The treasured Rhyddings Park, once the private grounds of local industrialist Robert Watson, had sadly become run down by the early 2010s.
Thanks to a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant, it’s now back to its best and helping people in Oswaldtwistle to better manage their mental and physical health.
“I have never been to a garden in England. My father was a gardener in Pakistan and I have so many happy memories of those times, and being here has made them all come back to me.”
- Park visitor
The park’s restored Coach House has become a café and community hub. It serves as an ideal site for a huge series of wellbeing and community activities. Participants can take part in mindfulness, anxiety management, pilates and yoga activities, as well as enjoying the stress-busting effects of stepping into nature in the now lovingly cared-for park.
One visitor, attending with a South Asian women's support group, said: “I have never been to a garden in England. My father was a gardener in Pakistan and I have so many happy memories of those times, and being here has made them all come back to me.”
The walled garden she visited, once derelict, has been returned to its traditional use of food growing. Along with the rest of Rhyddings, it is cared for through a new park management training programme.
The Coach House generates income through its meeting rooms, cafe and training kitchen, meaning these wider activities can be sustained into the future.
As it goes from strength to strength, it's not surprising that Rhyddings Park was awarded a Green Flag Award for 2019–20 – the scheme recognises parks that uphold the highest standards for visitors.