The £4.8m restoration of Highfields Park gets underway this week. The work will restore the Grade II* Listed park to the grandeur of its heyday as well as adding new attractions for park visitors.
The refurbishment of the heritage park is going ahead thanks to £3.2m from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Big Lottery Fund’s Parks for People programme, along with funds from Nottingham City Council and other partners. Work will be completed by the end of 2017 and will include:
- Restoring buildings, park infrastructure and features including bridges, historic railings, ticket office and boathouse
- De-silting the lake and improving the waterside boating area
- Repairing footpaths
- Refurbishing the entrance from the new tram stop, including creating an entrance feature and restoring the historic gas lamps
- Tree works, including opening up historic views
- Producing new croquet lawns from the two current bowling greens, enhancing the high quality croquet facilities
- Creating an adventure golf area
- Improving putting greens.
The work will take place in phases, and Highfields Park will remain open throughout. The Lottery funding has paid for the employment of a Park Ranger, who will lead ‘Restoration Rambles’ over the course of the work so that park visitors can see the transformation unfold. The next rambles will take place on Saturday 25 February from 2pm to 3pm, and on Thursday 2 March from 1pm to 2pm. Booking is helpful, but not essential, by phoning 0115 8467777.
The Park Ranger has also set up a Friends of Highfields Park group for volunteers who want to get involved with practical work on site. For more details phone 07908 488721.
Councillor Dave Trimble, Nottingham City Council Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, said: “Highfields Park has been loved by generations of Nottingham people and it’s fantastic that it’s now being restored to its original splendour as it approaches its centenary.
“The park is an important part of Nottingham’s history, particularly because of its link with Jesse Boot, and I am proud that our ambitious plans for a full restoration along with improved facilities and an exciting events programme for today’s park users have come to fruition thanks to the generosity of the Lottery and other funding partners.”
The Grade II* Listed Highfields Park was opened in 1923 by businessman and philanthropist Sir Jesse Boot and was one of the first manmade, large-scale parks of the 20th century. It contains prehistoric rock shelters built into the rock outcrop and is registered as a Site of Special Geological Interest. It is also included in the English Heritage Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. More park history is available on the website
Partners helping to fund the park restoration include Nottingham City Council; the University of Nottingham, whose main campus adjoins the park, and the Highfields Park Leisure Trust. The Probation Service will carry out some of the work.
The Lottery bid was supported by various local groups such as Nottingham Croquet Club, Highfields Park User Group and Beeston Civic Society. Views of park users were taken into account when planning the restoration and improvements.