Birchwood Lakes

Birchwood Lakes is a consented eco-leisure development in North Devon, UK, which will consist of 150 holiday units and a 40-bedroom hotel. Birchwood Lakes is being created within an existing 63ha quarry site that has come to the end of its working life.

We were ecological designers and assessors from masterplanning, through environmental impact assessment, to planning submission. The project has also involved Habitats Regulations Assessment to avoid impacting on local European designated sites - the Braunton Burrows and Culm Grasslands SACs. We also utilised Biodiversity Impact Assessment and ecosystem services metrics to calculate the biodiversity and ecosystem service values respectively before and after development.

The creation of a rich and varied ecological setting that seeks to celebrate the local area’s natural heritage, was considered from the outset as fundamental in achieving high visitor experience and wellbeing. We designed new habitat to complement the existing habitat character of the Site and surrounds, consisting of woodland, wetland, and wildflower meadow, all of which would contribute to achieving the goals of various local and national biodiversity strategies/initiatives. In particular the design aimed to ensure that Birchwood Lakes is in keeping with the area’s Biosphere Reserve status. These enhancements are also anticipated to benefit protected and noteworthy species already present on Site, including Dormice, horseshoe bats, and reptiles.

Habitat First Group
Habitat First Group

Ultimate Client
Habitat First Group

Design Team Leader

Willmore Iles Architects

Landscape Architect
The Landmark Practice

Civil Engineer
Peter Brett Associates

Water Quality Scientist
Peter Brett Associates


Site Area
25-100 Hectares

'We have worked with the developers to address the biodiversity issues at the site and we are happy that there will be a net gain in the biodiversity on the site through the development. I am impressed with the level of professionalism by the team putting together the application.'

Andrew Bell North Devon Biosphere Reserve Coordinator and Service Manager