Upton is set to become bigger and better as work began this summer to add new walks, harbour views and recreation space to expand the Country Park estate.
Panorama of the new area at 11th August 2016
Fields to the south and south-east of the Park estate are being converted in 4 phases over the next few years.
In total, approx 30 hectares (75 acres) of the farmland next to Upton Country Park is being converted into new public open space for everyone to enjoy. This is Phase Two, Phase One opened to the public in spring 2015 (details below). Phase Three will open up the higher fields.
Phase Two 2016-17
Phase 2 of the expansion project is now complete! On 23rd July we officially opened up 6 hectares (nearly 15 acres) of new meadowland overlooking the wetlands and shoreline of Holes Bay SSSI, and which includes:
- new views of Holes Bay
- a network of paths
- wildlife and bird watching areas
- a splash stream where dogs can access and enjoy the water, and
- a giant picture frame!
Catering for all users new tracks now connect up with the Holes Bay cycle route providing better cycling links to Poole and Hamworthy.
Phase One 2014-15
Phase One created an additional 12 hectares (30 acres) of new grassland, woodland and water meadow has been created, ideal for wildlife, dog walkers and park visitors alike.
The new area was officially opened to the public by Poole’s Mayor, Councillor Peter Adams, on 14th March 2015. It is a designated ‘dogs off lead’ space; a fenced Dog Training Area, and a new 24-space ‘dog-walkers’ car park were completed that same summer.
The new parkland included:
- New pathways
- New benches and picnic tables
- A wildflower meadow
- New views across our wonderful landscape
- Access to the stream – with two bridges and stepping stones to cross it
- Fingerposts to help people navigate their way around the new space
Background to the project
Poole is growing and has to accommodate 10,000 new homes by 2026. As part of the planning process it was identified that mitigation would need to be provided to prevent residents of those new homes having an adverse impact on existing internationally important open spaces, such as the Dorset heathlands.
It was recognised that a major new recreational space would be needed to draw new residents away from Upton Heath SSSI, and that the new space would need to fulfil certain semi-natural criteria in order to be successful. The main purpose was to provide public open space for walking, and particularly for dog walkers to be able to let dogs off-lead. The space was also required to meet a range of standards and features (such as car parking and signed access points) as agreed with Natural England.
The new space at Upton Country Park is created from what was farmland. We are working closely with the farmer to help keep Upton Park Farm as a successful working farm.
The project is entirely funded by ‘Developer Contributions’ (also known as S106 contributions) which are collected by the Council from the developers of building projects in Poole and used to mitigate the extra demands created on local facilities.