Work on stage 2 of the ‘Master Plan’ to improve Cherry Hinton Hall grounds is finally set to start later this year. The £400,000 allocated for improvements comes from so called ‘section 106’ local developer contributions. After a lengthy series of consultations and City Council approvals, amongst other things the grounds will shortly see brand new toilet facilities and a café, a new tarmac path near the Cherry Hinton Road entrance, restoration of the original parterre and rose gardens in front of the Hall and removal of the sequoias, various tree-thinning and the creation of a long grass and wildflower area in the southeast corner.
However, the first changes visitors will see are works to improve the watercourse. The pond and brook originally formed part of a wonderful chalk stream (there are only about 400 in the world), fed from Giant’s Grave. Ideally, chalk streams are narrow and fast-flowing, allowing the unique wildlife habitats they support to flourish, and work to improve Cherry Hinton Brook in this way has already been undertaken downstream. Once this year’s Folk Festival is over, a big project will start in order to dredge the pond (last undertaken in 1962) and enlarge the island (creating a new, boggy wildlife habitat), cut trees back, and re-create a fast-flowing watercourse through the main body of the pond. Native aquatic plants and reed-beds will appear, as will an in-line fish channel to allow fish to navigate past the weir once again.