New visitor facilities at Heaton Park are set to open later this month, thanks to a major restoration project, which was made possible through more than £10 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Manchester City Council.
The jointly funded project has taken eighteen months and during that time new visitor facilities such as the exciting new children's play area have been built, the dramatic rolling landscape surrounding Heaton Hall has been recreated and many of the park's historic buildings restored. The facilities will be officially opened on March 16.
To celebrate, on Sunday March 20 the Lord Mayor of Manchester, Councillor Tom O'Callaghan will be visiting the park to see it in all its splendour. Moston & Beswick Band and Punch and Judy will provide just some of the entertainment and everyone is welcome to attend, as there is plenty to see and do for all the family. Visitors will be able to see Gloucester Old Spot and Saddleback pigs, Saanen goats, Hebridean sheep and Alpacas in the new Animal Centre, and to handle the smaller pets like rabbits and guinea pigs. The new Stables Cafè at the Farm Centre will cater for visitors.
Repairs to Heaton Park's tram track have also been carried out and will once more take passengers from the Tram Museum at Middleton Road all the way round to the Lake where the newly built Lakeside Cafè is open and rowing boats can be hired.
As well as the new visitor facilities, the park's two historic Lodges, Grand Lodge and Smithy Lodge have been completely refurbished. Smithy Lodge will be available for holiday lettings, golfing breaks and weddings, complementing the facilities in Heaton Hall where the wedding ceremony and reception can be held. All those who stay will be offered discounted visits to Manchester's clubs, pubs and restaurants. The Dower House is home to the Manchester Beekeepers and Heaton Park Honey will continue to be produced.
Before the project started, Heaton Hall was virtually hidden from view by trees and shrubs and the original William Emes' planting scheme had been lost. Emes was a follower of Capability Brown and the landscape was designed to show off the Hall and the views to Manchester and the Pennines. That historic landscape has now been restored together with the Western Pleasure Ground, which has new paths, flowerbeds and seating. It is a pleasant garden space, where some of the oldest trees in the park can be seen.
Councillor Mark Hackett, Executive Member for Leisure & Culture, said: "This is a milestone for parks and green spaces not only in Manchester, but throughout the UK. Parks are important for leisure and recreation in our city and are highly valued in the community. It is wonderful to see Heaton Hall in its magnificent and original setting. It presents one of the finest views in England."
Explaining the importance of the award, HLF's regional manager Tony Jones said: "By restoring the park we can ensure that it really reaches its full potential as a haven and place of enjoyment. We've been delighted to support the project, which has seen so many aspects improved, ranging from the children's facilities to the refurbishment of the lodges. It's going to be a fantastic asset for the local community."
A steering group has now been set up to drive forward a bid for the restoration of Heaton Hall.Media contact
- Margaret Blackburn, Tel: 0161 234 4014