At risk historical park refurbished

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Workers clear the grotto in Wanstead Park Workers clear the grotto in Wanstead Park

An at-risk area of parkland which was famously used for hunting by Henry VIII has been renovated.

The grotto in Wanstead Park has long been neglected and owners, City of London Corporation, pulled out of a lottery bid for funds to improve it in 2011.

However the corporation has now invested £25,000 in works to improve the grotto, which finished last week.

Dead vegetation was cleared to open it up, while older trees such as Sycamore and Yew will remain and be maintained twice a year.

The park remains on English Heritage’s list of historical places ‘at risk’, with its condition described as “very bad” and “deteriorating”.

A steering group, made up of MPs, councillors and representatives from Redbridge and Waltham Forest, was formed in May to manage the conservation of the area.

Group members, Friends of Wanstead Parklands (FOWP), welcomed the investment and plan to maintain the site.

A spokesman said: "The grotto is a listed historical ruin and instead of seeing it deteriorating all the time we are finally going to be able to maintain it.

"Wanstead Park is one of the most visited attractions in the area and this needs to be recognised, so it is great that the City have put this money towards it.

"We are looking at holding events there in the coming year such as film festivals for locals to come and have a day out and have a nice experience."

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