Holywells Park Heritage Lottery Fund bid
After over two years of hard work and application, and considerable team work by FoHP, IBC, LDA (the project consultants) and many others, the bid to improve Holywells Park has been approved by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) Parks for People programme. The HLF will provide £2.8 million, and IBC and volunteer effort will provide another £700 thousand, for a grand total of £3.5 million, or so. The Friends are delighted with the improvements to Holywells Park, notably the restoration of the Orangery and substantial refurbishment of the Stable Block, including a café and visitor centre. A new open air performance area will be set up between the Orangery and Stable Block. Users of the Play Area will rejoice at the provision of a new, green roofed toilet and refreshments block. Nearby there will be a new teenage (and above!) exercise area, with modern kit. The HLF are looking, amongst other things, to increase the use of Holywells Park, both in absolute terms, and according to various demographic groups.
Readers of this website will be pleased to know that avoiding ecosystem damage is high up the FoHP agenda. The project includes a 3 year programme to de-silt the pond system, to encourage wildlife, and to keep the water flowing. The footpaths will be sympathetically refreshed, and a new path laid in, to allow easy access to the big pond. An exercise trail through the woods will be established, and an orienteering course. Both of these will encourage use, but discourage abuse, of the wooded area of Holywells Park - and the Friends will be keeping a sharp eye on the plans and implementations!
On the education front there will be new classrooms in the Park, one part-designed by a local Artist, and another in the Stable Block. That will be complemented by whatever imagination and the new facilities can come up with. There will be no shortage of opportunity in relation to heritage, geology, and nature study, at many levels of detail.
There is more, of course, including the Ice House, uncovered by FoHP this winter. In relation to when things happen, the intention is to undertake some early voluntary work this year, and to start the de-silting programme. The main programme will become active in 2014, with completion due in early 2015.
Meanwhile, Holywells Park remains a haven for wildlife of all forms, perhaps most abundant in spring and summer, but to be enjoyed all year round.