This article is more than 4 years old

Lakes and castles: Niche new year rankings

Paul Greatrix starts the new year as he means to go on - ridiculous rankings!
This article is more than 4 years old

Paul Greatrix is Registrar at The University of Nottingham, author and creator of Registrarism and a Contributing Editor of Wonkhe.

We recently covered the first ever UK car parking rankings. It proved controversial to say the least. Following this though we need to look at a couple of the other highlights from the HESA estates dataset.

First, there are the water features. Some universities have lakes, others have ponds and drainage. HESA requires them to report on these as follows:

Surface area of water forms owned or managed by the HEP to the nearest 0.1ha for the total estate. This must only include non-treated water sources and should therefore exclude fountains and other treated water features. Include sustainable drainage systems (SUDS), but exclude water tanks for the storage of rain water or ‘grey water’.

So excluding fountains etc, which university has the most liquid assets?

Perhaps a few surprises here:

[Full screen]

Old and ancient?

And then there is the heritage ranking. Even more niche this one but the coverage is defined by HESA as follows:

Area of landscaping owned or managed by the HEP with a conservation area/listed status or within English Heritage, Historic Scotland, CADW in Wales, the Register of Parks and Gardens, or the Register of Landscapes of Special Historic Interest. This may include areas within listed buildings, such as quadrangles, but only if they have been listed separately. Data should be rounded to the nearest 0.1 ha. This figure is for the whole estate.

You might not have expected some of the top placings here:

[Full screen]

Grounds for reconsideration?

And then finally, just for the sake of completeness, here’s the total ground area of universities as per HESA. The definition is fairly precise and note that it excludes actual university buildings:

The total hectarage of grounds (including residential areas) regularly maintained by the HEP. Include the area of surface level car parks, highways, operational farmland, listed or heritage areas and areas of ground water e.g. ponds, lakes and rivers, which are the maintenance responsibility of the HEP. Exclude space allocated under playing fields area, farmland held for investment or primarily commercial purposes and space which is left fallow (e.g. development sites, non-maintained woodland etc.) and any areas of water maintained by others e.g. Department for the Environment, British Waterways Board etc. The footprints of buildings should not be included.

Perhaps some may also be surprised by the ranking here (I know I was):

[Full screen]

Helpful data as ever from HESA.

Data visualisations by David Kernohan – who notes that institutional submissions for these fields are not mandatory, and that institutions who have not submitted data have been treated in these visualisations as if they have returned a value of zero.

4 responses to “Lakes and castles: Niche new year rankings

  1. I love the University of Lincoln making the top ten for water features on campus.
    They’re obviously including the Brayford Pool, which has been there since Roman times.
    The fact that the university was built ADJACENT does not make it on campus!

  2. University of Stirling should clearly be towering astride this particular ranking like a Colossus, what with its lovely lochs (two), its castle sitting in an historical designed landscape, and its neighbouring ancient woodland and mountains (yes, mountains). Oh yes, and the National Monument to William Wallace (the real Wallace, not the Mel Gibson pastiche) looming over the campus atop a volcanic plug. Hard to beat in terms of setting!

Leave a Reply