The intention of the scheme was to provide a network of suitable paths to allow 'inclusive' access to all existing site facilities and also cater for occasional essential vehicular access for campfire clearance and woodland maintenance, avoiding damage to the root systems of the existing trees.
A full appraisal of the site was carried out to determine the most suitable route for the access path. Following this, a topographical survey was commissioned to provide us with accurate levels along the proposed route.
Where gradients allowed, a 'no dig' ground reinforcement system was used to achieve an even, fully accessible surface, comprising a geotextile mesh to provide structural support and interlocking plastic honeycomb pavers, infilled with crushed stone. Over time, the grasses and woodland floor species have established over the pavers and seamlessly integrate the new path into its existing woodland surroundings.
In steeper areas, where the reinforced system was not appropriate, a timber 'boardwalk' approach was adopted, designed to comply with DDA Regulations, with handrails at appropriate heights for both ambulant and wheelchair users.
In total, nearly 800 metres of paths were constructed providing maintenance access and inclusive pedestrian access to all parts of the site.
Woodland area before redevelopment.
Inclusive access path under construction.
Inclusive access path and boardwalk immediately after construction.
Inclusive access path blending with the woodland setting.
Fort George is a former army base of around 14 acres situated along the River Foyle in Derry~Londonderry. McIlwaine Landscape Architects were included as part of the design team to produce a unique, innovative, mixed use scheme for the site with revitalisation of and links to the riverfront as a key objective.
The Public Realm Masterplan proposed a coherent hierarchy of routes and spaces, hung on a number of important axes allowing 'gateways' to and vistas of the river.
Pedestrian priority was at the forefront of the design concept, enclosing car parking beneath decks, encouraging walking and cycling and creation of a central 'Civic Square' for passive recreation and events. A children's play park and separate skate park were also incorporated in the design.
The main axes were developed as tree lined boulevards of generous width, serving the various buildings, skirting or traversing the main civic square, and eventually terminating at the riverside promenade.
Water features were located in a number of locations, envisaged as multi-level, with cascades and fountain jets enhanced by feature underwater lighting.
Extensive terraced grass area were also incorporated, tilted to maximise enjoyment of the sun, with the potential to accommodate public art features.
Site context and land use map.
Section through Central Civic Square.
Images of Fort George concept.