• Joe

Has Mulberry Park building work caused Foxhill spring to dry up?

A familiar stream on the Foxhill estate has suddenly dried up, leaving just a moistureless stony bed where there was once flowing water.

The stream normally emerges from a bank at Springfield Park on the estate, the name Springfield perhaps bearing witness to how long the spring has been a feature of this green space. It is said that the spot has in the past been home to newts - a protected species - as well as various aquatic plants.

In February 2019 residents of Foxhill worked with the charity Sustrans to restore the spring and plant wildflowers suited to the wet ground, but now there is little to suggest that a spring ever existed here.

Foxhill residents and Sustrans cleaning up the spring in 2019
The dry bed of the stream photographed this week

Has the stream dried up just as a result of the summer weather conditions? The water was never very deep in the first place. Small plants growing on the old stream bed suggest that it has been dry for some weeks at least - yet Bath has had no shortage of rain recently. On the other hand, the preceding July heatwave could have dried out a lot of soil.

Another thought is that the underground course of the stream might have been impacted by building work going on at the nearby Mulberry Park development: the expansive new estate being created by housing association Curo on the former Foxhill Ministry of Defence site. The sound of heavy machinery involved in this construction can often be heard at the spring which lies roughly 400 metres in a sharp north-westerly direction downhill from Mulberry Park.

The council's Planning Enforcement Team have been asked for a response.

Some of the many apartment blocks being built at Mulberry Park, seen from Queen's Drive, Foxhill

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