“What a brilliant course…has to be one of the best for years.” “A really enjoyable course, thanks for all the hard work.” These were just two of the comments from competitors in Kettering Cycling Club’s Mountain Bike event held at Linear Park in May this year. A 90 acre area of public open space that we own and manage as part of Prologis Park Kettering, Linear Park is popular not only with cyclists, but also with many other people who live and work in the wider community.
The Prologis Park development has regenerated land that until about 1974, was used for quarrying ironstone. When we acquired the site, some parts had been returned to agricultural use, while other areas were planted with woodland or had been left to regenerate naturally. One of our first steps was to carry out a full ecological survey and a landscape assessment. We then put in place a comprehensive environmental management plan and we are now helping to increase the area’s biodiversity with new planting at Linear Park and careful monitoring of existing wildlife habitats.
Alongside management of the ecology, we were also keen to provide all year access for local people, so we built a network of paths for walking and cycling across Linear Park. We also installed benches, litter bins and sign posts. A security guard patrols the park in an all-terrain vehicle so if anyone needs assistance, help is never far away.
With fitness enthusiasts in mind, we constructed a timber trim trail – or outdoor gym – and we built two sports pitches with a high specification changing room for our neighbours, the Northamptonshire County Scouts. Continuing the youth theme, the sports pitches are also used by both the girls’ and boys’ teams at Kettering Football Club.
Along with local residents, people working at Prologis Park Kettering enjoy having Linear Park on their doorstep. At the Oxford University Press facility, for example, there are bird watching and walking groups, while bicycles are available for anyone who feels particularly energetic.
The involvement of Kettering CC is one of the latest developments at Linear Park. The club also organises Cyclo-Cross events on site during the winter season because, according to Mark Evans, the Youth Development Officer at Kettering CC, the park provides ideal terrain.
Every time I visit Linear Park, there is something new happening and it is very encouraging to see how much it is valued by local people.