Work to begin on £2m lake revamp at Wicksteed Park

Charlotte Widgery, Chris Whitney and Peter Dix by the lake at Wicksteed Park
Charlotte Widgery, Chris Whitney and Peter Dix by the lake at Wicksteed Park

A major £2m project to breathe new life into Wicksteed Park’s historic lake and restore it to former glories is to begin on Monday.

The Kettering park has been awarded more than £1million from the Heritage Lottery Fund to support the scheme.

Improvements will see new wildlife habitats created alongside new facilities to open up the area for visitors.

The project will be launched by Wicksteed Park managing director Alasdair McNee and Oliver Wicksteed, chairman of the Wicksteed Charitable Trust.

They will be joined by local VIPs and community link manager Charlotte Widgery, who has been appointed to oversee a string of initiatives to animate the improved lakeside area.

Contractors will then begin the job of transforming the lake and the surrounding area in the run up to the park opening all its attractions for the 2014 season.

Mr McNee said it marked an exciting period for the park, adding: “Our overall aims are to restore the historic character of the lake and its surroundings, to improve public access to the site, while protecting vulnerable areas and to encourage people to learn about the landscape and ecological heritage of the site.

“The footpath network around the lake will provide a variety of experiences as it guides the visitor around the park and allows them to explore the different parts of the park, ranging from active sports and rides areas to the more passive and rural areas.

“The arboretum, parts of the riverside and the sweep of land around the southern tip of the main lake will be designated as a natural play zone.

“It will become a major new feature of the park and will bring to life areas which are currently little used, are under explored and which don’t feel part of the visitor experience.”

Mr Wicksteed said: “The trustees’ vision for Wicksteed Park as a place where adventurous, educational and imaginative play happen in outstanding parkland offers very rich opportunities for learning and participation.”

What will be included

Draining and deepening of the main lake.

Creation of a new beach area where families can land a kayak.

Restoring the lakeside shelter. Creation of a large amphitheatre, new pathways around the lake and arboretum, and the creation of water play areas for children.

A new Greenway route round the southern part of the lake to link up with the existing footpath.

Creation of new wildlife habitats.