Lottery funding would enable exciting changes at Clare Castle Country Park

A visualisation of how the Clare Park Centre would look if the park trustees' bid for �1.5m in Heritage Lottery Funding is successful
A visualisation of how the Clare Park Centre would look if the park trustees' bid for �1.5m in Heritage Lottery Funding is successful

A decision on a bid by The Trustees of Clare Castle Country Park for £1.5m in Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) funding is due by the end of the month.

Trustees of the Park gave a presentation to local residents towards the end of February detailing all the work that has been done in support of the HLF application and what works it will enable.

“The application process has been a large undertaking,” said Geoffrey Bray, Chairman of the Trustees.

“The Trustees wanted to ensure any development was carried out with the full consultation and support of the community.

“As a result an on-site survey of 1,500 park users was carried out last summer to take on board comments and identify ways in which the Park could improve.

“In addition to the survey, local teachers were consulted as well as 15 local community groups.”

At the moment the Park is entirely self-funded and does not receive any council funding. If successful, HLF money would pay for improvements that will include the restoration of the former railway goods shed building into a multi-purpose space for the community for education, exhibitions and celebrations.

New toilet facilities will be included in this building programme, an additional six spaces created in the main car park area and improved signage around the Park such as an information hub set onto the ground at the top of the motte (mound), providing visitors with an insight into the 360 degree view over Clare.

This project will also look to revitalise the existing town trail within Clare, repair the walls and surface condition of the south platform of the station and include a model railway of the station in the south platform building.

Whilst the HLF funding, if successful, will provide a great boost for the Park there are also a number of other projects to look out for over the coming months.

These include replacing the crumbling steps on what is known as the ‘Lady’s Walk’ with newly built steps that enable the visitor to experience the view of the moat and motte behind.

Should the HLF project go ahead, the first activity people will see would be the start of a three year archaeology programme to further understand the rich history of the Park and its powerful occupants during the Middle Ages.

The first improvement to the park post-funding, will be the de-silting of the moat.

This project will rejuvenate the moat to its original shape and improve the ecology in the area.