Rare trees and ‘cleaner water’ at Alexandra Park

(L-R) The Conservation Volunteers' Tim Hills, lead member for environment Warren Davies, volunteers and Dr Owen Johnson

(L-R) The Conservation Volunteers' Tim Hills, lead member for environment Warren Davies, volunteers and Dr Owen Johnson

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Rare trees and cleaner water are just a couple of ways the council has been trying to improve Alexandra Park.

Twenty trees from north Vietnamese mountains have been planted by Hastings Borough Council (HBC) to add to the park’s diverse collection and help protect the rare species.

The Landscape Group's David Henry, lead member for environment Warren Davies, Hastings Borough Councils maintenance contract officer Stuart Alexander, council leader Peter Chowney and Biomatrix' lead designer Galen Fulford

The Landscape Group's David Henry, lead member for environment Warren Davies, Hastings Borough Councils maintenance contract officer Stuart Alexander, council leader Peter Chowney and Biomatrix' lead designer Galen Fulford

And the final stage of water quality improvements is underway with special filters and plants on the ponds to make them cleaner.

Lead member for the environment Warren

“Some of these tree species have never been grown in Britain before and a few are assessed as critically endangered in the wild,” he said.

“By growing them in Hastings, we are continuing to add to the park’s diverse tree collection while contributing to nature conservation on a global scale and, part of the money from purchasing the trees returns to the Vietnamese to help protect rare species in the wild.”

New filtration systems should make the ponds cleaner

New filtration systems should make the ponds cleaner

Alexandra Park holds the most diverse and interesting tree collection of any public park in England, according to HBC.

Cllr Davies thanked Britain’s leading authority on rare trees and volunteer leader for the Biodiversity Action Team, co-ordinated by The Conservation Volunteers (TCV), Hastings-born Dr Owen Johnson for his help in planting the new trees.

He also thanked the ‘intrepid plant-hunters’ Bleddyn and Sue Wynn-Jones for gathering the seeds from Vietnam.

TCV’s Sussex team leader Tim Hills encouraged residents who want to help look after Hastings to get in touch.

The pond edges will be built up to hopefully improve the water quality

The pond edges will be built up to hopefully improve the water quality

“TCV are delighted to be able to help local people take part in this important conservation work in their local green space,” he said.

“As well as tree planting we work with Hastings Borough Council helping look after a number of green spaces around the town and if people wish to join in and help us we are most grateful of the assistance.

“Please visit our website for details www.tcv.org.uk/volunteering.”

Together with partners the Environment Agency and The Landscape Group, Hastings Borough Council is now starting the final phase of water quality improvements at the park.

This work will complete a two year project to improve water quality within the park using a combination of sustainable, mechanical and vegetative solutions to help nature revitalise the waterways.

Last year floating vegetated islands and systems to channel larger volumes of stream water through the lower ornamental ponds were installed.

As a result, water now takes longer to travel through the park and out to sea which is significantly improving the quality of the bathing water at the town’s beaches.

“We need to do everything we can to ensure that the water flowing out on to our bathing beaches is as clean as it can be to meet the required EU standards and to provide a safe, clean bathing facility for residents and visitors to the town,” Cllr Davies said.

“Major successful works have already been carried out at the park but we need to do more.”

Water quality specialists Biomatrix has been building up and planting the pond edges and at White Pond a special filtration and aeration system will be installed.

The main aims are to aerate the water and allow a greater exposure to ultra violet light.

The plants will promote beneficial microbes and root filtration which allows silts and other water born particles to be more readily broken down.

Compressed air will be forced through submerged pipelines – acting like a giant fish tank filter, the water will become more aerated.

And this air will also be used to suck water through natural gravel and the plant filtration systems.

“Visitors to the park will currently see the works taking place but they are essential to ensure better quality water in the park and at the beach, improve biodiversity and to create new habitats,” Cllr Davies added.

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