Ashes Centenary Masterplan

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The Ashes Playing Field Trust will celebrate the centenary of the founding of the park in 2027, and wish to undertake a programme of improvements to the park leading up to this celebration.

Public support for the development of the park is important for the long-term sustainability and ongoing success of the park. Sharing design options is a key step in understanding how the public would like to see facilities developed in years to come.


The park is to be developed along the three key themes of conservation, recreation and education. This reflects the original trust objectives when the park was left  “with the object and intention of establishing a public playing fields and recreation grounds for the resort and recreation of the adults and playgrounds for the children and youth of Howden”. Public comments will help prioritise the projects and identify any other areas that need attention.


  • There are six formal entrances which require improvement. The main entrances, off Treeton Road and Hailgate, are both in need of major restoration
  • Many paths are in poor condition and require repair or widening, while additional paths could improve links across the park
  • The park has fine mature trees which give the site a valued green context. But, as these trees age, they are becoming a regular drain on resources. We want a long-term plan for tree replacement to ensure there are nre ones to mature over the next 100 years
  • The park has had an ad hoc mixture of different styled benches, litter bins, signs and other park furniture. We want a uniform look to develop as these are replaced


  • The former pavilion area creates an opportunity to provide an outdoor performance space. A silhouette of the former pavilion could be incorporated into the design to create a back drop or cover for performers. A garden area behind the stage will link views to the iconic Minster and provide an area that can be used for weddings or other functions
  • We will explore possibilities of developing the land between the Manor House and the main park as a site for a new community building. This could provide a focus as a visitor centre, with toilets and changing facilities for sports teams. This building would follow “green” design best practice
  • The main fields are poorly drained, undulating and unsuitable for intensive or regular sport use. The fields require levelling and a drainage system installed. We hope to be able to add all-weather playing facilities in the park
  • The existing Daphne D’Ark Play Area is one of the most popular areas of the park, and we would like to expand this to include more inclusive equipment
  • An outdoor gym would provide further opportunities to the many people who already use our park for fitness purposes


  • There is limited information available about the park’s history. An oral history project, involving local schoolchildren, will help capture memories and previously unrecorded information about the park. An online database could be developed for reference and display which could be used by local schools
  • A heritage trail in the park could guide visitors around the site and utilise the expanded archive. The park has an extensive ecclesiastical history linked to the Minster and land owned by the bishops of Durham. The trail could use advancing technology with onsite data bollards, QR codes and interpretation panels in addition to leaflets
  • The former fishpond between the bowls area and the Diamond Jubilee Walk was used to provide fresh fish to residents of the Manor House.  The ponds would have had a complex water supply and drainage system, linking to the local network of water courses
  • The park has preserved an original landscape that relates to the well-preserved Georgian town centre. Hailgate, to the east of the park, follows the route of the Old Derwent. We will work to maintain and develop this link between the town and park landscape