Case Study: Babraham Campus

The secret garden: how a SUMOplus + survey revealed more than anyone expected!

The secret garden: how a SUMOplus + survey revealed more than anyone expected!

The Brief:

SUMO Geophysics was asked to conduct a SUMO plus+ Survey at the Babraham Campus in Cambridge. The SUMOplus+ survey is an advanced level survey which combines a SUMO Utility Survey with a detailed Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) survey. This combination allows SUMO to asses a range of ‘anomalies’ that may be present on a site. In this case study, the client suspected there was a buried fuel tank. This was unlikely to have been identified by a standard utility survey.

The secret garden: how a SUMOplus + survey revealed more than anyone expected!

The process and results:

SUMO surveyed a 1m orthogonal grid with our Dual Frequency Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) equipment (which combines 300MHz and 800MHz antennas). The data was post-processed and the fuel tank was located approximately 30m away from the main building. But once we started processing the data further we located more than expected….

The Secret Garden Discovery:

In front of the building, an interesting ‘anomaly’ was identified within the GPR data. The dimensions of the anomaly were approximately 40m x 14m and appeared to show an ornate design. After research and interpretation, we believed that we had located the historic formal gardens.

At SUMO we utilise the latest non-invasive technology, including one of the only High-Density GPR systems in the UK. High-Density GPR equipment collects data readings at 8cm intervals. This means SUMO could greatly improve the resolution of the previous 1m x 1m survey.

SUMO Geophysics returned to the site to investigate the garden area further and the results that we collected were outstanding…

The secret garden: how a SUMOplus + survey revealed more than anyone expected!
High-Density GPR timeslice showing a detailed layout of the formal garden.

High-Density GPR timeslice showing a detailed layout of the formal garden.

The above image clearly shows the areas of compacted ground or walls remaining in the grounds from the complex formal garden design. The extent of the formal garden was approximately 40m x 14m and the depth of the features was extremely shallow at 0.2m below the ground.

Here, the GPR data has been superimposed onto an aerial photograph of the site area. The relationship between the historic formal garden’s location and the building can be clearly seen.

Here, the GPR data has been superimposed onto an aerial photograph of the site area. The relationship between the historic formal garden’s location and the building can be clearly seen.

This isn’t the first time that SUMO Geophysics have located formal gardens…

Aerial photograph of the front lawns

Aerial photograph of the front lawns

High-Density GPR data combined with aerial photography

High-Density GPR data combined with aerial photography

An extract from the Ordnance Survey map from 1881 showing the layout of the historic gardens

An extract from the Ordnance Survey map from 1881 showing the layout of the historic gardens