Greenwich Park restoration work completed after hosting Olympics

Team overcomes wet and frozen weather to finish post-Olympics restoration at Greenwich Park.

Greenwich Park: works paid for by London Organising ComĀ­mittee of the Olympic & Paralympic Games - image: The Royal Parks
Greenwich Park: works paid for by London Organising ComĀ­mittee of the Olympic & Paralympic Games - image: The Royal Parks

Contractor Turfsoil has completed restoration work at Greenwich Park following last year's Olympics and Paralympics after battling exceptionally poor weather.

The park hosted equestrian events and held a temporary arena held up by 3,000 pillars driven into the ground and a cross-country track with 42 jumps.

A total of 400,000 people used the venues during last summer's games.

The track was drill seeded in October by contractor SIRI but the rest of the work was completed by Turfsoil, which has held the maintenance contract at the park since 1993.

Led by contracts manager Mike Cheney, who delayed his retirement to complete the job, the team "Blecavated" and scarified the site before levelling it. However, it had to ensure that World War Two gun emplacement markings and other architectural features were retained.

Cheney said: "It was like a building site - mud everywhere. There were times when it was freezing but everyone worked together and it went OK. It looks better now than it has done for years."

The team laid 3.5ha of turf with two deliveries a day when weather allowed. It had to juggle progress with protecting the turf from becoming frozen or waterlogged.

Park manager Graham Dear said the team used riceport, a standard seed mix, so the new turf would match existing grass at the park. It was grown at Romney Marsh, Kent, in sandy soil similar to that in Greenwich.

The work was paid for by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic & Paralympic Games, which gave extra money when work cost more than estimated.

Dear said: "The Olympics was a great experience and it couldn't have gone better. The restoration was a challenge because of the weather but the team did really well."

Herbaceous border Designer appointed

Greenwich Park bosses have appointed Chris Beardshaw to design a 200m herbaceous border, thought to be the longest in London.

The border had become infected with weeds, which parks staff had cut out, planting an annual Olympic seed mix.

Park manager Graham Dear said: "We want the best herbaceous border in country, which is why we commissioned him to do it."

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