REDscape: The Green Road is a 10 ha large military park for nature and recreation designed by REDscape Landscape and Urbanism. The park, commissioned by the Dutch Forestry Commission and Linieland, was largely completed in 2015. The Green Road Works is a former defensive trench and bunker system dating from 1918. The site is part of a larger military landscape belonging to the “Lek-acces”, a complex of forts, works and bunker systems, built to defend the river Lek from invasion from the east. Unique for this site is the range and variety of bunkers, peppered throughout the site. A tourist ferry in the summer, connects The Green Road Works to the adjacent military sites of Honswijk, Spoel and Everdingen.
Between 1945 and 2010 most of the trench system had been removed. Much of the complex had become unrecognisable, overgrown and difficult to access. REDscape’s design proposed the partial restoration of sections of the original trench system, re-establishing its relationship to the surrounding landscape. The bunkers were unearthed, and recreational routes added. The newly reconstructed works enable visitors to experience the original intention of the military defences. The fruit trees (unique for the region) which had served as camouflage for the defensive works were carefully retained during construction and are maintained by a local pomological volunteer group.
The nature and ecology of the site was strengthened by developing fresh water habitats for amphibians and tree cover for nesting owls, as well as open grassland areas for foraging birdlife. The works are maintained by grazing sheep. Four new ecological zones were implemented to give space to a new diversity of flora and fauna. These include the bunkers, some of which were inhabited by bats. The Dutch bunkers or ‘kazematten’ tell the story of the military past of WW1 and WW2.
Led by Patrick Mc Cabe, REDscape’s design will ensure that the military defence work and its unique collection of over 36 bunkers is to become the newest destination for locals and tourists in the New Dutch Waterline. The design is yet to be completed; a new entrance finished in black steel and matching steel fencing is proposed. To emphasise the stoic qualities of the bunkers; one of them is to be excavated to become free standing in water, with possible use as a single bedroom hotel.
Landscape Architects: REDscape
Location: Province of Utrecht, NL
Design year: 2010
Year of construction: 2015
Client: Staatsbosbeheer, Linieland
Area: 10 ha
Image credits: Andreas Mulder (REDscape) and Philip van Roosmalen (drone images)