The area covered in this first phase is at the heart of the larger Heritage Park and comprises Preston Park, Bassleton and Thornaby Woods, Bassleton Beck Valley and lands adjoining the Tees at Thornaby, linking with the Tees Valley Wildlife Trusts’ sites at Preston Farm and Bowesfield.
FTHP, supported by partners Groundwork NE, Stockton Council and Tees Valley Wildlife Trust, achieved lottery funding through the Community Spaces grant programme of £450,000. Additional funding from the previous Sustrans footpath/cycleway grant enabled a total of £600,000 to implement Phase 1, which commenced in 2010 and now complete.
The aim was to start to create a special identity for the Heritage Park for local communities and the wider public to enjoy. An artist was employed to create landmark artworks linked to new gateway features into the Park area. New and improved footpaths were provided to enable wider and more effective use of the river valleys.
The artist Keith Barrett and Linda Watson worked with groups of students in 8 schools in the many communities that surround the Tees Heritage Park. These have included Bowesfield Primary School, The Village Primary, Bader Primary, Myton Park Primary, Preston Primary, Christ the King Primary, All Saints High School and Egglescliffe High School. Five major artworks were inspired by the local school children working with the artists, following site visits and exhibitions of their ideas for public comment. The artworks have now been constructed at Black Bobbies’ and Horseshoe Bend at Thornaby. In Bassleton Beck valley, Bowesfield Nature Reserve and two by the river in Preston Park. These landscape features also act as rest areas and meeting places.
The new gateway features/sculpture signalling access to the Park area also incorporate IT tag technology to enable phone users to access information about the particular locality and link to FTHP and other web sites. These gateway posts are being sited around the wider Heritage Park boundary. (Also see Signal Posts and Technology)