In the 1990s the south-west corner of Victoria Park was developed as an ecological area – designed to encourage more natural habitat growth and support an expanded range of local bio-diversity. The area of the park set aside for this is the corner of the park lying roughly to the left of the cycle track as you cycle towards the university from Queen’s Road, down to the recycling area at the park gates on Victoria Park Road, and up to the path near to the old lower play area.
The area itself comprises a number of spinneys and grassy areas along with a more extensive wooded area. A number of bird and bat boxes have been installed over the years and some ‘bug hotels’ have been created at different times. Part of the area is a wild-life pond supplied by natural water drainage from the park, aided by a land drain. Two sides of the pond now have boardwalks which have proved popular places for younger people to sit and chat, watch the world go by, and do a few other things as well. A nature and trim trail for children has recently been added to the eco-area.
Some years ago the area was beginning to be overgrown and there were concerns about anti-social behaviour and public safety arising from this misuse. In response much of the lower growth in and around the spinneys was removed in order to create better sight lines across the main parts of the area, particularly those close to the cycle track and path.
A commemorative seating bench was added to this area recently and the Friends Group has been active in developing this area in the last two years. Funding for an extension to the boardwalk was obtained which now better defines the pond boundaries and also provides a new walking route through the area. We also obtained funding for a nature and trim trail for children to enjoy which was installed in October 2016. This trail is positioned to be visible from the new play area so that children using one will naturally move on to the other as well. Very shortly some log seating will be installed and also some log piles created in the spinneys to provide habitats for insects.
The eco-area has been one of our priorities and we will continue to develop it in future years.