24th February 2006
Shaping the Landscape
The Blackwater Valley Road (A331) was conceived in the 1960s, started in 1985 and completed in 1996 and its effects on the natural environment and local communities were huge – not really surprising when over 10 miles of high speed dual carriageway is fitted into such a narrow valley. But it is only now, 10 years later, that the overall impact such a major construction has had on the landscape can be assessed.
Badgers, Bats and Bulldozers – the story of the Blackwater Valley Road is the subject of an illustrated talk to be given by staff of the Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership, on Thursday 16th March at the Canal Centre ,Mytchett starting at 7.30pm. It will tell the fascinating story of the road, the Valley and its wildlife, explaining what was done to limit the damage caused by such a major road construction, how the impact was measured, the effect on the valley’s wildlife populations and lessons to be learnt by other road-building schemes.
The story actually starts long before the road was built, back in the 1960s when it is was first recognised that such a major construction would have a dramatic impact on the local environment through habitat loss and fragmentation and noise and it was partly for these reasons that the Blackwater Valley Project (the fore runner of the Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership) was set up.
To look at the Blackwater Valley today few people would realise that when the A331 was built the River Blackwater was diverted, several lakes either infilled or restructured, an aqueduct to carry the Basingstoke Canal built, many plant species transplanted and amphibians and reptiles captured and released after new habitats had been created for them. In fact the road was one of the first to be subject to an Environmental Impact Assessment, which included an extensive programme of environmental mitigation measures that accompanied the construction.
Don’t miss this fascinating talk which is part of their ‘Discover the Blackwater Valley 2006 Programme’ designed to encourage residents within the Backwater Valley area to learn more about the wildlife and countryside on their doorstep. Anyone interested in the complete programme can visit the website www.blackwater-valley.org.uk or ring 01252 331353.
For more information contact:
Christine Reeves, Visitor Promotions Officer on 01252 331353.
The Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership (BVCP) is funded by the County, District and Parish Councils along the River Blackwater. It works to promote community action in conservation and recreation and to protect the Valley for the enjoyment and well being of the whole community.