The Avon Valley local Nature Reserve forms part of the River Avon Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and is a Specialist Area for Conservation (SCA). Located on the edge of Salisbury, the nature reserve is easily accessible from various parts of the city and is a very popular location for walkers.
Sitting on the river flood plain, the site,which lies adjacent to a sports centre, sports fields and open countryside, boasts a wide and varied range of plant and birdlife thanks to its careful management.
An existing wooden boardwalk was destroyed when winter rains flooded the complete area, leaving the previously protected ground prone to high levels of pedestrian traffic.
In consultation with specialist contractor Aquascience Ltd, the city council decided to solve the problem by replacing the original wooden walkway
with a recycled plastic boardwalk that offered a number of specific advantages including:
• Exceptional durability
• Complete resistance to the river and any future flooding
• Long life with minimal maintenance requirements
Initially, 473 metres of the old walkway was replaced in the summer of 2014 and proved highly popular with visitors because they found it pleasant and comfortable to walk (and run) on without the need to add additional grip with materials such as chicken wire.
Such was the success of the initial installation that, in 2015, the council decided to extend the boardwalk by an additional 132 metres to bring it up to the main reserve entrance ,adjacent to the sports fields.
Commented Mark Stollery from Aquascience Ltd: “We were delighted by how well the boardwalk established in just one year from installation. Feedback was extremely good – so much so that local residents were disappointed when we had to close a section for a short period whilst the new extension was completed.”