Last week members of the National Highways and Balfour Beatty project team took time out from working on the upgrade of the busy M25 junction 10 scheme for a day of volunteering in the grounds of Cobham’s stunning Painshill Park.
The team of 15 spent the day working alongside staff at the grade one listed surrey park coppicing areas of laurel. Coppicing is an ancient method of woodland management which involves cutting the trees down to their stumps to allow new shoots to grow. Not only does this extend the life of the trees, but it also increases light to the area which improves biodiversity and provides a haven for wildlife.
Painshill is the beautiful 18th century landscape gardens in Cobham, Surrey which were created by Charles Hamilton as a living painting. The 158-acre site includes woodlands, a serpentine lake, meadows and dramatically placed garden buildings including a ruined abbey, gothic temple, grotto and a rustic Hermitage.
Speaking on the teams’ achievements on the day National Highways regional director, Chris Welby-Everard said: “We were really happy to get our hands dirty for the day, and thoroughly enjoyed our time with the team at Painshill Park. It was great to experience first-hand the wonderful work that goes into maintaining this beautiful and historical landscape.
“We all felt we had made a meaningful contribution and the end of the day came far too soon. It was a great opportunity for the project team to spend time together too after working remotely for so long and I would have no hesitation in recommending others to get involved at Painshill if they have a few hours to spare.”
Paul Griffiths, Director of Painshill, added: “It was a pleasure to have the team from the M25 junction 10/A3 Wisley interchange project at Painshill. We are extremely grateful to them for taking the time to volunteer in the landscape.
“As a small charity Painshill relies on volunteers to protect and maintain our historic site. Volunteering as a corporate group can be a fantastic team building or community engagement exercise and we really hope they have all enjoyed their day outdoors in the beautiful scenery.”
Painshill relies on volunteers to preserve the landscape and open daily to the public, and welcomes groups of volunteers from any type of organisation. Corporate volunteering provides an ideal opportunity for colleagues to come together outside of the office and interact in a new setting. For National Highways and Balfour Beatty the coppicing provided a wonderful team building opportunity, which colleagues thoroughly embraced.
The charity also relies on an army of over 250 volunteers who undertake many different roles including running the ticket desks and gift shop, to gardening and maintenance.
Junction 10 on the M25 is one of the busiest in the country and experiences large queues and heavy congestion on a daily basis. It also has one of the highest recorded collision rates across England’s motorway and major A roads nationally. National Highways is planning a vital upgrade which will improve journeys for hundreds of thousands of drivers who use the junction each day, and reduce collisions by around a third.
The scheme will also involve some of the most extensive environmental work ever carried out by National Highways, restoring over 22 hectares of heathland as well as planting new woodland. The UK’s first ever ‘heathland’ green bridge will link walkers and cyclists to these important habitats for the first time.
National Highways is currently awaiting the Development Consent Order decision to press on with the next stage of the scheme, with a decision expected in November.