Southern Green’s restoration of Wharton Park won a Highly Commended Award at Landscape Institute Awards, presided over by author, Bill Bryson. Judges, led by Jenifer White, National Landscape Advisor for Historic England, commented that the park was a ‘sensitive and good quality interpretation of a heritage landscape’.
The £3.0m restoration project, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), Big Lottery and Durham County Council has transformed the park, which was on the brink of closure to a popular visitor attraction and with spectacular views from the Battery- the view point which looks straight out over the City, Cathedral, the viaduct and beyond over the wooded hills surrounding the city, a view that has probably if anything improved since John Ruskin reputedly called it the eighth wonder of the world!!!
Works included the construction of a new Heritage Centre, providing a cafe, education space and WCs, two new play areas and the creation of a new community garden. The Listed Battery and Battlement Walk were fully restored, along with comprehensive repairs to the amphitheatre, stone retaining walls and steps. Footpaths throughout the park were resurfaced, with new street furniture and waymarking throughout and the park entrances were all given new prominence with the introduction of stone piers, gates and signage. The statue of Albert the Good was restored and a new timber sculpture of William Wharton, carved from a felled tree, now looks out over the city.
Wharton Park is the fourth project by Southern Green to be honoured by the Landscape Institute. The restoration of Ouseburn Park in Newcastle was Highly Commended in 2012, as was the Student Forum at Newcastle University in 2013. The restoration of Stewart Park in Middlesbrough was outright winner in the Heritage and Conservation category in 2013.
For more information about the project please click here
To see other entries for the Landscape Instititue Awards click here