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Country Parks and Nature Reserves 

Scrattons Farm Eco Park 

In the beginning

By the late 1990s the neglected and redundant allotments lying to the rear of Shaw Gardens site had become completely inaccessible and overgrown with brambles, the drainage ditches which crossed the site were overgrown and full of rubbish and the perimeter fencing had virtually rusted away.

The Planning Section consulted with the Scrattons Farm Residents Association and it was decided that the site should be developed as an ecological park.

This would create an area for informal recreation, by clearing the ditches, creating areas of open grass, leaving blocks of bramble and preserving existing shrubs and trees. The overall aim being to create a diverse range of habitats for plants, birds, insects and mammals.


Getting started 

In Autumn 2000 London Riverside Limited awarded £125,000 of London Development Agency funding to London Borough of Barking and Dagenham and the Civil Engineering Department was commissioned to start work.

Work started on site in November 2000, huge areas were cleared of bramble while others were left to protect and conserve wildlife. A family of foxes remained on-site throughout the project viewing the work with interest, while mountains of refuse, rusty cars, old tyres and building rubble were removed.


Making it grow 

After many months spent clearing the site, work began on building the Eco Park and the grass seeding, shrub and tree planting were completed in December 2001.

The finishing touches have included the planting of native trees and shrubs such as alder, poplar, wild roses, hawthorn, blackthorn and dogwood to form additional wildlife habitats as well as providing a screen between houses, the railway line and neighbouring industrial developments.


Access 

Safe access to the park for local people and protecting the area from scramblers was high on the list of priorities. New fencing, maintenance gates, a squeeze barrier and a radar-lock controlled pedestrian gate have been installed, all of which are accessible from a newly surfaced path from Morrison Road.

The additional unexpected cost for replacing a culvert in one of the drainage ditches was funded by the London Development Agency in March 2002.


Oasis 

The Eco Park is now an oasis where flora and fauna can flourish and local residents can go to relax and enjoy. Grass and wildflowers are thriving and fish have already returned to the dredged drainage ditches, which will also provide a haven for waterside plants, frogs and toads.

A diverse range of habitats has been created to encourage all kinds of wildlife and the park will be managed to sustain these all year round. The whole Eco Park, with the exception of the brambles and selected areas along the ditch, will be cut short once a year in the late summer.

This strategy will create a wildlife haven, giving shelter to nesting birds, insects and small mammals for the majority of the year and encouraging a wide range of wildflowers to grow. The nettles and bramble 'patches' are a vital source of food for caterpillars, moths and butterflies.

In the autumn, the blackberries and other fruit and nuts on the hawthorn, hazel, blackthorn, wild roses and on the old apple trees will be in abundance, feeding the birds, insects and mammals well into the winter months.

Scrattons Farm Eco Park opened on 23 July 2002.

Environment

Barking and Dagenham Direct

C/o Civic Centre

Dagenham

RM10 7BN

 

Phone: 020 8215 3000

Email: 3000direct@lbbd.gov.uk

 

Scrattons Farm Eco-Park