Enhancing visitor experience at local nature reserve

Contractors demonstrate community commitment

Over the last year, Balfour Beatty, contractors on the Hinkley Connection Project, have been working in Portbury Wharf Nature Reserve on upgrades to Portishead substation and installing new underground cables.

As well as delivering on the construction programme, the team has looked for ways that it can help enhance the area for visitors and keep disruption to a minimum, working alongside the site warden.

First, following construction of a haul road to the east of the nature reserve which crossed Wharf Lane, one of the main reserve thoroughfares, the team made good on its commitment to  fully reopen Wharf Lane before schools broke up for summer.  This was achieved on 16 July, ensuring that the reserve remained accessible during the school summer holidays.

As a thank you to local people and visitors for their continued patience the team have also made improvements to the eastern corner of the reserve. Visitors can now enjoy and benefit from ground works to the Seasonal Path, new fencing, and new features including a permanent information noticeboard, directional signpost and wildlife information board on Wharf Lane.

Balfour Beatty’s care has ensured these essential works have been completed with the least possible disruption to visitors and wildlife

The new noticeboard is being used by site warden, Iain Macfarlane, to promote the ‘dog ranger of the month’ initiative, which seeks to encourage dog owners to watch their pets while out walking and follow four pledges aimed at protecting local wildlife. Iain says, “The nature reserve is a popular local open space with fragile habitat and Balfour Beatty’s care and attention to detail has ensured these essential works have been completed on time and with the least disruption to visitors and wildlife as possible”.

More recently, the Balfour Beatty team have been instrumental in the rescue and restoration of the ‘Splash’ sculpture, which in the past had been a popular feature in the reserve but had been lost for over a decade after dragging its moorings. The team provided the equipment and personnel needed to restore it to its former glory and position on Swan Lake and was unveiled at the 2021 Portishead Arts Festival.

The project team have proactively been helping to keep the reserve clean and free of rubbish by coordinating regular litter picks. On their most recent litter pick they collected four bags of rubbish!  The team will continue working with the site warden to support future litter picks when they return to complete their work in 2022.