OVERVIEWThe primary aim of our Events is to encourage more people to discover, visit, and enjoy the Park, but there is also an element of fund-raising behind some of them. Such funds help to finance improvements at the Park, many of which deploy volunteer work parties. Many of these Projects are grant-funded, though grants are usually awarded on the basis of 'partial match funding' - i.e., we need to use money that we have raised to part-fund the necessary materials, and sometimes specialist support.
Many of the older projects pre-date the original launch of our website in 2008, and for those improvements in particular, the only record that we have are reports within appropriate issues of our Skylarks Newsletters; for the more recent projects, on this website we also have, for example, expanded photo galleries, to which links below will take you.
Litter Picks at the Wick Country ParkOrganised Litter Picks have been a regular event at the WCP since around 2005. Initially, they were managed by the Council's on-the-spot representative, the Park Ranger, who organised the many willing volunteers to tackle all sorts of unpleasant, but very rewarding pursuits, including wading in the lake and scrambling through hedgerows in order to 'bag' many lazily discarded items. More recently, since a major reorganistion of the deployment of the Parks & Countryside employees, the Council has stepped back from organising these projects, but fortunately the Wickford Wombles have filled the gap.
For full details, please visit this page (opens in a new window).
Tree Planting Projects 2011, 2012, 2021, 2022There have been four different major tree-planting projects at the Wick Country Park since the Park was first opened to the Public back in 2002. For more details, please visit this page (opens in a new window).
- In November 2011, the Friends secured a total of 105 indigenous tree samplings through a scheme organised by The Woodland Trust, and a working party of Friends planted them.
- In March 2012, the Basildon & Wickford Lions Club (sadly, no longer in existence) kindly sponsored the purchase of 12 indigenous trees, and a working party of Friends planted them.
- In March 2021, following a collaboration between the Wickford Wombles and Basildon Council, a line of eighteen ornamental Cherry Trees were planted along one side of the driveway leading into the Park from Tresco Way
- Following on from the cherry tree planting in March 2021, a further line of 12 cherry trees were planted along the other side of the driveway in 2022.
The Skylark Regeneration Project - 2020There are many references to skylarks on this website - for a start, our logo is based on this irresistible and intriguing bird, and it is also provides the title of our quarterly newsletter. Back in the early days of The Wick Country Park, Skylarks were commonly seen flying high in the sky, but now they have sadly gone. A project was launched during the winter of 2019/20 to redevelop an area within the Park to encourage breeding pairs of Skylarks to return. You can read about this project on this page (opens in a new window.
Improvements to the Wick Country Park (2012 and 2021)During 2012, some additional bench seats were installed around the Park, and additionally nesting boxes for owls and kestrels were installed (owls) or renovated (kestrels) - details can be read in issue 35 of our Skylarks Newsletter.
During 2021, three important upgrades to the entrance to the Country Park were completed : repainting of the entrance gates, planting of a line of ornamental cherry trees, and the laying of a new driveway and refurbished car-park. More can be read about these changes on this page (opens in a new window).
Information Boards Project (2015-18)The committee first proposed to explore the installation of an Information Board for the Wick Country Park in January 2015. After some stuttering starts during 2015 and 2016, huge progress was made in 2017. The details can be read on this page (opens in a new window).
The Container Cladding Project (2015)In Autumn 2015, the unsightly storage container at the Park was transformed from an eye-sore into what has become a thriving home for nature! Please see the story in pictures on this page. (opens in a new window).
The Dipping Pond 'Big Clean' and Renovation (2012-13)The Dipping Pond - that is the small pond at the side of the Pavilion - was originally created in 2003, using a large sum of money kindly donated by Cleanaway Pitsea Marshes Fund through the Landfill Tax Credit Scheme. The Pond was designed by Basildon Borough's Countryside Education team, and it provided an ideal habitat for a wide variety of small aquatic creatures. It was primarily used by schools, and the FOWCP for 'Pond Dipping' activities. It was constructed using puddled clay.
By the early Summer of 2012, the pond had become choked with weeds and rushes. The immediate problem of the moment was that the pond was due to be used in the looming 2012 Nature Quest but, and, as things stood, it would be unusable. Please see the full story of this project on this page.
Meadow Croft Garden Centre Helps Wick Country Park (2013)Some of the money left over from the 'Dipping Pond' project was earmarked to provide a more suitable range of tools for the Wick Weeders (now Wick-ed Gardeners) group. Several websites and local garden centres were contacted and although all responded positively, it was Meadow Croft who took the trouble to look at our website and took an interest in the role of the Friends. See the full story of this project on this page.
Picnic Tables and a Noticeboard (2009)The Friends were very pleased to be awarded two Grassroots Grants to enable improvements to the Park. These grants were funded by the Office of the Third Sector (OTS). As part of the Cabinet Office, the OTS led work across Government to support the environment for, amongst others, voluntary and community groups - and that's where we come in!
- The first grant enabled the purchase and installation of five picnic tables, all of which are fully accessible by wheelchairs. Working in partnership with Basildon Borough Council's Countryside Services,
the aim was to make The Wick Country Park even more attractive, and welcoming to visitors. The picnic tables are situated between the entrance to the Park and the Alder Wood Swamp and enable visitors to take full
advantage of the views and all that the Park has to offer. The tables were available for use by the Spring of 2010, in time for a sunny Mother's Day picnic.
So, why not pack your picnic bag and come along to The Wick Country Park for a pleasant break in the Essex Countryside, whilst taking stock of all that the Park has to offer and the views across it?
More can be read about this project in issue 21 of our Skylarks Newsletter.
- The second grant paid for the supply and installation of our notice board, which is positioned in the car park, and which we use to display notices of forthcoming events and information about the Park.
Miscellaneous Projects (2005 to 2015)
Alder Grove ClearanceThe Alder Grove is the name given to the area of swampland beneath the boardwalk pathway in the North-East corner of the Park. See our map of the Park - by clicking here. Already by 2005, this area had become choked with bulrushes, and a working party was convened to tackle the issue. More can be read about this project in issue 7 of our Skylarks Newsletter.
Cycle racksThough cycling within the Park is prohibited under the Council's by-laws, we do encourage, wherever feasible, visitors to leave the car behind and either walk or cycle to the Park. For this reason, in 2015, the Friends funded the provision of a group of cycle racks, which are located in the Staff Car-park, close to the pedestrian access point to the main area of the Park.
More can be read about this project in issue 44 of our Skylarks Newsletter.
Sue's CornerIn 2013, the family of Sue Agate made a generous donation to the Friends of the Wick Country Park in memory of Sue following her sad and sudden death. Sue was a Friend of the Park in every way. Helping in the garden and also enjoying peaceful walks round the Park. The thoughtful bequest was spent on plants for the Pavilion Garden. The family also donated a bench seat and had it placed in a beautiful quiet corner near the planted woodland mound, and with delightful views across the Park towards the lake. This bench makes a lovely memorial for someone who enjoyed great comfort from the tranquility of the Park.
The picture below shows Mark, the Park Ranger, with Nikki and Dorothy enjoying the tranquility at "Sue's Corner".
More can be read about this project in issue 38 of our Skylarks Newsletter.
Translocation of reptilesWhen major new developments are planned, and espoecially where they threaten important habitats for wildlife, strenuous attempts are always made to rescue - or translocate to use the technical word - as much of that wildlife as possible. In 2009, The Wick Country Park was the beneficiary of such a 'Translocation Project' when it was designated as an ideal location to receive displaced reptiles that would otherwise have been threatened by the bulldozer.
More can be read about this project in issue 22 of our Skylarks Newsletter.