friends of naunton park


historical details

early days at naunton park primary school

memories of the garden

friends of naunton park

map of the area

During the late 1980s the amount of money available for the upkeep and maintenance of the Municipal Parks was reduced, a consequence of which was the slow deterioration in the appearance of the parks and gardens.

  The gardens in 1974

Naunton Park, which used to have beds filled with roses (see right) and striking lily-flowered tulips appearing in the spring, became untidy and neglected. By the mid 1990s the effect of a "cash-strapped" Parks Department was obvious to all, and local residents, who had seen the deterioration over the years, became extremely concerned. After discussions with the Head of the Parks Department it was decided to form a local community group to raise funds to assist with the renovations of the gardens.

In Sepember 1994 the Friends of Naunton Park was formed, and in its first year attracted 200 members as well as sponsorship and donations from a wide range of local and national companies. In 1995 an award for a community environmental project was received from British Telecom. The following year the Friends of Naunton Park was recognised as a Registered Charity (number 1058893).

Picture: BT Award 1995 Today the Friends of Naunton Park organise several fundraising activities each year. These include coffee mornings, autumn fairs, a garden party and skittles evening. All these events are well supported by the local community and the money raised has contributed to half the cost of refurbishing the rosebeds - the Borough Council provides the other half. The 'status' of the gardens has been raised, that is to say, the maintenance is carried out frequently and regularly, with noticable effect.

In 1997 the Friends of Naunton Park won a Cheltenham in Bloom award for outstanding community involvement. It is hoped to be able to erect a wrought iron arch at the entrance to the park and metal rose posts for climbing roses, to be placed in some of the rosebeds. A proposed plan for the gardens was approved in principle by the Borough Council and this can be seen displayed in the noticeboards at the entrance to the park and in the children's play area in the corner of the recreation field. This plan was drawn up by students from the Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Higher Education.

Picture: Cheltenham in Bloom Award 1997 Mr John Milner has given two most interesting talks - one in 1996 on the history of Naunton Park Gardens and another in 1997 on the Naunton Park area. Both of these were well attended and served to increase the enthusiasm of local residents to support the Friends.

The Friends of Naunton Park welcomes new members. The annual subscription is 1 per household or 5 for five years. At least two newsletters are published each year and delivered to members. To join please contact Claire Sheldon on 01242 519355, or any of the members listed on the home page.
Alternatively you can go to the how to join page, and follow the instructions there.

In September 1994 the Friends of Naunton Park was formed, to raise funds to assist with the restoration of the gardens. The Friends of Naunton Park now have over 200 members and a strong working partnership has developed with Cheltenham Borough Council.

During 1996 the Department of Landscape and Design at Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Higher Education assisted with the preparation of a Landscape Masterplan which was supported by the local community.

In 1996 the Friends of Naunton Park attained Registered Charity status and have been working hard to raise funds to see further improvements in the gardens.

The information about the history of the park has been taken from the booklet "A Brief History of Naunton Park", compiled by Ann Gibson.
The booklet has been part-funded by Cheltenham Borough Concil as part of its commitment to the process of community development in parks.

Since the publication of A Brief History of Naunton Park, The Friends of Naunton Park have gone from strength to strength.

In July 1998 a new wrought iron arch was erected over the main entrance to the park. This arch has now been moved to the entrance nearer the school and replaced by a more substantial arch. Iron railings have been installed along the length of the park fronting Naunton Lane.

In 2001 we received a grant of 10,500 from Gloucestershire Environmental Trust Company to pay for the replacement of part of the hedge between the rose garden and the recreation field -which was affected by honey fungus - with yew bushes and a wrought iron fence. The grant also paid for two circular hardwood seats with liquidambar trees planted in the centre and two bench seats. At about the same time, the Council refurbished the paths, replacing the tarmac with a new hard-wearing compound and a stone edging. In July 2002 we held a very successful garden party to celebrate the Queen's Golden Jubilee, raising over 800. Entertainment was provided by several musical groups as well as the Gloucestershire Morris Men. In 2003, the Mayor for the year, Councillor Garth Barnes, nominated us as one of his three charities. We took part in many enjoyable fundraising events. Our share of the money raised during the year was over 8,000.

Mr John Milner continued to give fascinating talks each January at Emmanuel Church Hall on subjects ranging from "The Park: from zoo to college" to "Imperial Square: the park we nearly lost". We were very sorry to hear of his death in 2006 and he is much missed.
In 2004 we were successful in winning a grant of nearly 17,000 through the "Living Spaces" scheme operated through the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. We were able to commission a design for the rose garden from a landscape architect. Work has included new beds and planting in the garden, trees and spring bulbs in the recreation field and wooden sculptures in the play area. An event to celebrate completion of the work was held in June 2005 when members were treated to burgers, wine and musical entertainment.

In 2006 Naunton Park received a Green Flag Award. This is a national scheme run by the Civic Trust to improve the quality of open spaces. We continue to look for ways to develop the park. Our next projects are completing the trip rails round the beds and an interpretation board. We now hold two major fundraising events a year in the garden: a Summer Fair which usually features the Gloucestershire Morris Men and, since 2004, an Autumn Show.