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General News > David Bellamy to Open £200,000 Museum Park Re-development
Broadcaster, botanist, author and environmental campaigner David Bellamy OBE is to officially open a major redevelopment of The Bowes Museum’s grounds and parkland.
Professor Bellamy will do the honours at 1.00pm on Sunday 2 September, when he will cut an unusual ‘ribbon’ before giving a short speech to declare the £200,000 improvements open.
As well as enjoying the new play equipment and beautiful woodland walks, visitors that day will also be able to watch Ben Potter Birds of Prey Displays. Ben will be putting his unusual and interesting flying team on show in the formal garden at the front of the Museum, before ‘something very different from your typical falconry display’ takes place at 2.30pm. He and his team concentrate on the natural behaviour of these magnificent birds, showing eagles, hawks, falcons, owls and vultures in the most natural display of its kind.
During the afternoon the Museum’s Education Officer, Amy Bainbridge, will be offering families free outdoor drop-in activities, taking birds as her theme. (If the weather is inclement these will take place inside the Museum).
Staff from the award winning Café Bowes will be organising a Pimm’s tent, and for those wanting to relax, picnic tables and wooden benches complement the new play area, which is flanked by carved posts created by Dave Gross. The play equipment includes a climbing frame, balancing log and bars, a slide, large bucket swing, stepping stones and a bridge beam. Visitors can also stroll along the woodland walks around the perimeter of the grounds - which are accessible by wheelchair and buggies - discovering for themselves the abundance of fur and feather wildlife, newly created bird boxes and well established trees en route.
The park redevelopment follows a £12m makeover of the Museum, resulting in the creation of new galleries dedicated to Fashion & Textiles and Silver & Metals, while others, including the painting galleries and main exhibition space received major refurbishment, along with the café and shop.
The Museum’s Conservation Manager, Jon Old, who oversaw this latest project, said: “This has been a fantastic initiative which has made the whole park accessible to everyone and provides much needed outdoor play.”
The grounds are open to the public seven days a week and can be accessed free of charge. Their redevelopment has been funded primarily by the County Durham Environmental Trust who gave the project a CDENT Premier Award of £187,000 under the Landfill Communities Fund. The project was also supported by the Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust and Teesdale Action Partnership. The park was designed by TGP Landscape Architects (North) Ltd, while the contractor was Trevor Atkinson & Co. Signage was by Marcus Byron Interpretation and Design.
John Wearmouth, Chairman of CDENT, said “This is one of the final projects to be funded by CDENT in its last months of operation and it is one of the finest as it is set in the glorious landscaping setting that is such an integral part of the appeal of the Bowes”.
The Bowes Museum, Café Bowes and Shop are open daily from 10.00. A full programme of events and exhibitions is available by calling 01833 690606 or by viewing the website at www.thebowesmuseum.org.uk.