Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, the project aims to restore the rich heritage of the park, including original garden features dating from the Eighteenth Century such as ponds, cascades and the Wilderness Garden.
The project will enable essential conservation and restoration work to be carried out to the heritage features in the park, which surrounds some of Milton Keynes’ oldest buildings, including Great Linford Manor. The work will strengthen the special character of the park, making it a more interesting and attractive place to visit, where the sense of a fine Eighteenth Century parkland landscape can be experienced. Features of the original landscape garden, created in the 1800s, will be restored including a pond and cascade. Areas of wildflower meadow will also be extended and the old limestone quarry in the park made more accessible for people to learn about the local geological heritage.
To improve the visitor experience, the park’s entrances and car parking will be upgraded, new welcome and waymarking signage provided and new paths will be constructed to enable visitors, whether on foot or using mobility scooters or wheelchairs, to explore more of the park.
The scheme also includes providing a play trail for children and more seating within landscaped surroundings. Interpretation panels, leaflets and digital resources will be developed to enable visitors to learn about the park and its history. A programme of community events and activities will be offered, including guided walks, supported visits for persons with special access needs, archaeological digs, educational sessions and many more.
A new volunteer group, the Friends of Great Linford Manor Park, has also been established with the support of this project. The Friends will organise events and activities and help The Parks Trust to make the park a welcoming place to visit.
The Parks Trust’s Head of Environment Education & Volunteering Phil Bowsher said: “We are so pleased that the Heritage Lottery Fund have decided to support our project. Great Linford Manor Park is such a special place in Milton Keynes and we will now be able to make it even better for people to enjoy. The Park is full of fascinating heritage features we want to conserve and restore and there are so many interesting stories we can tell to reveal the Park’s history to our visitors.
“We had great support from many people in the community and other organisations in developing our project plan, who are keen to help us conserve this special place and see it used and enjoyed as a public park of great benefit to the local area.”
HLF’s Chief Executive Ros Kerslake, said: “Parks may vary in size, location and design but what they all have in common is the wealth of benefits they deliver to local communities. From economic prosperity and ecological diversity, to personal well-being, parks are essential to the health of the nation. That’s why we have invested a combined £950million of National Lottery funding regenerating parks like Great Linford Manor Park and they remain a priority for us into the future.”
The conservation, restoration and access improvement works in the Park are planned to commence in 2019 and should take about a year to complete. The programme of community events and activities will commence later this year and run until 2022.