School plans grounds redevelopment on 100ha estate

Oundle School near Peterborough is embarking on a Sports Development MasterPlan.

Nick Tebbs, head of grounds and gardens at Oundle School, left, with Lely’s Stewart Jeffs
Nick Tebbs, head of grounds and gardens at Oundle School, left, with Lely’s Stewart Jeffs

The aim of the Sports Development MasterPlan is to ensure that there is sufficient provision and diversity of high quality sporting facilities to cater for the School’s 1,350 pupils.

Grounds and gardens head Nick Tebbs said: "It is the intention to carry out a drainage and levelling exercise across all the school’s pitches over the next few years. In support of cricket, which along with rugby is played by girls as well as boys, the School has recently built a new Cricket Pavilion, and the first XI outfield has been laser levelled and drained.

"New practice nets have been built in an enclosure with ten natural and ten artificial turf practice strips. This runs alongside the development of two new Astroturf pitches, and when these are completed, the existing natural turf hockey pitches can be used for rugby and football. The Development MasterPlan also includes the construction of twelve netball courts and an indoor eight court sports centre with a 50m swimming pool."

The school decided to replace its old agricultural and industrial tractors with two Lely-distributed Turfcare 50hp TYM T503s, both with cabs and one with hydrostatic transmission, and a 35hp T353.

Tebbs said: "We were looking for well-equipped tractors that were mechanically robust with proven components and well thought out operator platforms. The two 50hp tractors replace a 1987 MF40E and 1984 MF240. They will be used for heavy tasks such pulling three and five unit trailed gangs, spiking and loader work."

With a regeneration project of the 4.4ha Heron Rogers Wood also underway, these TYMs will be working elsewhere too.

The regeneration of the wood, which was left unmanaged for a number of years, will see the planting of 60 per cent of major tree species such as oak, birch, cherry and sycamore, and 40 percent as minor species of holly, yew, field maple and crab apple, as well as additional shrub species. Woodland floor plants will be introduced, and habitat creation projects in order to increase insect life.

The replanting scheme will complement other conservation areas on the school‘s 100ha estate, which is scattered around the town of Oundle, including the Laxton Junior School pond conservation area, and the SciTec pond and grassy bank. There is also a proposal for woodland to be expanded into a neighbouring field to further encourage wildlife diversity.

Oundle has 22 full-time staff, including eight grounds staff and 13 gardeners.

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