Kingsbrook Meadows Visitor Centre

At Kingsbrook, east of Aylesbury (Bucks), Barratt David Wilson Homes, the RSPB and Buckinghamshire Council are working together to raise the bar for wildlife-friendly new housing. Three villages began construction in 2016 which, alongside the new homes, will feature 60% greenspace that houses wildlife, parks, orchards and wildflower meadows. The site demonstrates how new housing developments can be designed to offer homes for wildlife, to benefit nature and enhance the lives of the residents and visitors.

As part of the innovative new development, at JDDK we have been working on plans for a visitor destination called Kingsbrook Meadows. The Visitor Centre will be designed to fit within the ethos of Kingsbrook, using sustainable construction techniques and creating habitats for wildlife.

The Visitor Centre concept is based on two splayed wings with a connecting entrance foyer. The northern wing will be conceived as a barn, referencing the local vernacular while the southern wing has a flat roof supporting photovoltaics. The building is set to be designed with sustainability at its heart, with orientation to maximise on solar gains and views of the Chilterns in the café area, while the pergola provides solar shading. The pitched roof over ‘the barn’ will allow for an attractive café area while providing zones for bird and bat boxes.

Elsewhere climbing plants on pergolas and frames will be incorporated to create living walls and structures which extend out from the central barn structure into the landscape. At the entrance these living walls will also define an entrance courtyard and frame the linking glazed entrance area, which in turn allows for distant views through the building to the lake beyond.

The plans are due to be submitted later this summer, and – subject to permission – it is hoped that the Kingsbrook Meadows will be open in the next couple of years.

Kingsbrook Meadows offers the chance to create a different kind of visitor experience that focuses on connection with nature in its broadest sense. Quality habitats will be created, including ponds and meadows, hedges and woods, to benefit ‘common’ wildlife, much of which of course is no longer common. The site will also feature:

  • Wildflower-rich hay meadows for butterflies, grasshoppers and moths
  • Flower fields for pollinators and farmland birds
  • Ponds, scrapes and small reedbeds to home a range of wetland species
  • Hedgerows and areas of scrub and woodland

Kingsbrook Meadows is equally designed to help people immerse themselves in these habitats. Visitors will be encouraged to come and spend time in nature, using the centre to eat, drink, play, socialise, relax and connect with nature as well as each other.

The Visitor Centre at Kingsbrook will be a premier demonstration site for what individuals and families can do to save nature on their doorstep, what homeowners can do in their own private gardens and what small landowners can do with their sites.