Hard surfaces such as roads, paths and driveways offer convenient and accessible travel but they can also contribute to surface runoff, removal of green spaces and pollutant build up in our waterways. By Depaving we can remove unnecessary hard surfaces and restore them to green spaces for people and wildlife to enjoy. Read about our latest project and how we have transformed a once grey community centre outdoor space into a flourishing one.

Looking back into March 

March has been a productive and successful month for the Rivers Team with two of our projects (Depave UK and River Friendly Shropshire) coming to a close. Throughout these two projects we have and will still continue to make a difference to our environment, educate and inform those around us and inspire people to do their bit for their community or river.  

This issue we will focus on Depave UK which has provided Hub on the Hill community centre, in Telford with a brand new multi-purpose community garden. It has been specially designed to conserve water from the buildings roof, provide a home for wildlife and be a place where people can relax and connect with nature. The garden demonstrates a variety of ideas which will hopefully give people a refreshed look on what they can do in their garden, whether big or small.

River Reflector

What is Depave?

Depave is a phase coined in Oregon, USA but they have allowed the Shropshire Wildlife Trust to use their logo and create ‘Depave UK’. Depave is all about the removal of unnecessary hard surfaces such as roads, paths and driveways. Although essential to everyday life, these man- made improvements can be extremely damaging to urban and rural areas in a number of ways.

Firstly, impermeable surfaces (surfaces that don't allow fluid to pass through) restrict water from been absorbed into the ground. This can lead to accelerated runoff which may contain high concentrations of pollutants that contaminate our rivers. In urban areas, paved surfaces can make up 50-90% of the environment and some studies have shown that paving more than just 10-20% of the landscape has an impact on water quality for the area. By removing paved areas that are not needed, water can naturally soak away into the ground.

In places where there are high concentrations of paved surfaces, the air may be significantly warmer then the surrounding area itself (heat island effect), which can lead to health issues including heat exhaustion, heat stroke and dehydration. Replacing unnecessary hard surfaces with green spaces can improve people’s connectivity with the natural environment, improve air quality and improve people’s mental and physical health. To find out more go to their website: https://depave.org/about

River Reflector

Transforming  Hub on the Hill 

The Hub is a bustling community centre situated in Sutton hill, Telford. It provides a crucial support system for the locals, and hosts a range of activities for people of all ages. Unfortunately for the hub, most of their outdoor area was tarmac and majority of their drain pipes carrying rain water from the roof was creating surface runoff, leading to flooding in the children’s playground and on the paths. Our goal was to redirect the water back into the soil and create a place for the community to enjoy nature.


Wildlife friendly and water saving methods used at Hub on the Hill

Thanks to all the hard working volunteers, we managed to remove unwanted tarmac, create new raised bed, move soil into the new beds and plant new shrubs and plants in under 4 weeks. Other features in the garden include: 

  • A bug hotel made completely from recycled materials to provide a home for insects
  • Green roof on top of the container to provide food for pollinating insects and absorb rain water
  • Rain chain used instead of a downpipe for a more attractive and unique look
  • Scattered logs with drilled holes to create habitats for bees and other insects
  • Raised beds were made to collect water from the roof and allow it to filter into the soil instead of going straight down the drain
  • Flowers and shrubs were planted in a small depression to create a rain garden. Rain gardens are an effective way of temporarily holding and soaking rain water runoff into the soil. This is also an effective method to capture water from driveways, patios and lawns.

If you’re looking for ideas to conserve and filter water in your garden and increase biodiversity why not give these methods a try? Most of the featured ideas are easy to construct and are inexpensive.

End of Project

On 27/03/19 the Rivers Team held a launch event at the community centre to celebrate the new garden as well as all the hard work volunteers and staff put in. A tree was planted to mark the occasion and the garden management was officially passed over to the centre for them to make it their own.  

River Reflector

End of project event at Hub on the Hill community centre

Thank you

The Rivers Team would like to say thank you to all the volunteers that were involved in creating Hub on the Hill’s new garden. Your help was greatly appreciated and your hard work went along way. Also thank you to the Environmental Agency who have funded this project and made a big impact to the community.

River Reflector

Upcoming Events 

Tuesday 16th April, 7pm there will be a river wildlife talk at Shropshire Wildlife Trust  Visitor Centre. £4 non members £3 for members. Click the link for more information: https://www.shropshirewildlifetrust.org.uk/events/2019-04-16-river-wildlife-talk-shrewsbury-branch