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A walkway on the wild side

The £700,000 project was funded by the government and built by Milton Keynes-based Pauley Construction for the Forestry Commission. It is also a pioneering project which has won the British Construction Award for the Most Environmental Structure.

“The scheme’s appeal is undeniable,” says Pauley Construction managing director Andrew Pauley. “It has been a real success.”

Working with Forestry Commission chief designer Geoff Freedman, Pauley Construction built the walkway over three months. Because of its location, however, it threw up a series of challenges.

“It is ancient woodland so there was a lot of archaeology involved,” says Andrew. “We had to be very sensitive to the surroundings and how we put plant and equipment on the site. Of particular concern were archaeological wood banks – an ancient formation of wood – and the presence of the great crested newt. We had to be extra careful.”

The contract was advertised nationally and Pauley’s bid lined up alongside other national contractors. “They liked us because we are local and they wanted someone local to build the scheme,” says Andrew. “We don’t get clients like the Forestry Commission coming knocking on our door every week and this was very different to what we normally do.”

Pauley Construction was founded 12 years ago and employs 38 Milton Keynes-based workers. Previously its work was as local building contractors, having refurbished Tyringham Hall near Newport Pagnell and carrying out regular work for Milton Keynes Council, Intervet, Suzuki and others.

The firm is building an extension at Ousedale School in Newport Pagnell and has worked regularly for electronics company Alps. It is also constructing the next phase of development at The Stables Theatre in Wavendon.

Andrew says: “Salcey Forest was quite a special project and we are hoping that it is going to open a lot of doors for us with the Forestry Commission. We like to think that because we have done this one, we can do similar things anywhere in the country.”

Pictured: Andrew Pauley (right) celebrates the award