Residents enjoy River Sowe improvements
Published by Craig Downs for Keepmoat in Housing and also in Communities, Environment, Local Government
Volunteers walking between the Alan Higgs Centre and Wyken Centre
A section of footpath along Coventry’s River Sowe has been cleaned up and widened for local people to use and enjoy as part of a major West Midlands regeneration scheme.
The 1km section of the river path close to the Spirit Quarters redevelopment is now accessible to cyclists and walkers - thanks to support from local development consortium BKW (Bovis Homes, Keepmoat and Westbury Partnerships).
BKW is currently working with Coventry City Council, Whitefriars Housing, Moat House Community Trust and the Homes & Communities Agency on the £360m redevelopment of North Coventry’s Wood End, Henley Green and Manor Farm estates.
A £360 million masterplan will see the construction of 3,300 new homes, as well as the delivery of environmental improvements to benefit all those who live in the area.
With this in mind, the development consortium has been working closely with the Sowe Valley Project, a Warwickshire Wildlife Trust coordinated project funded by Natural England and the Big Lottery, which engages local residents to improve the river corridor, surrounding green space and increase opportunities for their enjoyment.
The recent footpath improvements meant a community relay walk - inspired by the 2012 Olympics – took place in June where nearly 100 people took part in the 11-mile walk alongside volunteer walk leaders, Sowe Valley volunteers and local police community support officers. The relay walk was a joint initiative between the Sowe Valley Project and Coventry City Council’s Healthy Walks team and was supported by over 30 volunteers.
Anna Squires, Sowe Valley Co-Ordinator at Warwickshire Wildlife Trust said: “The Sowe Valley Relay walk was a great opportunity to showcase the wonderful work the Sowe Valley Volunteers have achieved along the river from Whitley to Longford, including Wood End. Having the new pedestrian and cycle pathway along the Sowe Valley Parkland in Wood End ready for the walk was greatly appreciated by all the walkers, walk leaders and staff. The new footpath is the first big sign of the transformation this river side parkland will be getting over the coming months and years and it will hopefully offer a wonderful space for both people and wildlife to enjoy.”
Staff from Keepmoat worked hard during heavy rain to ensure the footpath was ready in time for the walk. The event follows other environmental initiatives carried out as part of the Spirit Quarters project in partnership with the Sowe Valley Project. Wildlife spotting events have been held and residents have made bat and bird boxes to put up along the river or take home to their own gardens.
Keepmoat’s Project Manager, Richard Moore, said: “Building a new community at Spirit Quarters is about more than just bricks and mortar. New homes are a vital part of the regeneration project, but the space in which those homes are located is equally important. Vibrant communities need access to green space and the work of the Sowe Valley Project is creating vital new opportunities for people to enjoy their local environment.
“Together, we’re also ensuring redevelopment work is carried out in a way which protects and preserves the important wildlife habitats along the Sowe Valley. The footpath improvements we’ve delivered along the riverbank are the latest part of these ongoing efforts. The areas we’re working in are blessed with natural assets and we’re keen to do everything we can to ensure these play a big part in Spirit Quarters’ future.”