Hunstanton Heritage Gardens

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  • BALI National Landscape Award winning project in the Regeneration Scheme category
  • £1.3 million project to revitalise Victorian cliff-top gardens.
  • Supporting a successful Heritage Lottery Fund bid.
  • Managing public consultations, research and activities.
  • Conservation plan to restore heritage structures to their former glory.

The gardens on the cliff top at Hunstanton in Norfolk were created during the town’s time as a fashionable Victorian resort. They stretch for 1.5 kilometres along cliffs that are one of the country’s leading geological sites and because of their Victorian design are an important heritage site.

Kings Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council invited us to lead their project to win funding for redevelopment through a Heritage Lottery Fund second stage bid. Like so many seaside towns Hunstanton has faced economic and social challenges due to declining visitor numbers and an aging population. The aim of the project was to refresh and enhance the valuable heritage of the site to make it make it more attractive both for Hunstanton residents and visitors to the town.

The project involved extensive consultation with local residents and visitors to the area. We wanted to make sure we understood what the gardens meant to residents and the appeal for visitors. We were also keen to understand how the gardens could add greater value in the future. The design had to reflect the heritage of the town and encourage people to use the park more frequently and for longer periods of time.

We had a tight deadline to submit the funding bid so we had to work quickly. We ran a range of consultative activities and events and met everyone from the local Brownies and Scouts and the Arts Committee to the British Legion, Bowls Club and the local RNLI. Decisions were made as to what to restore and where to create new features, and within 2 months we had prepared detailed proposals. These, together with the activity plan which we also wrote, formed the core of the Council’s successful funding bid. We were then commissioned to develop the design and run the construction project on site.

Key features of the finished project are:

  • Refurbishment of a range of existing buildings of heritage significance. These included Victorian shelters, an Edwardian pavilion, and some 1960s concrete shelters of distinctive “butterfly” shape. Two scheduled monuments inside the Gardens were also repaired.
  • A new playground
  • A new memorial celebrating the town’s relationship with the sea.
  • A new memorial to the town’s founder, Henry Styleman Le Strange.
  • Recreating the original Victorian and Edwardian planting scheme.

Click here to see our drone video of the site

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