Completing the circle – Wandlebury Ring Wall restoration
19th Oct 2017
CambridgePPF, the charity which owns much loved Wandlebury Country Park, has marked the completion of over a decade of work, restoring the historic Wandlebury Ring Wall, with a plaque unveiling celebration to thank donors.
The Ring Wall, at the heart of Wandlebury, is 520 metres long, around 2.8 metres high and is made of typical Cambridge Gault Brick, topped with flush limestone and slate copings. The wall, much of which dates from the 18th century, follows the line of the inner ramparts and ditch of the Iron Age Hillfort. It was originally built by the Godolphin family as part of the landscaping of the estate and layout of the house. It would have functioned to keep grazing animals outside the wall and create a walled garden inside.
When the charity took on Wandlebury in the mid-1950s the wall was in serious decline. By the early 2000s the charity had to act and started fundraising to undertake restoration work. The first 100m completed in 2004; a second phase in 2006 but the third phase, started in late 2014 has been by far the biggest undertaking. This work was only completed at the end of September.
James Littlewood, CambridgePPF’s CEO explained to guests and donors “Before the restoration work could be commenced, vegetation, including ivy as thick as an arm had to be removed without causing unnecessary damage. This was a task carried out largely by our estate team with plenty of help from a small band of volunteers.”
James continued by saying that the latest phase of work was in the region of £150,000 with work to remove the vegetation and manage the project on top of that. He added “We absolutely could not have carried out this essential restoration work without a Higher Level Stewardship grant, administered by Natural England nor without a considerable donation from Anthony Cooper in memory of his late wife, Mary. We really cannot thank either of them enough for enabling this work to happen. Over the three phases of the work numerous other donations, a bequest and support from South Cambridgeshire District Council have also been invaluable.”
Anthony Cooper then unveiled a plaque, installed in the threshold of one of the newly restored doorways in memory of his wife and declared the Ring Wall and new doorways, which are much more accessible for people, especially those with buggies, open.
Two further, smaller sections still require restoration and removal of vegetation. CambridgePPF intends to continue fundraising for this, having been given a quote for £20,000 to restore the masonry and is seeking donations towards this next phase of work.
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