The Discovery Project


  • People - welcoming visitors and improving volunteer facilities
  • Heritage - creating opportunities for visitors to appreciate the Estate's diverse history 
  • Landscapes - re-instating historical pathways, re-introducing vistas and features



about the discovery project

£1.9 million funding award!

13 January 2020. After an 18 month development phase we’re beyond excited to announce our visions for the Country Park through the Heritage Fund application will now become a reality. We can’t wait to get stuck in and start our ambitious Discovery Project plans which will conserve and transform our beautiful and award winning Estate over the coming years.

A new Welcome Centre

The £1.9m boost of funding will allow us to begin work on our new Welcome Centre which was granted planning permission in June 2019. This dynamic and modern new facility will be located in the Car Park and create a real sense of arrival and gateway to the Country Park. A place for people to meet, plan their visit, learn what’s on offer and find information on how they may like to get involved and become one our valued volunteers. Don’t worry, the centre will also host vital facilities such as toilets and coffee machines as well as the chance to pick up souvenirs from your visit.

Something for our hard-working Volunteers

Another huge part of the funding will be spent on creating a new Volunteer Facility – this will provide a base for our volunteers to meet and socialise before a day of really making a difference with their efforts across the Country Park. Our ever growing team of volunteers get involved with horticulture, land clearance, events, history tours and we’ll be looking to recruit for our Welcome Desk in the new Welcome Centre too. It’s going to be great that this dedicated team will now have somewhere warm and dry to enjoy their lunch and a well earned break!

Reinstating lost vistas and landscaping

But it’s not all about brand new buildings and facilities – we’re also looking to re-introduce old pathways, restore the Victorian cobbles in the historic Stable Yard and bring back long lost vistas and view points, all of which the original families that built and lived at Upton House would have enjoyed. Our Grade II* listed Georgian manor house would have stood proud amongst the lawns and grasslands when it was build 200 years ago and commanded some pretty impressive views over Holes Bay and Poole Harbour. It was a House built for ‘looking at’ and we can’t wait for more of our visitors both local and beyond to really enjoy this spectacular building. 

Spreading the message

We’ll also be introducing a brand new and wide-reaching activity programme, working closely with local schools and educational providers to bring school visits and learning opportunities back to the Country Park. We’re located within a Site of Special Scientific Interest, which are fairly rare, and the birdlife, rich biodiversity and wildlife we see across the 160 acres has true educational worth. We’re delighted to once again be able to host school visits and teach people young and old about this amazing part of Dorset.

We’ll keep you updated as and when project works begin; at times they may impact the car park and aspects of your visit so please bear with us on these occasions. 

The Funding Bid

The Path of Life

Get Involved

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