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 the Project

Through the Discovery Project we will restore our historical features, re-instate landscapes that have been lost over time and enhance our grounds. Visitors will enjoy improved access to the fascinating history of the Estate through interactive displays around the site and a new welcome centre will create the perfect opportunity for them to learn more about what is available to see and do at the Country Park.

A project to support the local community, we will be offering opportunities for more people to develop new skills and knowledge, with better access to training and education, focusing on the natural environment.

People, Heritage & Landscapes

Our project has three main themes, together they will create an accessible and sustainable heritage attraction for the local community to relax, enjoy and learn in:

People

As part of the project, it is our plan to convert the existing car park toilet block into a new welcome centre, to provide a central point for visitors to access information about our services, events and facilities. There will also the opportunity to introduce the natural and built heritage of the site with interactive interpretation displays.

Our volunteer support continues to grow but our existing facilities are not able to provide the space during breaks needed for everyone. We are incredibly fortunate to have the support of many wonderful volunteers and we would like to offer them comfortable facilities to enjoy during breaks with improved volunteer facilities.

We will create new training and learning opportunities for our volunteers and the local community. Working in partnership with local organisations, we will provide increased access to skills development and work experience throughout the Country Park, introducing our heritage to more people and strengthening our ties with young people.

Heritage

Our project will allow us to introduce our heritage to all of our visitors by adding new high quality interpretation throughout the site, creating the opportunity for visitors to understand the Estate’s diverse history and further extend the story of the local area.

Upton Country Park has a unique harbour-side setting and hosts stunning views of the Holes Bay Nature Park, consisting of a mosaic of wetland and mudflats. The Discovery Project will allow us to introduce a bird hide on our shoreline and provide more people with the opportunity to learn about and enjoy the natural heritage throughout the Country Park.

Landscapes

Through the Project, we will re-instate historical pathways and create a new network of paths from the back lawn, to link Upton House to the wider Estate. Views down to the shoreline have been lost over time but with the effective management of trees and planting, our project will re-introduce three vistas from Upton House and Walled Garden down to Holes Bay Nature Park, to highlight our shoreline location with the wider Country Park and restoring the historic pleasure grounds.

It is essential to complete vital infrastructure maintenance and protect our listed site from further deterioration. Our research has shown that there is a considerable problem with drainage particularly from the back lawn, resulting in waterlogged grounds and pathways. An improved drainage system will help to rectify this problem. It is our plan to restore historic features and complete essential repair work to our Stable Yard area, to provide improved access to our Walled Garden.

Development & Partnership Funding 2018-19

In January 2018 we were awarded £185,000 Round One (Development Stage) funding, allowing us to work towards a second round bid for up to £1.9 million for the main project. This stage involves us carrying out pilot studies within the local community, public engagement activities, consultation, planning and design work.

Before we can make the Round Two submission in Autumn 2019 we need to have ‘partnership funding’ of £325,000 in place; partnership funding is a contribution to the project required by the Heritage Lottery grant system.

We have received a very generous donation of £125,000 from the Friends of Upton Country Park and a further £170,000 has been secured through the Borough of Poole. The remaining £30,000 is being raised through public events, sponsorship and corporate donations.

Keep up to date with progress at our Discovery Project News page

We plan to convert the toilet block in the main car park into a new welcome centre.

We will re-introduce vistas from the House & grounds to highlight our stunning shoreline location

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