RESIDENTS will now start to see real visual changes when landscaping and planting work begins at the Salisbury River Park confirming the project is entering its final stage. 

Landscaping is due to start alongside the Avon channel ahead of schedule. New top soil has been added ready for planting with an investment of about £500,000 made to ensure the aesthetics of the park area which will start with small marginal planting first. 
Salisbury Journal: Main channel ready for plantingMain channel ready for planting (Image: EA)Read more: Sarum St Paul's school inspired by Salisbury River Park Project

The planting of trees will take place at a later date but mature or semi-mature trees will be used rather than saplings. The environment agency (EA) will be involved with the planted area for some time and maintenance agreements have been set in place to ensure that plants survive. 

Salisbury River Park Project Lead, Andy Wallis said: "The river channel is progressing well. The main construct that we have is to be out of the river by the end of October as this will enable fish to move up and down stream. The obstacles that were there have now been removed.

"The main weir is in place with gaps between rocks to allow for fish of all sizes to navigate past it. The dam will be removed next week and the flow will start to come down the main Avon channel from mid October."

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Salisbury Journal: Main weirMain weir (Image: EV)Andy said: "This is a massive milestone and very important. We will then be working outside of the channel for the rest of the winter."

He explained that much of their work is time sensitive for nature but also, in line with suppliers as well as working to the best time to suit others. The team have been working seven days a week for some time to ensure the timelines are adhered to.

Salisbury Journal: Spider excavatorSpider excavator (Image: EA)Read more: "Use it or lose it "Salisbury River Park Project

Close to the coach park, the team have utilised a specialist excavator known as the Spider which is able to move over any terrain but to also work within water and cope with the steep slopes.

Part of the millstream footpath is now blocked temporarily and fences have been erected from the coach park down to the bridge close to the Tesco supermarket. This is to reduce the channel width so to create the ideal habitat. 

This closed section of the footpath will be reopened in the next few weeks and residents will soon be able to witness the new footbridge being lifted into place to the north of the coach park. 

Most of the river park project will have been completed by the end of the year but from January, work commences on the coach park area.