3rd October 2011

Lathams to create 'imaginative and sustainable vision' for Idle Valley

Derby-based architectural and landscape design practice Lathams has been appointed by Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust to develop proposals for new visitor facilities at Idle Valley Nature Reserve near Retford.

At 450 hectares, Idle Valley’s mosaic of wetlands and associated habitats makes it one of the largest and most important centres for wildlife conservation in the East Midlands.

Lathams managing director Chris Twomey explained: "This is an outstanding site of great regional significance, and we are proud to have been entrusted with the task of integrating it more effectively with the surrounding environment at the same time as making it more accessible to visitors.

"Lathams has a long track-record of creating outstanding and sympathetic facilities in the most sensitive of rural locations, and we will be drawing on all of that experience to ensure we deliver imaginative and sustainable development while fully safeguarding the unique and distinctive character of the Idle Valley landscape.”

Lathams is working with Lincoln-based planning and development consultants Globe on an initial feasibility study and masterplan for a new visitor hub, as well as a new rural products centre.

Rob Fitzsimons, development manager for Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, explained that the development of the designs and feasibility for the new facilities were being funded by Bassetlaw District Council, and were intended to complement a Heritage Lottery funded development of the nature reserve itself and the education facilities of the Idle Valley Rural Learning Centre which are owned and operated by North Notts College.

He added: "There is a clear need for a focal point for visitors to Idle Valley, both to help them enjoy the site but also to understand the underlying conservation principles at work here.

"We also want to integrate the site more effectively with its surrounding rural environment. The new rural products centre will be an important part of that, promoting the use of sustainable techniques in woodland management, and selling products made by ourselves and local crafts men and women.”

A sustainable vision for Idle Valley