£13.8m of National Lottery money will revive six parks, including Jane Austen’s local park in Bath.
One of the parks is Sydney Gardens in Bath, a favourite of the novelist.
The Grade II listed park requires urgent repair and is one of the UK’s last Georgian Pleasure Gardens. A total of £2,742,300 of National Lottery money is set aside for the development.
Before she moved within view of them in 1801, she wrote: “It would be very pleasant to be near Sydney Gardens!”
Plans include a cafe and play areas and improvements to Minerva’s Temple and the canal footbridges.
Closed parts of the park will reopen and there will be new areas with wild flowers and planting for pollinating insects.
The project will include four refurbished tennis courts and a new labyrinth-in-glass.
Sydney Gardens is one of six UK parks to receive National Lottery money, awarded jointly by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund.
The six parks are:
• South Cliff Gardens in Scarborough’s South Bay – £4.66m
• Castle Park in Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire – £1.94m
• Sydney Gardens in Bath – £2.74m
• Fairhaven Lake and Gardens on the Fylde coast, Lancashire £1.47m
• Ellington Park in Ramsgate, Kent – £1.64m
• Stevens Park in Dudley – £1.4m
South Cliff Gardens in Scarborough’s South Bay
The South Cliff Gardens stretch for 1.5km along the cliff slopes of Scarborough’s South Bay. The town became England’s first seaside resort following the discovery of spa waters in 1626.
Visitors came from across the UK and this led to the development of spa buildings and promenade, gardens and cliff-top esplanade.
The gardens have deteriorated recently and are currently on Historic England’s Heritage at Risk register.
The funding will revive the park’s horticulture and restore historic features.
Castle Park in Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire
Funding will transform Bishop’s Stortford’s Sworders Field and Castle Gardens into Castle Park.
The park’s name comes from the ruined Waytemore Castle located in its grounds, which dates from at least the 1080s.
Disused buildings in the park will become a park hub, including community rooms and a café.
The River Stort, running through the park, will become a wildlife habitat.
Ellington Park in Ramsgate, Kent
Ellington Park, once part of the Ellington estate, has a rich history dating from the 13th century.
The Victorian bandstand, wildlife garden and miniature railway will be improved and there will be a new cafe and playground.
Fairhaven Lake and Gardens on the Fylde coast, Lancashire
Built in the late 19th century, Fairhaven is one of the UK’s first recreation marine lakes – a lake next to the sea containing both sea and rain water.
In its heyday in the 1950s/60s, it attracted crowds of up to 15,000 to watch boat races and take part in water sports and leisure activities.
It is also an important nature and wildlife site.
Usage of the lake and gardens has declined recently, but this funding will mean the park can open seven days a week, all year round.
Improvements to the lake’s landscape and water quality will lead to an increase in water sports and other community activities.
The Japanese water garden will be restored and the pagoda and boathouse will host community events.
Stevens Park in Quarry Bank, Dudley
Industrialist Ernest Stevens donated the park to the Borough of Dudley in the 1920s.
The park features a Victorian farmhouse and coach house (Tintern House), an ornate bandstand and the Grade II listed Peace Gardens.
National Lottery and public parks
More than £950m from the National Lottery Fund has regenerated UK public parks and cemeteries since 1996.
About Big Lottery Fund
The Fund has made more than 200,000 grants and awarded over £9bn to projects that have benefited millions of people.