News & Events

Progress with the Easingwold Town Council Millfields Project

Hopefully our townspeople and visitors will recall that Easingwold Town Council has been working for several years on improving Millfields Park and its effectiveness for the community. This work has included: an on-going maintenance programme; car park improvements; drainage of the main recreation area and south meadow with cutting programmes initiated; wildflower borders; placing a dog-proof fence around the wetland; improving the Claypenny children’s play and picnic areas and replacing the skate park. At the same time, Easingwold Green Spaces Group have planted a community orchard and have been working with the Woodland Trust on managing the woods. Following its extensive public consultation and subsequent public meeting, Easingwold Town Council specifically selected a wide range of additional developments that bring benefits to many different users of the Millfields space. This includes the young and elderly and all in between; the able bodied, disabled and less-able; those seeking to exercise and those to relax; dog owners, walkers and many more.

Following its meeting, the Town Council set to work to ensure that the decisions made become a reality as soon as possible. The demands on community open space are ever-growing and Millfields is a public park available to all of our residents and visitors for their use. It was farmers’ fields and hospital grounds only 20 years ago, and none of the park is a nature reserve despite being home to a wide range of flora and fauna. The developments take nature into account, whilst improving the facility for community usability. Progress is being made in all the aspects agreed by the Council and now is an appropriate moment for a public update on each action area in turn.

Firstly the Jogging Track. Whilst having a jogging track was broadly supported, during the consultation strong concerns were expressed about the lighting arrangements. To be usable by the young, the disabled and those that work during the day the jogging track needs to be lit in winter. So in response, the Council has appointed a consultant lighting specialist to find a less intrusive lighting solution. When the designs are ready they will be published by the Council for a further public consultation. The exercise equipment is currently aligned to the proposed jogging track so will be taken forward once the way forward on this has been agreed.

The Friendship Garden design is being led by one of our Councillors. It will allow quiet reflection and have simple access to the Car Park and main entrance.

The route of the planned disabled friendly path throughout Millfields via the meadows and woods has been surveyed, evaluated and a route with minimum wetness issues, and few changes to existing paths and herbage identified. A path specification has been created based on guidance from The Conservation Volunteers (TCV), National Trust and North Yorkshire Moors National Park, that will be relatively natural in appearance but still durable and wheel-chair friendly. The Council is currently in discussion with the Woodland Trust about the section that passes through the woods but is planning to complete the path using a Council-led voluntary task force. This path will pass alongside the wetland area so that the access gate is conveniently accessible to all. Within the wetland a contractor has been engaged and briefed to create a board walk from the gate to the nearest of the ponds with a dipping platform along its side. This will bring the wetland into use by the public, local schools and other groups and enable them to appreciate and learn from one of Millfields more hidden features for the first time.

The south meadow area (opposite the skate park) has been drained and will be kept appropriately cut. A group of Councillors has started the process of meeting with local young people so that they can help design the bike jump and skills track to be sited there. Once this has been created, then the design and siting of a wildflower meadow and border arrangements will also be made. The Council decided to locate the fenced off dog fun/agility area on the rough grassland area to the north of the woodland. We are now working with the Cresta dog club over its final design and will ensure that it has easy access to the wheelchair friendly path and Millfields Lane. Only a relatively small part of this rough grassland will be used with the rest left untouched.

Finally, a more recent development has been the initiative from a Community Group to start a weekly Park Run in Millfields making use of the existing and planned paths. The Council is supportive of the Community initiative. Easingwold Town Council