Dowd's Farm Park
Dowd's Farm Park is Hedge End's newest and largest district park covering some 16 acres of open space benefitting residents at both Grange Park and Dowd's Farm developments:
Parkland, Meadow, Lake, Footpaths, Play Facilities, Picnic Area with Seating, Public Art - Sculpture Trail & Jetty, Woodland & Wildlife Areas.
Dowd's Farm was owned by Miss White until her death in 2000 when the farmhouse (grade 2 listed building) and its land were bequeathed to the Salvation Army. The farmland, already surrounded by urban development, was identified as a site suitable for housing and community facilities development. After a public consultation a design brief was adopted by Eastleigh Borough Council in December 2002.
An outline planning consent was permitted in 2004 for housing on the condition that a new primary school, a large park and provision for a community building were included in the development.
The Salvation Army expressed an interest in developing a community building adjacent to the new school and development of this site is under way at present.
Wellstead Primary School was opened in April 2008 and is now a thriving and central part of the local community.
Eastleigh Borough Council's aims for this site:
- Maintainable quality - designed and built to be easy to maintain in good condition
- Physically connect with the local community - Park will provide facilities for present and future residents of the area. Access therefore has to be available from the local area.
- Link with existing network - The new park is only part of the areas open space. Any new facility would have to link into the network of greenways, bridleways, footpaths, that link the existing nature reserve, areas of public open space, access to public transport amd local housing.
- Local ownership of park - Encouragement of local peoples feeling of connnection to the park should be fostered through consultation and further contributions / volunteering 'Friends of Dowd's Farm Park' scheme (tree planting, nature walks etc)
- Attract a wide range of users - provision of facilities that encourage use for a variety of defined user groups
- Provide a distinctive attractive space - Design, construct and maintain a space that people will want to spend time in.
- Sustainability - Promote biodiversity, better use of the water and conservation of energy. Realise and enhance the existing elements and conditions during design and construction. Minimise the virgin material used and maximise the use of recycled materials, locally sourced materials during construction. Minimise waste during the construction and operational phases by re-using and recycling.
In January 2009 Adrian Moakes, a professional artist, worked closely with the Dowd's Farm Park community to create a number of public art installations for Dowd's Farm Park.
Following a number of consultation meetings, exhibitions and workshops together with a comprehensive photographic study and local history research some fantastic designs were chosen to enhance the park.
Inspired by the ideas of the children from Wellstead School, 5 pieces of public art were created and installed along the sculpture trail in Spring 2010.
With the kind help and assistance of a selection of staff from the local 'Best Buy' electronic store the sculptures Barleycorn, Carp Shoal, Axehead, Vessel and Hedges and Houses were installed.
In Autumn 2010, the new habitat jetty was unveiled at the lakeside at Dowd's Farm Park.
Designed by Handspring Designs the team held a number of workshops with local people in August, with the finished design being installed in October 2010.
The final stage of the public art scheme is a youth shelter, designed by artist Ira Lightman with the teenagers from The Commmunity Hub youth group in Hedge End. Ira spent time getting to know the young people of the area and asked them to rate existing youth shelters, looking at the latest designs and designing one that best suited their needs. The shelter was completed in 2011.