Cheltenham has long been associated with horse racing – in fact the first organised flat race meeting happened in 1815. Becoming increasingly popular over the next decades, with tens of thousands of spectators crowding the Cleve Hill track, but racing was violently opposed by the local parish priest, with meetings being disrupted and the grandstand destroyed by fire.
Cheltenham Racecourse, based at Prestbury Park in Gloucestershire since 1831, is a venue that is unique and can be adapted to various events. Cheltenham has seen many large events over the years televised to the nation such as, The National Hunt Horse Racing, The Cheltenham Festival and the Queen Mother’s Champaign Chase.
The easily accessible racecourse in a South-West location of the UK, just off the M5 has a beautiful backdrop of the Cotswolds hills and greenery as far as the eye can see. Built on a stunning natural amphitheatre arena, the venue offers the highest-quality action and thrilling racing opportunities throughout the Horse Jumping season, holding a capacity of 67,500 spectators.
From 1999 to 2013, the racecourse was the key venue for the annual Greenbelt festival and still to this day is the home to Wychwood Music Festival. For many lucky young Gloucestershire graduates and entrepreneurs, the racecourse has been their graduation ceremony placement and summer ball celebrations for many years.
In 2015, Cheltenham Racecourse opened the £45m Princess Royal Stand, which completed the redevelopment of inside the racecourse. The grand entrance of the venue was also in need of improvement to memorise the experience for excited spectators that arrive for each race and event. Ultimately, GreenBlue were pleased to be involved in the urban tree pits design implementing best practice planting alongside the designers, Illman-Young.
Kier construction and Charlton Abbotts were advocates in constructing the implementation of soil cells beneath the trees on site to allow for mature canopy cover. The Stratacell 30 series with extra support from the Anchor system and RootRain Precinct Grille with Aeration inlets has allowed a high-quality finish on site. Seating areas around the trees provide a natural protection barrier for the trees and add a communal hub for visitors, over-looking the famous horse statue: Dawn Run, sculpted with bronze in memory of the famous jockey, Jonjo O’Neill.
With a large volume of uncompacted soil beneath ground, these trees have been able to grow extensively since they were planted in 2015 to present day. These trees provide a multi-functional use for the area such as beauty, biodiversity and stormwater interception. The growth speaks for itself in that soil cells work extremely well. The Stratacell is a soil cell that takes a large load bearing volume and were specifically chosen to allow for emergency vehicle overrun that may need to gain access to the stadium. GreenBlue are thrilled to be included in the history of the famous redevelopment scheme to improve Cheltenham racecourse for future generations. We look forward to visiting the stadium to see how these trees offer shade and protection for spectators now face to face events have positively commenced once again.