Olympic Odyssey for Salix

Olympic Park Wetland 2012

Olympic Park Wetland 2012

We are delighted to finally unveil our role in making the Olympic Park a reality, from our initial involvement way back in 2008, right through to the closing ceremony last year.

All of us here at Salix are very proud to have worked to deliver perhaps the greatest sporting venue ever seen in modern Britain.

The timeline for our part in the 2012 Olympic Games began in 2005 when it was announced that London had won the competition to host the games and planning for the new stadia and associated infrastructure began in earnest.

2012 Olympics
2012 Olympics

Olympic Parkland
Olympic Parkland

Growing the wetland plants into coir at Salix Nursery
Growing the wetland plants into coir at Salix Nursery

 

Salix’s Technical Director David Holland looked forward to meeting the challenges posed on bioengineering matters with particular focus on the rivers and wetlands.

Eventually Salix were to be pivotal in the delivery of the largest “soft engineering” project in the UK to date, and it has proven to be the jewel in the crown of Salix’s latest portfolio of work.

Looking back to 2008, the planning was virtually complete and the real tests began. Salix were awarded the contract to undertake the on-site installation of a Wetland Planting Trials scheme, which was successful and lead to our prestigious Tier 2 Contract Award, the only one awarded, to grow virtually every one of the over 350,000 native wetland and wildflower plants for the entire parkland.

Olympic planting trials 2008
Olympic planting trials 2008

Pre-established coir pallets taken on day of installation
Pre-established Coir Pallets taken on day of installation

Phragmites Rhizome establishment underneath mature pre-established Coir Pallet
Phragmites Rhizome establishment underneath mature pre-established Coir Pallet

These plants were grown at our own nursery in Norfolk and were incorporated into both our pre-established Coir Rolls and Coir Pallets and then planted very carefully by teams of experienced installers.

In all over 23,000 metres of pre-established Coir Pallets and Rolls were employed to ensure that the Parklands were a vibrant and viable ecological environment both at the opening ceremony and into the future legacy phase.

All through 2011 and 2012 we continued to work on the North and South Parks, with 2012 seeing our further involvement in the contract to install soft engineering bank protection in the North Park. Together with this work, we won the contract to grow the plants needed for the floating water purification wetlands in the Athletes’ Village. This led to yet more work in the form of two further contracts going into 2013.

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Here are some key facts to consider:

  • 264 Hectares of brownfield land were developed
  • Largest new Parkland in the UK in living memory
  • Key role for Wetlands Landscape in the overall project
  • 8km plus of restored riverbanks
  • Rare wet woodland and amphibian pond installations completed
  • Overall, the largest single bioengineering project ever seen in the UK

Salix’s eight year journey from early design input right through to the final few plants proved to us that not all races are sprints, this one was indeed a marathon!

Here are some of the news stories: