The Victoria Park and Watercress Fields Project is a £4.5m project being delivered by Ashford Borough Council and the National Lottery Heritage Fund to improve and protect Victoria Park for the local community. The project focuses on the natural, built and social heritage of Ashford’s largest public park, and particularly aims to improve it for residents by updating the community facilities and play spaces.
Highlights from the new and improved facilities include
The project team also developed a new corps of volunteers for the park and local community alongside an activity programme to help get the most out of everything in Victoria Park. New events and activities include a Christmas Fair, The Big Lunch, art workshops, celebrations of the park’s heritage, and hands-on conservation.
National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF)
NLHF are the largest dedicated grant funder of the UK’s heritage. Locally connected and with national expertise, NLHF are a change-maker working to enhance and champion the value of heritage for all. As part of this work NLHF are joint funding the Victoria Park and Watercress Fields Project by directly contributing £3million.
Kent County Council (KCC) and British Cycling (BC)
KCC are funding cycling and walking improvements around Kent, whilst BC are funding community cycling facilities through their Places to Ride programme. Together, both organisations are contributing approximately £80,000 to provide improved cycling facilities in the park, including upgrading a planned BMX “dirt track” to a more challenging “pump track”.
Kentish Stour Countryside Partnership (KSCP)
KSCP work closely with landowners and local communities to promote both landscape and nature conservation in areas effecting or effected by the River Stour. KSCP are contracted to deliver a range of conservation activities throughout the park as part of the Victoria Park Project including things such as training, practical conservation days and family events like the 2021 October Scarecrow Trail.