Gabions and towers and totems (oh my!) made from rubbish reclaimed from the dumps of Leicester, England lead the way through an eco-adventure trail in the city's Watermead Park. The Climate Trail is designed to be an educational and fun course with an important environmental message.
At the entrance, an eight foot long arrow with stripes of reclaimed metal, plastic and wood panels points to the trail. Oil drums made into colorful totem poles sit next to reclaimed wooden towers and gabions filled with recyclable objects along the way. Gabions are the wire cages filled with rock or broken concrete often used in the construction of dams and retaining walls. On the Climate Trail, the cages are filled with cans, bottles, and electrical appliances found in the dumps to serve as a visual reminder to recycle. All of the oversized structures bear tips for reducing, reusing and recycling. The messages are written in a simple and straightforward way so that even the youngest visitors can understand.
The 500 meter (a little more than a quarter of a mile) path also includes climbing and play equipment in the shape of extinct and endangered animals. The materials, already acquired in an inexpensive way, will be low maintenance for the park since they are durable, weather-resistant, and easily patched.
The project's design was a collaboration between Newenglish Design, Creed Design Associates and the city of Leicester. The Watermead Park Climate Trail in Leicester opened on August 13 to, as the British say, resounding success.