Barnes Park‚ Sunderland

Barnes Park

Designer:

Sunderland City Council

Contractor:

Brambledown Landscapes

Materials:

Porphyry paving and setts with reclaimed granite kerb‚ silver grey granite setts and kerb‚ mixed glacial boulders‚ gabbro boulders and temple setts in pink‚ yellow‚ blue grey‚ silver grey and pink grey.


Details:

This large and very beautiful park was bequeathed to the people of Sunderland in 1909 but was needing some attention. Some sensitive improvements have greatly improved both the accessibility and the visitor experience.

CED collaborated with Sunderland Council from an early stage‚ in order to achieve a top class result within the limits of the available finance. This is the sort of situation in which CED excel‚ where there is flexibility to adjust the design to make the very best use of the materials and resources available.

The park is extensive but with special areas. In between‚ the paths are simple tarmac but needed an edging in keeping with the original Victorian layout. The client was surprised to discover that the simple pin kerbs‚ just 50mm wide with a rounded top were far cheaper in granite than in any man made equivalent. The cafe forecourt was paved in Italian porphyry‚ always an appropriate material in places where there will be spillage of wine‚ coke‚ coffee and food. It is not just a matter of having a low water absorption but‚ where there is likely to be dirt and staining‚ the multitude of rich tones hide the dirt there is. Quite simply‚ the dirt hardly shows at all.

Improving the main entrance was a priority not just to look the part but to signify to passers-by the beauty that could be found within. Hence the use of granite setts for the roadway together with “wheelers” set at the width of a cart’s wheels. The Temple setts are flat and easy to walk on while looking as though they have been in place for years. With the repaired gateway and the surrounding porphyry paving‚ the change was spectacular.

Several areas of the park gained additional features to increase the enjoyment of young children to which the variety of boulders and paving contributed significantly. But money was quite tight and there was still the need to create a great staircase in the woods to link the two levels together. Not long before‚ CED had bought about 1000m of steps from the entrance to Broadgate‚ in the City of London‚ when that entrance was reconstructed. All in a delightful green granite‚ originally from Norway‚ By designing around the size and quantity of material available‚ the steps could be built without any significant cutting with a material that would be totally appropriate in a parkland setting and which would remain free of lichens and algae and so stay slip resistant. The council were so pleased with the product that they bought all that was available and used the remainder for the seaside steps in the first part of the Roker seafront improvements.


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