The Highlands very own Central Park has officially been opened.
The beautiful park at the centre of the newly developed Retford Park Estate was created with the vision of a pedestrian-friendly and community-focused neighbourhood.
The park was officially opened on Wednesday, Septmeber 20 by Councillor Larry Whipper.
Clr Whipper said it was important that significant green space is part of the planning for all urban developments.
“It is well-documented that access to shared parks and green open spaces increases the well-being and community spirit in urban neighbourhoods,” he said.
We are lucky to have had a developer as benevolent as Mr Fairfax to ensure that this lovely park will become the centrepiece of the community adjoining his former home, Retford Park House.”
The park was designed by Arterra, Landscape Architects, and constructed by Cleary Brothers, Civil Contractors and Precision Landscapes.
The centrepiece of the park is a playful steel sculpture featuring a family of three life-sized cows crafted by the renowned sculptor, Jimmy Rix.
Cattle have grazed the paddocks of Retford Park collectively for nearly two centuries and the sculptures add an iconic visual feature to the park referencing the historical use of the land.
The park, which covers more than an acre, includes more than 4,000 individual plantings, which, when mature, will feature numerous large and iconic shade trees.
Three of the English Oaks planted in Central Park have been propagated from seeds collected from one of the mature English Oaks planted during the period of Hordern ownership, which still grow in the paddocks surrounding Retford Park House.
The planting has been designed to incorporate formal hedging and attractive, low-maintenance flower beds. Numerous flowering trees will provide further seasonal interest while still allowing open views to and from the surrounding streets for both pleasure and security.
The design of the park includes a generous ‘kick-about area’ for informal family games and community gatherings, and there is ample seating for those happy to sit quietly and enjoy the serene surroundings.
A formal parterre style garden has also been planted to provide a central ceremonial and visual feature to the landscape.
Standing sentinel over Central Park is a historically-themed and ornate rotunda which acts as a focus upon arrival into the park. The style of the rotunda harks back to the era when Retford Park House was first built and is representative of the style and character of the original house.
For a short time after the official opening, Central Park will be secured to allow completion of the landscaping works but it will be fully available for community use by the end of 2017.