Horticulture Week Custodian Award - Best Heritage Park

Winner - Dudley MBC for Priory Park

Dudley MBC (CFP project managers)

Priory Road, Dudley, West Mids DY1 4EU

Priory Park is Dudley's premier historic park. Enveloping the site of Grade I-listed Priory Ruins, a Scheduled Ancient Monument, and Dudley's register office within the Grade II listed Priory Hall building, the park opened in 1932 featuring tennis courts, bowling green, rose garden and sunken pond. In the 1950's a shelter and pavilion were added. It has since been designated as a Grade II Park and Garden of Special Historic Interest and attracts more than 400,000 visitors a year.

The park has been winning Green Flag awards since 2014 and Green Heritage awards since 2016. Feedback from Green Flag judges in 2018 included: "The park is very welcoming, safe and secure - very well maintained and clean"; "The park has a lot of biodiversity and heritage for such a compact site" and "The council officers are very experienced and have a good knowledge of the park and services".

Priory Park completed a five-year HLF-funded restoration project in 2016 which provided a new community space, planting, enhancing historic structures, recreational provision and interpretation. The funding also paid for a ranger on site seven days a week to support community activities during the project, including working with college student placement volunteers and the National Citizen Service (NCS) initiative. A community café due to open in 2019 will further bolster engagement.

Horticulturally Priory Park has moved towards sustainable herbaceous, wildflowers, shrubs and bulbs to provide colour and interest. The team has undertaken a recent maintenance uplift to ensure features remain in good condition. Green waste and litter is recycled and the pavilion has a range of energy saving measures installed.

The park has a formal rose garden and the central courtyard area of the ruins holds a heritage herb garden. The park is home to a rockery and areas of less formal planting, with; snowdrops, daffodils, crocus' and scarce snakes head fritillary plants.

An avenue of clipped hornbeam makes a statement through the park. Borders have been planted with Rhododendron and Azalea. Recently, three young rowan trees have been planted by Dudley Youth Council and the local MP for the Queen's commonwealth canopy. An average of eight young people a year are trained under the council’s horticultural apprenticeship scheme, which has led to the park embracing changes to traditional practice, for example the reduction of annual bedding and introduction of new areas of wildflowers.

Following the restoration, the team implemented a conservation management plan. The council has added interpretation panels in the park, developed an app to help visitors access the park’s history and a new education pack will be distributed to 100 local schools in 2019.

SEE ALL HORTICULTURE WEEK CUSTODIAN AWARDS 2019 WINNERS 


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Read These Next

Interracial love in 18th-Century Wales - John Ystumllyn, gardener and first recorded black person in North Wales, and Margaret Gruffydd, maid

Interracial love in 18th-Century Wales - John Ystumllyn, gardener and first recorded black person in North Wales, and Margaret Gruffydd, maid

Urban Green Newcastle - Looking to a greener future for our towns and cities

Urban Green Newcastle - Looking to a greener future for our towns and cities

The coronavirus pandemic has caused us all to rethink how we carry out our day-to-day lives; from how we move around, how we work, and the places we visit. It’s also reminded us about the things most important to us too.

Life after lockdown

Life after lockdown

Landscape consultant and former Bracknell Forest Council parks head Helen Tranter writes on park life after coronavirus lockdown eases.


Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +

HW Podcast

Horticulture Week Podcast #2: Peter Seabrook and Matt Appleby

Horticulture Week Podcast #2: Peter Seabrook and Matt Appleby

Peter Seabrook has spent his lockdown rebuilding The Sun's Floral Fantasia display at RHS Hyde Hall. He says garden designers and local authorities should take note that the popular colourful bedding displays have attracted record numbers of visitors to the garden.

 

Horticulture Week

The latest developments concerning coronavirus for horticulture industry professionals involved in buying or selling garden products and plants or producing and participating in horticultural shows and events.
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

HORTICULTURE WEEK Custodian Awards

Find out more about the outstanding parks, gardens and arboricultural projects and teams that became our Custodian Award 2019 winners.

Products & Kit Resources