Plans to enhance and improve the Castle Grounds in Hertford have taken a huge step forward thanks to a successful The National Lottery Heritage Fund bid.
An initial £300,000 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund will enable East Herts Council and Hertford Town Council to progress jointly developed plans to promote the site’s rich history, improve access and increase biodiversity with support from Hertfordshire County Council’s Countryside Management Service (CMS).
The award provides funds to fully develop and cost proposals, including technical surveys and public consultation which will inform designs and ensure the work meets the needs of the community. Once detailed plans have been developed, the partnership will be able to apply for the reserved £2m delivery grant to bring the plans to life.
Hertford Castle and its historic grounds, managed jointly by East Herts Council and Hertford Town Council, are located in the heart of the county town. The project will seamlessly connect the Castle grounds with the new, improved Hertford Theatre.
Plans include refurbishing the Ashley Webb shelter to incorporate a space to sit and enjoy the Castle grounds and the installation of additional interpretation boards to introduce visitors to the rich history of the grounds and the Grade 1 listed Castle Gatehouse. In addition, there will be a cantilever walkway from the town centre along the riverbank which will allow the ancient motte to be opened up and celebrated, and a new bridge will improve access to the grounds. Landscaping enhancements will also take place with improvements to the river to create better wildlife habitats and the play area will be re-located and upgraded.
Councillor Alex Daar, East Herts Executive Member for Communities, said: ‘I am delighted that The National Lottery Heritage Fund has seen the potential of this project. The improvements will make the grounds of Hertford Castle more accessible to all, highlight the rich history of the site and give residents a vibrant green space to enjoy in the centre of town.’
Councillor Rachel Carter, Chair of Hertford Town Councils’ Community Services Committee, said: ‘This is wonderful news, and this investment will help us achieve our goals of developing a more sustainable and accessible green space, including a new playground for families to enjoy, and creating new ways to engage with and learn about Hertford’s rich history. We are grateful to The National Lottery Heritage Fund and National Lottery players for helping to preserve the ground’s past while ensuring that its future is equally inspiring.’
Robyn Llewelyn, Director of Midlands & East at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “I am delighted that The National Lottery Heritage Fund is supporting Hertford Castle Park & Garden with its plans to promote the site’s rich history, improve access and increase biodiversity. This funding, which has been made possible thanks to National Lottery players, will significantly enhance this gateway to the city’s cultural offer, ensuring that local communities and visitors can enjoy the natural heritage setting of the medieval Castle.”