Maiden Castle Sports Park


Client: Durham University

Location: Durham

Construction Value: £31.7m

Durham University aspires to compete sustainably at the highest levels of British University Sport and support increasing levels of student, staff and local community participation in sport and physical activity. Key to this was the creation of a Sports Park with direct links to the City, to deliver an extensive refurbishment and redevelopment of the existing sporting facilities at Maiden Castle, together with the construction of a new sports complex.

OOBE was appointed by Galliford Try to develop landscape proposals from Stage 4, through to completion for this multi-million pound development. The former Maiden Castle facility suffered from a lack of adequate parking and dedicated pedestrian routes, as well as poor external legibility. The proposals sought to improve pedestrian access into and within the site together with additional cycle storage. Remodelling of the entrance and exit to the site would give safe access to the improved car and coach park. To make the site more cohesive, an extensive renewal of external landscape and infrastructure was undertaken. This would be respectful to the historically sensitive setting.

Creating a hub for sport with the help of a historically sensitive landscape design

The development of swale planting, featuring perennial ornamental grasses, set about enhancing the atmosphere of the Sports Park and provide beauty throughout the seasons. New native hedge planting along the A177 road will blend in with existing hedges. The establishment of a biodiverse and beautiful hedgerow will sustain native birds including starlings, thrushes, blackbirds and redwings. It is also estimated than 150 species of insects, a rich food source for birds such as wrens and blue tits will be supported. New native forest trees border the additional sports pitches and A177. Along the picturesque River Wear, traditional river tree species feature.

OOBE’s successful project management of road and footpath, car and coach park construction and the implementation of planting across the whole site, provides a relaxing and informal landscape. The generous native planting retains the relative openness of the site and helps to soften the view of the new buildings.  This attractive and welcoming environment will support biodiversity and help Durham University achieve its goals of creating a hub for sport and physical activity for students, employees, and the wider community.

“Our business has a strong track record of producing excellent higher education buildings to deliver the full range of facilities that the students of today expect. We are therefore delighted with the high-quality work provided by OOBE Ltd on this exciting project.”

Paul Mares, Senior Project Manager at Galliford Try

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