Derriford Community Park will cover 146 hectares in the north of the city south of Derriford Hospital. It contains a large area of currently inaccessible farmland, and two designated Local Nature Reserves, Forder Valley and Bircham Valley. The site has a rolling valley topography, which is steep in a number of places. Streams run through the valleys and there are a number of wetland areas. The site used to be part of the Derriford Estate that surrounded Derriford House, built in 1820. The estate included a pheasantry and several orchards, planted woodland and an ornamental pond.
Poole Farm sits at the heart of the community park and currently acts as a gateway for the site; it acts as a brilliant office space and meeting point for out volunteer groups and visitors. The farmland is currently managed as pasture with hedgerows bordering many of the fields. The current Local Nature Reserves contain broadleaved woodlands, with small areas of grassland, and wetland features. The site supports a wealth of wildlife including bats, dormice, deer and badgers as well as ancient woodland. The protection and enhancement of features that support these species will be a key component of the park.
There is a housing development under construction to the northern edge of the park. One of our main aims for the park is to create as much opportunity for voluntary involvement and education as well as allowing the public to enjoy this amazing green space in the city. The site is currently no access but our first stage of footpath creation is due to start soon. Once the logistics of these paths, alongside the proposed Forder Valley Link Road, that will be going through the community park have been arranged, the site will become accessible to the public.
To Contact Poole Farm
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Telephone : Chris Avent on 07919226942
Website : Check Plymouth City Council’s website at https://www.plymouth.gov.uk/poolefarm
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/PooleFarmProject/
Derriford Community Park has been working alongside a filming company and have created our very own video for the Farm. If you’re interested in seeing it then feel free to follow the link:
or go to YouTube and search ‘A natural philosophy – Derriford Community Park’.
IN DETAIL :
Aims of the Park:
• High quality multi-functional green space that provides a new city-wide destination
• Regionally significant environmental education centre offering hands-on learning opportunities in food production, nature conservation and sustainable living for people of all ages and abilities
• Recreation destination that communities and visitors can access for walking, cycling, relaxing and as a way of improving health and well-being
• Large-scale restoration of important habitats such as species-rich grasslands and hedgerows in line with Biodiversity Action Plan targets and will ensure the area becomes part of the network of important green spaces and links the city with the surrounding countryside
• Network of high quality multiuser routes that link the park to the surrounding neighbourhoods and encourage visits by walking and cycling
• Long term maintenance of the park through the development of a sustainable business model administered by a Community Trust
• At the heart of the park will be the ‘one planet living’ centre. The centre will support the park both financially and managerially. Revenue generated from the centre through its use as an environmental education facility for all ages and abilities will resource the management and maintenance of the park.
In March 2016, we began to start work on the ground at the Farm, with our structured volunteer days starting around summer of that year. We now have an excellent group of volunteers who work with us every Tuesday, and some weekends, on a variety of different activities. On top of this, we also have lots of help from visiting school and colleges, as well as Plymouth Environmental Action, a local conservation group. Since the beginning of last year, we have had over 3000 volunteering hours at the site. Some of the work and activities that that we have completed includes:
• Last winter, we planted 4500 trees, which will flourish into new hedgerows across the site, these all consist of native species. They act as natural barriers and provide an excellent habitat for a wide variety of animals. We continue to manage these hedgerows to allow them to grow to their full potential.
• Early this year we planted our community orchard, which contains 222 fruit trees, including apples, pears, plums and cherries of local varieties. We had the local community in mind throughout the planning process and we want them to be involved in the future management and fruit picking process as well as juicing. It is situated next to the proposed area for the ‘one planet centre’, which will conjoin to become the gateway to the park.
• The street services team at Plymouth City Council did a cut of hay last year from some of our fields and we baled them into small round bales. These are on sale throughout the year. It is also a sustainable way of bedding up for our animals and saves getting them delivered to the site. We aim to be self-sufficient in the future, and want to offer an array of products and services to the public.
• At the farm, we have 20 cattle roaming the site, as well as five sheep and a group of chickens. Our cows aid in conservation grazing, meaning that the grass is never eaten too short. This results in a height structure throughout the field, proving better for biodiversity. Our animals are also brilliant for offering an opportunity for volunteers to learn animal based and agricultural skills. This September we also have a new animal care course starting at the farm which is being run through Duchy College
• We also have six beehives on site, three of which have been caught this year from swarms around the farm. We hope to add some more hives to the site, in our orchard, to aid its pollination.
• 200 Christmas trees have been planted which we aim to offer to local communities once they mature in the form of ‘pick your own tree’ and family Christmas events.
We want to reach a point of self-sufficiency at Derriford Community Park, and one of these ways is to sell local produce such as honey, hay bales, free-range eggs, fruit and juice and Christmas trees. The list goes on with more ideas being proposed all of the time. Sustainability is also an issue that we want to address. We have installed solar panels on the farmhouse as well as collection tanks around the farm to reduce the amount of treated water that we use. In addition to this, compost bins and toilets are being installed in the next few months to reduce our waste output.