CUERDEN VALLEY PARK VISITOR CENTRE AND CAFE
The Trust is in the process of raising £400,000 to build a new eco-friendly Visitors Centre to house a café and a function room (which will also provide a new space for the Park’s established environmental education programme for local schools). The new Visitors Centre, particularly the cafe which will be open 5 days a week, will provide much needed income for the park and increase visitor numbers thereby ensuring the longevity of the Park for generations to come.
The Visitor Centre, designed and overseen by Straw Works (www.strawworks.co.uk) will be self built with the help of local tradesmen and volunteers. The Design concept is driven by the desire not only to minimise the impact of fossil fuel energy reserves during the building phase but also to consume minimal fossil fuel energy during the lifetime of the building. Local materials will be used where possible and those selected will have low embodied energy. The build utilises recycled tyres for the foundation, timber frame, straw bales infill for the walls, sheep’s wool insulation, lime plaster walls and shingles for the roof. Most of the wood required will be sourced from the Park. The building will have a ground source heat pump to provide under floor heating, as well as benefiting from passive solar gain from the large double glazed windows. The café will also be made cosy by a log burning stove and afford great views over the Park from a prominent position near the Arboretum.
The build started in May this year and should complete by early 2016. The Park’s aim is to apply for registration and certification for the Living Building Challenge, an internationally recognised environmental programme.
The Park expects to be the first building in the country accredited!