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Issue 1. May 2013


Spring time in the park

Welcome to the first issue of Enjoy, a new magazine with all the latest news and events at Williamson Park in Lancaster. Coun Ron Sands, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Culture and Tourism

Read all about the life of the park and feel free to send in your comments on this issue and suggestions and photos for future editions. Please send any comments to The park is looking forwards to welcoming lots of visitors this spring and revealing some of the works that have been taking place throughout winter.

So Enjoy! Landmark restoration complete The beautiful staircase leading up to the Ashton Memorial has been restored to its former glory. Specialist restoration works to the steps and their foundations took around 12 weeks to complete. As part of the rebuilding process, a crane was used to carefully remove the fragile curved granite steps to make way for repairs to the areas of damaged stone, foundations and supporting structures. A new supporting structure to the lower staircase has been constructed in reinforced concrete and steel, the repaired granite steps replaced and the masonry joints re-pointed.

Lancaster City Council funded the £183,000 reconstruction using local construction company, Colin Briscoe Construction Limited, and specialist stone masons Askins and Little. The careful restoration of this iconic Grade I listed monument has been done in such a sympathetic manner that it is hard to notice the difference. It is extremely important that we do what we can to preserve our culture and historic buildings for future generations and now, the staircase will be safe and sound for another hundred years.

For amazing photos of the restoration works, visit williamsonpark and click on photos.

New homes for birds Birds can look forward to feathering their nests in brand new homes thanks to the 50 new boxes recently installed in trees at Fenham Carr. Lancaster City Council initiated a project for prisoners from HMYOI Lancaster Farms to make the boxes during the winter and they are now in place. The boxes are numbered to help record the usage of each box. With the recent installation of a bird hide in Fenham Carr,

Williamson Park, Lancaster City Council, LA1 1UX 01524 33318 -

this area of the park is quickly becoming an ideal spot for bird watchers. Governor of HMYOI Lancaster Farms, Stephen Lawrence, said: “Williamson Park is a great feature of Lancaster and we are pleased to have had this partnership opportunity to help with the woodland improvements. Many of the staff at Lancaster Farms live within the local area and will therefore be part of the community who benefit from the project.”



Meet our new furry friends The Animal Garden has undergone a huge transformation with homes for new residents. We are pleased to welcome our latest arrivals of two bunnies and two guinea pigs. They have settled in well in their brand new pens and are looking forward to meeting you. There are plans to introduce lots more animals during the summer.

Meet the Keepers Job Title: Zoo Keeper

Beth Nortley

Sammy Lodge

Daily tasks: Our first job of the day is to spray the Butterfly House to keep the humidity levels up and then check and feed all of the animals. We clean out tanks and make sure that they have everything they need. We also take care of the outdoor habitat trail and Animal Garden. On weekends and through half term we do a ‘Meet the Keeper’ session at 11am. We talk about lifecycles and habitats and offer any volunteers the chance to handle some of the animals and ask questions. We also work with pupils visiting on school trips and children’s birthday parties. We are planning lots of new activities for

Love Your Zoo week in May half term and throughout the summer all around the park. There are going to be more animals joining us too! Look out for the Ferocious Centipede, Poison Dart Frogs and grasshoppers to name a few!

Getting to handle the animals is the best part of the job. We try to handle them as much as possible to train them so that they are comfortable with members of the public. We are really looking forward to meeting and looking after the new animals and showing them to our visitors. Sammy Lodge

