The Discovery Project
- People - a new welcome centre and facilities for our volunteers
- Heritage - promoting the estate's diverse history and natural heritage
- Landscapes - restoring features & vistas, improving drainage of waterlogged grounds
About Our Heritage
Upton Country Park is rich in both its natural and built heritage, both of which will be celebrated through the ‘Discovery’ project.
The Estate includes a 200 year old Georgian-style Grade II* house, formal gardens, parkland, woodland, tenanted farmland, shoreline and Pergins Island.
The Estate has an interesting history and is rich in archaeological remains, especially from the Romano-British period. The house was built from 1816-1818 by Christopher Spurrier, a Poole merchant. Poole’s wealth at the time was built on the Newfoundland trade and Upton House is a fine example of the houses built by the Poole merchants. Following the financial ruin of the Spurrier family the house was bought by Sir Edward Doughty in 1828. The disappearance of Edward’s heir, and subsequent appearance in 1866 of a man claiming to be him, instigated one of the longest trials in English legal history, that of the ‘Tichborne Claimant’.
In 1901 the house was occupied by William Llewellin and his family. William’s sons had distinguished careers and his daughter Margaret Mary became Poole’s first female Mayor. William gifted the house and part of the estate to the Council in 1957, it was initially rented to a Romanian Prince and in 1975 the park was opened to the public.
In addition to the fascinating history that the Estate has to offer, there is a huge significance for wildlife and the natural surroundings, with Upton Country Park being strongly influenced by its unique harbour-side setting.
The Country Park is situated on rising land at the north of Holes Bay Nature Park, a site of international and national importance, with RAMSAR, SPA and SSSI recognition, and is also within The Great Heath Project boundaries, a HLF-funded project managed by the Dorset Wildlife Trust.
We have identified through our research that most people visit the park to enjoy the outdoor space and through the ‘Discovery’ project, there will be increased opportunities for more people to enjoy and engage with our natural environment.
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