Mark Waller, the landscape architect best known for his work with Centre Parcs, died in December last year following a period of illness. Here, he is remembered
As a landscape architect, Mark had a special ability to combine technical expertise, absolute professionalism and an unwavering passion for his field. His knowledge and enthusiasm enabled him to lead, inform and inspire by example.
In 1983, Mark qualified in Horticulture at Askham Bryan in Yorkshire and initially worked in the Middle East, before joining Center Parcs in 1987 to work as a Forest Ranger at the Sherwood Forest Holiday Village. He continued his education and obtained a degree in Landscape Architecture in 1992 at Birmingham University and became a Chartered Member of the Landscape Institute in 1996 – qualifications he held with great pride.
It was at Center Parcs that Mark found the opportunity to apply his developing skills. He was quickly promoted to the head office where he played a leading role in the evaluation, design, development and subsequent management of the new Forest Holiday Villages at Elveden in Suffolk and Longleat in Wiltshire. Mark helped to transform the landscape of the Holiday Village acquired at Whinfell in Cumbria and, in recent years, was also working with the design team on the fifth UK Village at Woburn, bringing huge amounts of practical experience to bear on the design process and resolution.
Mark’s career at Center Parcs is marked by notable achievements in securing and defining environmental excellence, including the Forest Stewardship Council Certification, the Wildlife Trusts Biodiversity Benchmark for Land Management, the Green Business Award for Biodiversity Protection and the Landscape Institute Award for Center Parcs Forest Management Plans.
In many ways, Mark was ahead of his time in understanding the need to increase our connection with nature. He had both the vision and the capability to take forward the Center Parcs’ philosophy and landscape principles from the concept developed in The Netherlands during the 1960s to create more than 600 hectares of beautiful and habitat rich Forest Villages in the UK. His knowledge and infectious commitment to the landscape is continued within the Center Parcs management and development teams.
After a period of illness, Mark died in December 2010 shortly after his 50th birthday. He is dearly missed by his fiancée, his children and his many friends. Mark was a wonderful person to work with and had a passionate, gentle and determined spirit. He sought the best from all he worked with and is a sad loss to the landscape profession and all those who knew of his pioneering work.