Maidenbrook Country Park and The Somerset Wood has been in design for the last 3 years following purchase of the land by the then District Council of Taunton Deane from the Crown Estate.
Garden Town status was awarded to Taunton and initially the Country Park was the number one project.
The Country Park gives the opportunity to have a green wedge into the town giving a green open space for the health and wellbeing, be it mental or physical for the benefit of all the existing residents and the future generations and give purpose to their lives.
After consultation with the parishioners a list of functional requirements were established based around health, mental wellbeing and enhancement of the natural environment whilst ensuring we maintain the views to the Quantocks and Blackdown Hills. The two parishes are at the moment finalising the leasing of the site from Somerset West and Taunton Council for 125 years, to ensure the long term future is maintained for the benefit of all and that finally we can open this asset to the public.
Within the park the following items have been designed and have been implemented:
1) A forest school for the benefit of all schools and youth groups in the vicinity.
2) A pond to enhance the natural environment.
These 2 items above were supported by the SCC Climate Emergency Fund.
3) 3,500 trees have already been planted over the last 3 years as part of ‘The Somerset Wood’ which is partly encompassed within the Country Park. This forms part of a longer term project with SCC to have a Memorial Wood with one tree for every one from Somerset who fell in WW1. This list is based on an archival book held in Wells Cathedral listing 11,281 persons. A further 10,000 trees will be planted hopefully on adjoining land to complete this task. Two dedication stones are already placed within the Country Park planting.
4) A labyrinth is being constructed within a section of the park for all to enjoy and to assist mental wellbeing.
5) We will be planting Bluebells in different sections of the tree planted areas, to enhance the visual aspects.
Future plans for the Country Park:
The ambition is to apply for charitable status for the Country Park to ensure this asset is protected as intended for the future. Work is also underway to improve the park and seed out wild flower areas to improve and enhance the natural environment. Grass pathways will also pass through these areas.
Consultation with Somerset Wildlife Trust is taking place throughout to ensure that through all the plans for the Country Park, the best benefits for wildlife are encapsulated within our longer term plans.
In addition, there are the following aspirations for the Country Park:
- Create links from the Canal to Hestercombe via cycle and walking paths.
- Working with our dark sky the observatory will enable views of our universe; and teaching of the local nature habitats, are going to be incorporated within a Natural World Centre working with local environmental organisations to give lectures and practical demonstrations to all
- Working with Tacchi Morris to construct an open air theatre for the benefit of all.
- Working to develop Parkrun opportunities.
Minimal parking will be available at the County Park and the emphasis is on cycling and walking to the Country Park for its general enjoyment and for any events that may take place. A small number of disabled parking spaces have been incorporated within the designs.
The involvement of the community has been and will continue to be key to driving our plans forward and we wish to ensure that this continues.
We will issue further updates and photos as we progress with the park on Monkton Matters (www.monktonmatters.co.uk)