Cammo is owned by the council and managed by the Natural Heritage Service with help from the Friends group. It was originally laid out as a designed estate landscape but then altered to be a golf course and farm. It now gets lots of visitors who walk dogs, just walk or bring children to play.
The basic attraction for visitors is the combination of woodland walks and open paths through the fields. This allows contact with lots of wildlife and plants as well as to the old structure of the estate – the walled garden, ruined house and old stable block. People inevitably bring with them dogs, litter and disturbance to the wildlife. These negative impacts need to be minimised whilst improving access, interpretation and the overall experience for visitors. A balance also has to be struck between wildlife habitat and maintaining views and accessibility.
In Cammo these different factors have resulted in various main management strategies:
The maintenance of the structure of the estate by maintaining the boundary walls and fences and keeping the avenues open. In some areas, such as in front of the ruin of the main house, the grass is cut short to allow for sports and other activities.
Maintaining and improving the path network and making as many of the paths wheelchair accessible as possible.
Cutting out any dangerous trees or big branches. Every effort is made to leave veteran trees (or at the very least the main trunk) if at all possible.
Improving the interpretation of the estate through signage and printed material.
Increasing and protecting biodiversity by planting and maintaining wildflower areas, hedgerows, field trees and woodland. The fields are cut once a year to encourage floral diversity.
Litter picks and general maintenance to ensure the park looks nice and maintains its attraction as a natural space.
Members of the public can help with these things by joining the Friends group or simply by picking up litter in the park. In particular dog walkers have a responsibility to pick up after their dogs.
The overall idea can best be summarised as “Leave the park better than you found it”.