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Cale Park Development Gets Underway VIDEO

Friday 30 May 2014, 17:12
By John Smith

Back around 2010 a plan was hatched to completely overhaul the recreation ground by the River Cale. This recreation ground has served the families of Wincanton well for many years but has suffered some degradation in recent years.

The plan is ambitious: to transform the existing recreation ground, play area, the land either side of the path to Lidl and Morrison's, and the land leading to the new Health Centre into one large parkland area, designated 'Cale Park' by locals.

Its size and estimated cost, £500,000, must make this one of the most ambitious plans ever devised in Wincanton Town Council history. The plan first came into public view back in June 2013 with an extensive display at the David Sharp Centre, open to the public for scrutiny. See the full report including detailed plans here.

School children carrying saplings to the planting site

Planting a holly sapling

The plans are the result of a professional survey of the proposed area. Since then Town Councillor Richard D'Arcy and a team of his colleagues have been doing all in their power to get this impressive plan underway. All their hard work is now starting to come to fruition.

Stage 1 of the Cale Park project is estimated to cost about £200,000. Initial finance has been secured to allow work to begin. Team Leader Richard D'Arcy stated that he wished to extend his thanks to South Somerset District Council for their £35,000 grant towards new play equipment, and Wincanton Town Council for a grant of £15,000 towards the general Cale Park fund. To help raise the balance of the fund the team have enlisted the help of a professional fundraiser.

Back on the 25th March this first stage took a step forward with the clearance of a derelict area just beyond the existing play area, formerly the site of the old children's play fort and bicycle bumps. The C.A.T.C.H. group have volunteered their services to prepare this area to become a wild flower meadow; a sure boon to the ecosystem given it's proximity to the river.

Planting saplings in rows to form a hedge

Local school children help plant a tree

On Tuesday 25th March the team and volunteers arrived for a tree/hedge sapling planting day. By just after 9.00am they had unloaded the saplings from the delivery lorry. By the end of day they had successfully planted over 1000 saplings. National Tree Week in November this year should herald the planting of even more saplings. Volunteers for the day included:

  • Children from Wincanton Primary School
  • Members of the C.A.T.C.H. group
  • Members from the Wincanton Gardeners' Association
  • Representation from both Town and District Councils
  • Representation from the Wincanton Window

Among new facilities planned for the park will be two sets of stepping stones across the river, joining the play area to the "mainland". There will also be a new bridge over the river near the remains of the shelter.

Planted saplings, several weeks later

Saplings planted near the river bank, on the oposite side of the play area

Subject to finance being secured stage one could be completed within about 18 months. When the project is fully completed Wincanton will have a beautiful recreational park area that all our residents and visitors can enjoy. Along the way there will be ample opportunity for volunteers to get involved. So keep an eye on the Window and we'll keep you up to date.


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