Work will start next week on £400,000 improvements to the Arboretum, Nottingham’s oldest public park.  By next spring, visitors will be able to visit a new café in the restored Waverley Lodge and use an area of the park that has been derelict for the past decade.

The cost of the work has been part-funded by a £50,000 grant from WREN (Waste Recycling Environmental Ltd).  The improvements involve:

  • Restoring the Grade II Listed Waverley Lodge and converting it into a café and community room.
  • Bringing back into use the site of The Park pub, formerly the old Refreshment Rooms, which burnt down in November 2006.  The area will be landscaped and opened up to the public and then, in time, further developed with ideas and help from the Friends of the Arboretum and members of the community.
  • Repairs to the derelict coach house on Arboretum Street.

The Green Flag award-winning Arboretum is Nottingham’s oldest public park and the one closest to the city centre. It is home to an important collection of over 800 trees, some of which are from the original collection planted in the 19th century.

Councillor Dave Trimble, Nottingham City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, said: “These improvements funded with the support of WREN will improve visitors’ experience at the Arboretum, and the addition of a café will help attract more people to the park all year round.

“The landscaping on the site of the old Refreshment Rooms will be developed over the next few years and we hope that people will be keen to get involved in helping to create new features to enhance this beautiful historic site.”

Yvonne Trout, Chair of the Friends of the Arboretum, said: “We are looking forward to seeing the old pub site being brought back into use for everyone to enjoy and are delighted that the lodge will have a new lease of life as a café.  Many thanks to WREN for their generous contribution.”

Other work that has already been carried out this year includes installation of bespoke interpretation signage, painting of the aviaries and demolition of the derelict Tropical House.

The Arboretum has been nominated for the Fields in Trust award for the UK’s Best Park.  Results are to be announced on Wednesday 30 November.