ONE of Devon’s most popular parks has been awarded a £341,000 grant to help with its restoration project.
It means the Park now has permission to start the two-year development phase of the project to examine the best options to restore Stover Park over the next few years.
The National Lottery Heritage funding will also enable Stover Park to develop plans to be sustainable and carbon neutral, as well as supporting the development of plans for expanding Stover’s interpretation, and an activity plan will be created for visitor engagement at Stover Park, including an extension to the visitor centre and café.
It comes as the Devon County Council owned park on the edge of Newton Abbot has seen a marked increase in visitors – with numbers up by over 50 per cent in recent weeks – demonstrating how valuable the park is for people to exercise and improve their health and wellbeing.
The grant will fund the preparation of a number of major projects at Stover Park. This will include:
Finalising options to remove silt from Stover Lake to help restore it as a healthy fresh-water feature and improve the SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest);
Ecological and archaeological surveys to be carried out within the park;
Technical surveys to help plan the restoration of three Grade 2 Listed Buildings within Stover Park – two of which are on the Heritage at Risk Register;
Feasibility studies will be carried out on the possible restoration of a designed ornamental lake and improved water management within Stover Park;
The expansion and creation of new walking and access routes will be investigated.
Cllr Roger Croad, Devon County Council cabinet member for environment, said: ‘Stover Country Park faces many modern-day challenges such as increased visitor numbers and climate change, and this funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund is a great opportunity to tackle that as well as other environmental issues and water management.
‘It will also enable the delivery of biodiversity improvements and will increase opportunities for volunteering and help us explore new initiatives to help maintain Stover as a regional Historic Park and Garden.
‘Stover has remained open throughout the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown as it’s an important facility for people’s health and wellbeing. Its wide paths and walkways enable visitors to keep a safe distance while enjoying the park and as lockdown has eased in recent weeks the impressive increase in visitor numbers illustrates the importance of the park.’
Cllr George Gribble, County Councillor for Bovey Tracey Rural, added: ‘To receive a grant from the NLHF is a great result and thanks must be offered to all the landowners and partner organisations who have worked together over many years to support the grant application. It is also great news for the many volunteers, who work tirelessly to maintain Stover Country Park as a valuable park for visitors and wildlife.’
Among the aims of the masterplan are to restore the ornamental lake, which was formed and ran to Teigngrace, which disappeared entirely in the 1950s, the restoration of the Grade II* listed hidden stables under Stover School, and to repair the Grade 2* listed Granit Gatehouse to make it accessible again to the public.
The ambition is also to extend public access and have additional walking routes in Stover Park, with the hope of acquiring adjoining land to expand the Country Park size by about a third, from 114 acres to 164 acres.
The projects funded through the grant are among those outlined in the ‘Parkland Plan’ 10-year vision for Stover Country Park, published in 2014, with Teignbridge District Council earlier this year throwing their full support behind the project.
A grant application for the second round of National Lottery Heritage funding will be prepared for the delivery phase of the project, which is scheduled to take place from 2022-2025, which will include a full fundraising plan, business plan, conservation management plan, and management and maintenance plan.