ONE of Tamworth’s best-loved parks is hoping to claim gold, in a Heart of England in Bloom category.
Wigginton Park is competing for the third year in the parks & open spaces category of the Heart of England in Bloom campaign, after receiving gold in last year’s competition.
The award is open to parks and open spaces of all kinds and it is judged on three aspects – community & engagement, maintenance & development and environment.
Wigginton Park entered the awards as a large park of more than 20 hectares. Its entry has been led by the Friends of Wigginton Park, with the support of Tamworth Borough Council.
It was a beautiful summer’s day as the judges, Emma Sibbing and David Tipping, arrived on Thursday, August 2, to take a tour of the Georgian parkland surrounded by Giant Sequoia, Cedar and other well-established specimen trees.
The judges enjoyed a walk through the park taking in the stunning views along with new planting areas and pond dipping platforms; the grassland meadow and the improved tree plantation. The 20-hectares of beautiful parkland is a perfect space for dog-walkers and the playground area is very popular with families.
Chair of the Friends of Wigginton Park, Richard Kingstone, said: “It’s a great honour to be able to enter the Heart of England in Bloom parks category again. Anyone who has visited Wigginton Park will know just how amazing it is. The park is unique, not just in Tamworth, but in the country.
“Where else can you walk though well-maintained parkland; enjoy a healthy game of rugby and then visit a spectacular wildlife meadow? We really do have a special place right here in the heart of Tamworth.”
He added: “The Friends of Wigginton Park was formed by students from The Rawlett School along with local residents and members of Tamworth Rugby Club coming together to attempt to make our park even better.
“Over the years we have developed a management plan with the support of Staffordshire Wildlife Trust and Tamworth Borough Council. We meet on the second Sunday of every month and carry out a variety of activities, including maintenance of the wetlands area; planting bulbs and wildflowers and the community orchard.”
The assessment of Wigginton Park comes just two weeks after Heart of England in Bloom judges Nicola Clarke and Roger Tait visited Tamworth to cast their eyes over the borough’s entry for this year’s Small City category in the regional campaign.
Cllr John Chesworth, Cabinet member for Culture and Operational Services, said: “The huge amount of hard work and dedication from the volunteers who make up the Friends of Wigginton Park shows their commitment to high standards of environmental works and community involvement. The park is an amazing place for walkers and families. The addition of a well-equipped children’s play area in recent years has been a great success I am very hopeful that the park will be acknowledged with gold again this year when the results are announced in September.”
Soon to arrive to the park will be a new addition of a ‘Tree Trail’ of fantasy stories and characters that will capture the imagination of visitors to Wigginton Park, created following a series of workshops with local groups and schools.
The Talking Leaves Tree Trail project, developed and supported by Tamworth Borough Council, Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, the Friends of Wigginton Park and MD Creative, has been working with local groups since July 2017 to create a collection of mythical stories about carefully-selected trees around the park.
The idea is that visitors to the park will be able to find the trees on the trail and discover their individual enchanted stories and ‘characters’, as well as finding out about local history and different species of trees.
The unveiling of the stories at the launch will include theatre and dance performers dressed in the character costumes. People who follow the trail will be able to put the collection of stories together to create a complete ‘book’ of tales.