Wrest Park makeover secures £139.5k funds boost

Plans to restore Wrest Park to its original splendour received a boost as the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) awarded English Heritage £139,500 to develop detailed proposals.

English Heritage's application for Wrest Park, in Bedfordshire, has been awarded a first-round pass from the Heritage Lottery Fund, giving the green light to the development of proposals.

A second-round application to secure the full grant of over £1.28 million will be submitted in early 2010.

Part of the HLF Development Grant will be used to fund an audience development manager to work with individuals and community groups from the surrounding area.

Over the next 20 years English Heritage is planning to:

  • Repair Capability Brown's lakes. Changes in the 1960s and 1970s mean that the current water level at Wrest Park is too high, effectively drowning many of the hedges and trees.
  • Restore the fountains to working order and reinstate the round pond at the Atlas statue.
  • Refurnish some of the most significant garden "rooms" by reinstating the Duchess' Column and the Duke's Obelisk.
  • Replant the Italian Garden to include such seasonal flowers such as in spring, wallflowers, tulips, hyacinths, and geraniums.
  • Develop a garden apprenticeship training scheme that will contribute to the restoration programme and give participants the skills to pursue careers within the historic gardens sector.
  • Develop new visitor facilities within the walled gardens and enhance the historic paths, walkways, and avenues around the estate.

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