Environment

Stover Country Park praised for “good progress” in maintaining heritage

Photo of Stover Gatehouse

Posted on: 15 October 2020

Stover Country Park has been highlighted by Historic England as a site where “good progress” is being made to maintain heritage.

The annual Heritage at Risk Register has been published by Historic England today (Thursday 15 October) – revealing the historic sites most at risk of being lost forever as a result of neglect, decay or inappropriate development.

The register provides an annual snapshot of the critical health of England’s most valued historic places, and those most at risk.

Over the last year, 53 historic buildings and sites in the South West have been saved thanks to the determination of local communities, charities, owners, local councils and Historic England, who together want to see historic places restored and brought back to life.

Stover Country Park, which is a Grade II Registered Park and Garden (RPG), has been recognised by Historic England for the progress made this year.

The 18th century park near Newton Abbot was placed on the Heritage at Risk register in 2009. It is classed as being at risk as it is in multiple, public and private ownership and some of the most important historic features are in poor condition, including the ornamental lake and canal, the grade II listed bridge, and the grade II* Granite Lodge and II* listed former Stables to Stover House (both on the Heritage at Risk Register in their own right).

Devon County Council owns the northern third of the Country Park which is open to the public, and through its ‘Restoring Stover Park Project’ it has worked closely with key stakeholders to successfully secure funding from the National Heritage Lottery Fund to enable greater access and promote public appreciation of this popular and valuable piece of Devon’s heritage and green infrastructure.

The development phase of the project is now under way and a grant of £30,000 from Historic England is supporting the technical surveys of the former Stables, ornamental lake and the Granite Lodge.

Photo of Councillor Roger Croad

Councillor Roger Croad

Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for Environment, said: “It’s encouraging that Historic England has recognised the major step forward we’re taking with the Restoring Stover Park Project. The grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund will help to fund a number of studies looking at the restoration of the historic heritage at Stover Park. Ecological and archaeological surveys will be carried out within the park, as well as technical surveys to help plan the restoration of three Grade 2 Listed Buildings within the Park – two of which are on the Heritage at Risk Register. Although restoration wouldn’t start until around 2022 we’re working towards taking the Park off of the Heritage at Risk register.”

Rebecca Barrett, Historic England Regional Director in the South West, said: “It is the varied tapestry of our historic places that helps us define who we are. In testing times such as these, heritage can give us a sense of continuity and bring us solace. We also know that investing in historic places can help boost our economic recovery. The 53 places rescued from the register this year show us that good progress is being made, but there is still a long way to go and many more historic buildings and places which need TLC, funding, strong partnership working and community support to give them a brighter future.”

71 sites in the South West have been added to the Register because of concerns about their condition. Over the past year, Historic England has offered £1.58 million in grants to help some of the region’s best loved and most important historic sites.

The buildings and places rescued from the Heritage at Risk Register can help level up economic opportunity, support skilled local construction jobs, build resilience in private and public organisations and boost tourism.

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