December 1, 2022
Commercial land must be functional, but it can also be beautiful and environmentally beneficial. The owners of Squab Farm came to us because they wanted to transform part of their site next to the commercial hub into a green space for the community based at Squab Hall’
The Squab Hall commercial hub sits within a 700 acre farm, and it contains buildings with a variety of uses from farming operations and storage units to commercial offices and work spaces.
We all know that pleasant surroundings, and access to green space while we are working, makes us far more productive and happier in our work. The owners wanted to give staff somewhere where they were would be proud to work, and an environment that would benefit both their mental and physical health.
With this in mind, our task is to develop a habitat rich green space, with a mosaic of copses and meadows. There will be walking routes as well as a central open area, designed for events and activities. Not only will this be a lovely place to spend time, it will also do much to improve biodiversity, and combat climate change.
Planning a project such as this, with such ambitious and varied aims, needs careful consideration. It is essential we choose the correct trees and plants, to meet the client’s needs, and ensure the site is sustainable into the future.
The site sits alongside a busy road (Harbury Lane) and we have planned a wide planting strip to screen the road. Shrubs such as Hazel,Hawthorn, Blackthorn, Dogwood, and Crab apple will line the existing hedge, with large and medium trees along the central spine. We want to make the scheme as varied as we can, so these will include Oak, Hornbeam, Lime, Sweet chestnut, Field maple,Wild cherry, Rowan.
The main green space will be a mosaic of meadow, interspersed with areas of woodland copse. The copses will be a combination of medium and large trees, with some shrub clusters around the edges. We will use Oak, Hornbeam, Lime and Sweet chestnut to provide the main focal points, with smaller trees such as Wild cherry, Rowan and Crab apple.
The meadow will be planted with native grasses and wildflowers. Not only will this be a beautiful place for staff to spend time, it will also be a delightful haven for wildlife. The meadow will be a rich mix of grassland, providing habitat for butterflies, moths and bees. It will also provide cover for ground nesting birds such as skylarks.
Songbirds will find security in the shrub clusters and hedgerows, encouraging wrens, robins and finches to build their nests.
At the centre of the space will be a central lake. This feature will have shallow edges, to encourage native aquatic plant species and other wildlife.
Once established the green space will be in view from the main driveway approach from the Harbury Lane, vastly improving the site’s setting.
Native trees and shrubs will extend along the western approach drive, laid out to avoid compromising the views reaching across the countryside.
Hawthorn, Blackthorn, Hazel, Field maple, Wayfaring, and Spindle will be used in small clumps, with gaps between them for the views; this layout will complement the existing hedgerow on the north side of the drive. The hedgerow will be continued alongside the staff car park as a screen blending it into the wider landscape.
Emlyn Evans, Director of Squab Hall, says "The landscaping work is going to make a huge difference to the look and feel of the commercial part of our site. It will enable us to showcase some of the environmental work that we do in the fields around the wider site and it forms the start of our longer term plan of planting additional trees and hedgerows for future generations."
Over the next few years, similar landscape and environmental improvements are planned over the wider farm. So, over the coming decades, these landscape improvements will be of significant benefit to both local people and ecology.