Volunteers help to plant 500 new trees Volunteers from the Greenfingers group helped to plant 500 new trees in Fenham Carr in February. Lancaster City Council received funding from the Forestry Commission through a Woodland Improvement Grant to purchase

habitat value of the woodlands. Species include, Holly, Hawthorn, Hazel, Alder, Oak, Birch and Rowan. It is hoped that once matured, and when managed correctly, the newly planted trees will increase the canopy layers and provide

spot for bird watching. Volunteers and students from the University of Cumbria have played a huge part in helping with the transformation of the woodlands through the ‘Greenfingers project’ set up in 2010. So far the group

five hundred native trees. The new trees will be planted in some of the areas that were subject to Rhododendron ponticum removal last year after being positively identified by DEFRA as being diseased. The native trees that have been selected to increase biodiversity and the general

valuable nesting sites and food sources for birds, including those which may be in decline. In addition, the young offenders from Lancaster Farms have created 50 bird boxes which are now in Fenham Carr. Each box is numbered and usage is being recorded. With the recent installation of a bird hide this area is now becoming a great

have assisted with the Rhododendron removal, the planting of trees and shrubs, helping control the encroachment of Bramble as well as assisting with the cultivation and management of the park’s formal gardens.

Pavilion Café scores high on taste test The Pavilion Café has been awarded a Taste Lancashire Quality Assured accreditation. In February a secret inspection was carried out whilst an assessor rated the entire customer experience from first impressions to service, hospitality and the food quality. The café scored 72% with high scores for first impressions, ambience, hospitality and food presentation.

Recent improvements to the café include refurbishing the interior and exterior, installing wifi, complimentary weekend newspapers and later opening times in summer. If you needed more reasons to visit, try the ‘£2.50 Tuesday’ where you can try anything on the specials board for this bargain price.

For more information visit or for regular updates and menu offers follow us at

The assessor for Taste Lancashire, Andrew Ball noted:

Local produce is evident throughout all menus, with recognition given to all suppliers. This is what the Taste Lancashire scheme is all about, and it was good to see. Food is to a very good standard, for which the kitchen team are to be commended.

Have a brew on us - Join the new loyalty scheme at the café and after your ninth hot drink, have your tenth on us!

coming soon: Summer outdoor theatre

Love Your Zoo week takes place from Saturday 25 May to Saturday 1 June and aims to encourage local people to support their zoos. All the family can get involved in the Love Your Zoo Trail to find the love hearts hiding around the Butterfly House, Mini Beast Cave and Animal Garden. Then tell us why you love your zoo and what your favourite animals are. There will be prizes for the best entries. There will be other activities throughout half term including:

Wildlife Action Day. Sun 26 May, 11am - 1pm

Cost: £4

Meet the Zoo Keepers and take part in lots of activities to help our native wildlife. Make apple feeders, bug hotels, homes for bees and butterfly feeders. Meet at the gift shop. Suitable for ages 8-14 yrs. Please book through Salt Ayre Sports Centre on 01524 842493

Be a Zoo Keeper. Tues 28 May, 11am - 1pm

Cost: £4

Go behind the scenes and become a Zoo Keeper for the day. Help look after our animals and learn about lifecycles and habitats. Plus get to handle some of the creepy crawlies! Meet at the gift shop. Suitable for ages 8-14yrs. Booking essential please call Salt Ayre Sports Centre on 01524 842493

Story Telling. Wed 29 May, 11am - 1pm

Cost: £4

Join us on a magical journey through the woods for a story telling adventure. Suitable for children aged 5–10 yrs. Booking essential please call Salt Ayre Sports Centre on 01524 842493

Mini Bio Blitz. Thurs 30 May, 11am - 4pm

Free to join

Help the zoo keepers to research what wildlife is living in the park. This is a drop in session with various activities taking place throughout the day such as bird surveys, butterfly transect, pond dipping, tree identification and bug hunts. Suitable for ages 4-11yrs. Booking not essential – just turn up.

Animal Enrichment Day. Sat 1 June, 11am - 1pm

Cost: £4

Help to pamper our pets through making food and physical enrichments. Children will get to produce exciting meals and devise activities to stimulate our animals. This is a great activity for children aged 8-14yrs. Booking is essential through Salt Ayre Sports Centre on 01524 842493.

ON SALE! For all our latest updates:

/williamsonpark @williamsonpark

Join our mailing list at:

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Williamson Park Magazine  

Spring Edition

Williamson Park Magazine  

Spring Edition