150 acres of grade II parkland with 30 rides, extensive play grounds, lakeside walks, and the UK’s busiest narrow gauge railway. Wicksteed Park - the ideal venue for all celebrations and a full fun-packed family day out in the East Midlands. Owned and operated by the Wicksteed Charitable Trust – the home of children’s play.
The Lake Restoration:
March 2014 Update
We are very excited that the £2million project, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, to restore our lake is nearing its completion. You will see a lot of changes to the park and hopefully some nice surprises!
An amazing 50,000 cubic meters of lake silt has been moved. Roughly half has been taken out to dry on two sites within the park, the remainder has been fashioned to create a number of large reed beds around the margins of the lake as well as the islands.
These new reed beds will help restore the lake’s ecology by extracting water-born nutrients and creating habitats for fish, insects and birds.
The reed beds may take some time to establish themselves but in a few years’ time the lake will look very different indeed. The removal of the silt means the lake will now be much deeper with some sections over 2.5metres.
This will also help to improve the ecology by providing a more stable core temperature. Water levels in the lake will now be automatically controlled by pressure sensors which will operate gates at either end.
A new lake-side path is currently being created that will take visitors around the lake’s edge with an option to walk into our arboretum across a new footbridge.
At its’ southern edge visitors will first walk on a raised boardwalk then cross the lake via a 90m pontoon to reach the eastern shore.
A new horseshoe-shaped weir has also been built to allow water to constantly spill over and should be a very attractive feature.
One thing you may also notice is the restored long views of the lake from all parts of the park.
The original roundhouse, close to the lake’s edge, is being expertly renovated by our own in-house team so it can be used as an activity centre. For many years it has been hidden by a 5metre willow fence.
Close to the roundhouse and beside the sandpit will be a paddling area for young children on a newly-created beach.
Behind the roundhouse we are building a grass amphitheatre that will hold over 250 people and which will feature a hard standing performance space at the front.
The new path will take visitors from this area southwards and they will pass another shingle beach on the other side of the historic model boating lake.
It will come as no surprise to you that the terrible weather has had an impact on this large project.
This is likely to mean a delay of a few weeks in the opening of the new walking routes around the lake, particularly the southern edge.
We are now looking at opening these in late April. The entrance into the park via the arboretum is unlikely to be reopened until mid to late April.
Other impacted areas include the new amphitheatre, which needs to be protected until the new grass has taken a firm root.
We have roughly 25,000 cubic meters of silt drying out on two sites both of which will remain out of bounds for a considerable time. This means walking routes will continue to be affected in some parts and we greatly appreciate your patience and co-operation whilst this situation continues.
Other areas of the park and its attractions maybe affected too but we will let you know if this is the case and how this will affect your visit. However, many aspects of the park remain unaffected by the work and will be open as normal.
This ambitious project would not have taken place without the huge support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Wicksteed Charitable Trust. Kettering Borough Council and Northamptonshire County Council have also been generous in their assistance.
We all look forward to seeing you over the next few months – remember your visits help to keep this charity and historic park safe and sustainable.
Registered Charity No.1142103