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Bringing Cassiobury Park's history to life

The Cassiobury Park Restoration Project – led by Watford Borough Council – has been shortlisted for the Heritage and Conservation category at the prestigious Landscape Institute (LI) Awards 2018, celebrating landscape led projects across the world.

The LI Awards are presented to landscape professionals in recognition of their outstanding work, and to encourage excellence. Every year, the LI applauds those working on the most innovative projects to have shaped, restored and protected the natural and built environment.

Through the HLF and Big Lottery Fund, £4.95million was awarded to carry out the restoration. The regeneration of Cassiobury Park included the restoration of Watford’s 104-year-old bandstand – returned to its original spot, not far from the refurbished paddling pools and award-winning hub building. The Edwardian Cha Café and nearby playground also underwent a £350,000 restoration under the scheme, while the Rickmansworth Road entrance to the park was extensively renovated.

The project team also worked closely with the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust, creating a detailed management plan for the landscape and habitat improvement works at Whippendell Wood, the historic Lime Avenue, Local Nature Reserve, Community Orchard and throughout the rest of the park.

Elected Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor said: “The restoration project has restored the park to its former historic glory, and the work has made a real difference in improving the landscape and the facilities. The thriving new park hub building and paddling pools is a real focus for park activities, which my family and I regularly attend, as well as providing an opportunity for visitors to discover the rich history of the park.

The project has enabled people who live, work and visit Watford to reconnect with their past and their local environment by creating a walk back in time – a link from town centre to countryside via Watford’s most significant historical landscape, which comprises part of the former Cassiobury Estate.

The LI Awards received a record breaking 163 entries this year, making it a difficult task for the judges to shortlist from such an extensive portfolio of fantastic and interesting projects, highlighting the success of the Cassiobury Park Restoration Project.