Pittville Park scheme

Pittville Lake

Pittville Park is the largest ornamental park in Cheltenham and features the magnificent Pump Room and lakes. This park is given a grade 2 listing under the English Heritage register of historic parks and gardens, with the Pump Room as a grade 1 historic building.

Pittville Park won its first Green Flag Award and Green Heritage Accreditation in 2016 and still flies the flag today. The Pittville Park scheme will help to retain this accreditation. The proposal is to desilt sections of the lakes, improve marginal vegetation and stabilise eroding banks. This will improve habitats, water quality and the environment of the lake.

Pittville Park lake desilting and habitat improvements

We continue to improve and maintain the park for the benefit of park users and the environment.

European Union Regional Development Funding to desilt some areas of Pittville Park lakes and undertake habitat improvements.

The proposed work will:

  • reduce flooding downstream
  • reduce bank erosion
  • improve water quality
  • improve wildfowl habitats
  • improve aquatic habitats

Work is being carried out between January and March 2021.

See the location plan and more details in the proposal.

Project update 

All the desilting and habitat improvements were undertaken on time and in budget. The areas will take time to establish and they will be regularly monitored. We have already identified areas where dogs and people are trampling the vegetation. We have installed temporary fencing while the vegetation fully establishes. The wildfowl birds are already appreciating some protection and additional habitats.

Pittville Park meadow proposal

This proposal has come about from previous comments and suggestions from the local community and the council’s corporate plan and commitment to climate change.

The green space department would like your feedback on the position of the meadow areas and any other comments. Consider how you use the space for events, playing, travel through and/or around the space.

Have a look at these maps to see the proposals.

Pittville meadow proposal Area 1

Pittville meadow proposal Area 2

Please send feedback to greenspacedevelopment@cheltenham.gov.uk by 7 September 2020.

The proposal is to:

  • Alter the cutting regime to reduce the fertility of the soil and improve the floriferous diversity of the existing perennial meadows. Only half of these areas will be cut at any one time to retain some meadow for winter feed and habitat. 
  • Rotavate and sow a native perennial meadow seed mix in 3.5m wide swathes across different areas of the park.
  • Change the maintenance regime of the annual meadows so that they don’t have to be re-seeded each year.
  • Prepare the areas without using weed killer (glyphosate)
  • The arisings collected will be used to create a small compost habitat on site, or taken off site for cattle feed or further composting.

In developing this proposal we have considered all the cycling and running routes, pitch and putt, football, walking desire lines and other uses of the space.

The benefits of the proposal

  • Wildflower meadows naturally produce a biodiverse habitat, supporting birds, mammals, bees, butterflies and other invertebrate species
  • Improves the connectivity between habitats
  • The proposal will create an attractive natural wildflower meadow display - see images above
  • Helps to promote physical and mental well-being of the users of the space
  • Dogs tend not to like fouling in long grass
  • The majority of litter will be caught around the perimeter where it can be collected easily
  • Wildflower meadows require less mowing, reducing use of fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions
  • Can reduce flash flooding by retaining and releasing water more slowly than regularly mown grass
  • Reduces soil erosion

Meadow creation and maintenance awareness

  • The new areas will be rotavated and seeded in October leaving them as bare earth (muddy). The seed will quickly start germinating through the winter and into spring when it will start greening up. It will then flower into the summer. In the first year this may be slightly patchy while the mix establishes.
  • The meadow will be hay cut in July/Sept to promote good growth year on year. Some areas will be cut and collected in the spring. Some flowers will still be in bloom when the meadow is cut. If it is not cut at this time, the dominant weeds and grasses will start overtaking. After the meadow has been cut, the area will be hay colour (yellow/brown) for a short while.
  • The plants will still be growing in September so the meadow areas will green up again before winter. In early spring, the areas will be grass cut to remove the first flush of grass. This is to give the meadow flowers a chance to dominate over the stronger grasses or plants. Year 2 will see a more diverse display of flowers than Year 1. The ongoing monitoring and maintenance of these areas will help this to continue. It will take longer to establish the meadows because we are not using weed killer to prepare the site.
  • We hope to use the seed from these meadows to support the creation of more meadows elsewhere in Cheltenham in the future.

Project update

Preparations and seeding was completed in 2020. We saw a lovely modest display of meadow species through the summer. These meadows will improve over time and will evolve with the changes in the seasons we are experiencing. Go out and explore what little gems you can see in the meadows.