Bailey Hill, Mold, awarded National Lottery funding

Celebrating the fantastic news, left to right, Cllr Andrea Mearns, Sam Roberts, Cllr Chris Bithell all of Mold Town Council; Eira Hughes, Friends of Bailey Hill; Claire Halestrap, consultants Harrison Design; and Mike Bunting, Friends of Bailey Hill

Flintshire County Council, in partnership with Mold Town Council and the Friends of Bailey Hill, has received a confirmed National Lottery grant of £963,700 for a transformational redevelopment project at Bailey Hill, Mold, it was announced today.

Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, this exciting and ambitious project will ensure that the heritage of the historic park and the Ancient Monument are protected for future generations whilst preserving and revealing Bailey Hill’s fascinating past. With a new governance structure in place, involving all the partners, the park will be better managed and offer people opportunities to be involved and ways to learn new skills. The substantial investment and improvements to the entrance area will make the park, its heritage and green spaces more accessible to a greater number of people.

Over the next two years Bailey Hill will be restored and enhanced to make the most of its special setting as the birth place of Mold.

Supported through the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), the project aims to make the park more attractive to a wider range of users, especially the local community and visitors to Flintshire and to enable the park to host more events and activities. To make the history and cultural value of the park clearly apparent in an interesting and exciting way, there will be new interpretation both around the park and in the new community facility in the ground floor of the Custodian’s Cottage. Essential conservation work will be carried out and an educational programme is also planned with training offered to volunteers who would like to get involved in horticulture, conservation, site and building maintenance, interpretation training and guided walks.

Bailey Hill has long been cherished by the people of Mold as an important historical and recreational site in the heart of the town. It is the site of a Norman Castle, built on the largest of the natural hills in the area, around 1100 by Robert, a Norman Marcher Lord. He was known as Robert de Mont Haut / Montalt (‘high hill’ in Norman French) and Mold is derived from the original name through to Mohault, Moald in 1284 and finally today’s spelling in 1561. Over the centuries the castle saw plenty of action and changed hands a number of times between the Welsh Princes and the Normans. The last Montalt died in 1329 and the castle then declined in importance.  The Lordship and manor of Mold, including Bailey Hill, passed through various hands until, in 1809, it was purchased by Sir Thomas Mostyn, who planted the trees, built the Cottage and enclosed the site with a wall.

In 1870 Lord Mostyn sold Bailey Hill and it came under the control of the Town Board, which became Mold Urban District Council (UDC). In 1920, Mold UDC laid the whole area out to be a public park, erected the current gates and built the cenotaph, with the Outer Bailey used as tennis courts and the Inner Bailey continued as a bowling green until 2002. Currently responsibility for the Hill rests with Flintshire County Council.

Commenting on the award, Councillor Ian Roberts, Cabinet Member for Education and Youth, said: “We’re delighted that we’ve received this significant support thanks to National Lottery players. This critical funding will allow us to open up and develop the ground floor of the historic Custodian’s Cottage for the public to use for the first time in its long history. The funding will allow us to tell the untold stories of people who have used Bailey Hill over the centuries. We aim to attract new visitors to Bailey Hill and to Mold in general, and to give residents reasons to come and enjoy the park.”

HLF’s Chief Executive Ros Kerslake, said: “Parks may vary in size, location and design but what they all have in common is the wealth of benefits they deliver to local communities. From economic prosperity and ecological diversity, to personal well-being, parks are essential to the health of the nation. That’s why we have invested a combined £950million of National Lottery funding regenerating parks like Bailey Hill in Mold and they remain a priority for us into the future.”

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