need to use the existing pond for attenuation purposes by relocating the required storage volume into two detention basins located in the vicinity of the Woodland. The only works required consisted of increasing the size of the basins to accommodate the additional volume.  This resulted in only a slightly larger land take, leaving the Ancient Woodland completely undisturbed.

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