ARK (Action for the River Kennet) has been working with schools and the community to build gardens that celebrate water and landscapes that can manage water. As climate change becomes a reality, we are experiencing more torrential downpours and longer dry spells. Combined with an increasing population and an already over-stretched drainage and sewer network we need new ways to manage water to reduce flooding and pollution and increase resilience to drought. The generic term for this is SuDS (sustainable drainage systems) and they have a key part to play in reducing flooding and pollution.
At St Michael’s School, Aldbourne there are parts of the playground that can’t be used after rain because they flood. The site is steeply sloping with few permeable places where rain can soak in. This means water rushes off into a drainage network that can’t cope with the volume of water and valuable plays space becomes un-usable.
The rainscape project will intercept rain water and provide space for it to soak slowly into the ground, and at the same time create imaginative, beautiful and biodiverse play space.
Designer Wendy Allen has worked closely with staff and pupils at school to identify their needs.
The project relies heavily on working with the school and village community to design and build the new gardens. Volunteers will be key to successful installation. We will run a workshop on creating rain gardens at home, so that if people want to copy ideas that they see in the playground they can find out how to do it.
The children have already been busy creating elements for ‘rain chains’ to guide water down into a rain garden, and ceramic flowers which will decorate the meadow area in winter when there are no natural flowers.
In addition to fundraising for financial support we welcome donations of materials and specific plants.