Houghton Hall Park

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More latest information and pictures are available on our Facebook site at:

www.facebook.com/houghtonhallpark

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Located in the heart of Houghton Regis, Houghton Hall Park is a hidden gem - unlocking 42 acres of parkland, woodland and more to visitors and the local community. Jointly managed by Central Bedfordshire Council and Houghton Regis Town Council, the park has undergone an impressive transformation and offers contemporary amenities while retaining its valuable history. 

Please come along to find out more about the park, its history, the events & activities on offer and the wildlife that visit the park, we hope you enjoy exploring on your visit.

Keep up to date with what's going on in the park - read the Houghton Hall Park Newsletter

Enjoy the interactive map showing visitor information - View the map here

Cafe

With plenty to offer on the menu, the dog-friendly café makes for the perfect stop after a refreshing walk in the park…and a perfect setting to catch up with some friends over a coffee and slice of homemade cake. Indoor and outdoor seating is available - providing exceptional views of the park while you relax in your surroundings.

Kitchen and Formal Garden

Please join our mid-week sessions and spend time developing our ever-changing Formal and Kitchen Gardens! Tasks may involve weeding, planting, growing vegetables and generally maintaining the Gardens for the community to enjoy, all whilst learning new skills and making friends within the Friends of Houghton Hall Park group of volunteers. Please sign up to our mailing list, making sure to select 'Volunteering' to receive updates about our Garden volunteering sessions restarting.

Adult Park Run

Every Saturday morning at 9am, why not take part in a friendly 5k run at Houghton Hall Park? It's completely free. Come along and join in whatever your pace, everyone runs for their own enjoyment. It is entirely organised by volunteers so please email houghtonhallhelpers@parkrun.com to volunteer your help. Every week we grab a post parkrun coffee at the visitor centre, please do come and join us!

Junior Park Run

Houghton Hall Junior Parkrun is a 2k run for juniors only (4 - 14 years olds) held free every Sunday at 9am at Houghton Hall Park.  The aim is to have fun, please come along and join in whatever your pace, also grab a post parkrun coffee in the Visitor Centre.  You can also volunteer at the event as the team are always looking for markers, countes or photographers.  If you wish to volunteer or find out more details, please email houghtonhallhelpers@parkrun.com to volunteer your help.

Buggy Exercise

Every Wednesday 9:30-10:30am, Hayley Clear leads the popular Buggy Exercise class for just £2 per session. New parents can get social, get fit and make new friends whilst most importantly - having fun! Register at www.bookwhen.com/clearfitness to book on or for more information, email Hayley at Hayleyclear@gmail.com.

To find out more about 'What's On' in Houghton Hall Park - Click the Link

Volunteering at Houghton Hall park

There are plenty of opportunities to get involved with the developments at Houghton Hall Park and we welcome all abilities and ages to join our Friends of Houghton Hall Park to make a difference in the local community whilst learning new skills, making friends and creating a more enjoyable space for park users.

Our Friends of Houghton Hall Park won the Volunteer Group of the Year award in the Central Bedfordshire Council's Cheering Volunteering 2018 awards ceremony held on 5th June 2018, a very well deserved award for a hard working group of dedicated, enthusiastic and lovely individuals, who are always looking for more friends to share the workload. We hope there is an opportunity below that is of interest to you, if you have any questions please get in touch by emailing hhp@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk and speaking to a member of the Houghton Hall Park team for more information.

Thinking of joining the Friends of Houghton Hall Park, then get in touch with us to see what you can do to get involved. Here are some ideas below.

Guides for park and trail leaders

Observational surveys

Wildlife surveys

Fixed point photography

Dawn Bird Watching

Evening Bat Survey

Bird Watching

Community Engagement

Weeding, clearing, cleaning and gardening

Growing food and encourage healthy eating

Teach younger generations (if you have skill or qualification let us know!)

Become a community leader

Support other volunteers

Help maintain the horticulturally intensive kitchen and formal gardens

Contribute to the annual park events calendar

Curate local history talks at the visitor centre

Work experience in café when open

Habitat enhancement work in the woodland and meadow

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The Houghton Hall Park Renaissance and Renewal Project was managed by Central Bedfordshire Council in partnership with Houghton Regis Town Council and was supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Big Lottery Fund.

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HISTORY OF THE AREA

HOUGHTON REGIS VILLAGE GREEN 1914- 1918 (WORLD WAR I)

The Town Council holds some historic documents that show how Houghton Regis Village Green and Houghton Hall Park played a part in World War I.

In January 1916 the Clerk to Houghton Regis Parish Council, George Jones, wrote to the Commons and Footpaths Preservation Society for advice. He noted that the Military Authority had taken possession of the Village Green, erecting huts and using it for manoeuvres. No approach had been made to the Council, its owners, about this. The Council was concerned about any infringement of their rights, the expense of reinstatement and that private owners of adjacent land (such as Houghton Hall park) were being paid rent. 

The Society responded saying the Council should communicate with the Authorities noting that the Green should be restored ‘as soon as national exigencies permit… as it is a valued Open Space’. 

Later in the year a letter from the Colonel Commanding Royal Engineer Bedford District, noted the ‘question of reinstatement will receive favourable consideration from the War Office on the termination of Military occupancy’.

The story continued into 1918, when the Parish Council contacted the local MP, Cecil Harmsworth. He was MP for Luton from 1911-1922 and in the Secretariat of the Prime Minister Lloyd George from 1917-1919. Harmsworth suggested that the Council ‘try to get to the soft side’ of the military authorities rather than using the Preservation Society. He contacted colleagues in the War Office to obtain their assurance that the Green would be reinstated, and he enclosed their letter with a note of his own, on 10 Downing Street paper!

However the Council had already contacted the Preservation Society. The Society advised they had succeeded having safeguards put in the Defence of the Realm Acquisition of Land Act 1916 for exactly this purpose. They then sent a reminder to the Council to pay their subscription. 

The YMCA and YWCA erected recreation huts on the east side of the Green for the military personnel stationed nearby, with similar assurances to the Council that they would reinstate the land. Postcards from these personnel posted in Houghton Regis are held in a private collection. We hope to share some of these stories in the future. 

The Parish Council must have eventually succeeded in having the Green reinstated. Modern survey techniques such as LIDAR show extensive disruption to the land of the Green and Houghton Hall Park, which may be due to all the activity in World War I. The open spaces of Houghton Regis played their part in the war, and were as valued 100 years ago as they are today.

 

Twitter:  @BedsCountryside

Facebook:  HoughtonHallPark

Website:  www.houghtonhallpark.org

E-mail:  hhp@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk

Last updated about 1 week ago