Funded through a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant and a contribution from East Herts Council, the project has significantly improved the visitor experience as well as giving insight into the history and pre-history of the Grade Two listed parkland which is designed in the style of Capability Brown.
The engagement of community groups and local schools was a top priority so local residents have been very much involved. Volunteers have been trained in archaeological surveying and environmental conservation work and Friends of Pishiobury Park have carried out ongoing enhancements to the various wildlife habitats found in the park. These include wet woodlands, which are rare in Hertfordshire, and grassland which is now grazed by traditional breeds of cattle. Friends of Pishiobury Park have also taken a lead role in developing heritage and wildlife walks and produced an audio trail.
Access to the park has been improved with a disabled parking bay and the installation of an extensive area of boardwalk through the wet woodland. New interpretation boards and site maps have been created to provide information on the heritage of the park and the diversity of the habitats.
Councillor Mione Goldspink, East Herts Executive Member for Neighbourhoods, said: ‘It’s wonderful to spend time in this delightful park and to see the significant enhancements which have been made. It’s clearly been a real community effort and I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has given time to ensure the success of the project. Pishiobury Park is a real asset for Sawbridgeworth and a beautiful part of East Herts to visit.’
Eric Buckmaster, Hertfordshire County Council’s Executive Member for the Environment, said: ‘I’m really impressed by the work that the local community have done to bring this project to life. It’s made a real difference to this valuable local parkland, and I hope the people of Sawbridgeworth and the surrounding area will be able to enjoy it this summer and for years to come. This project is a great example of how we’re working together to create accessible and biodiverse green spaces that everyone can enjoy.’
The delivery of the Heritage Discovery project was managed by Hertfordshire County Council’s Countryside Management Service who worked closely with the parks team at East Herts Council to deliver the works.