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Wickstead Park

Wicksteed Park was the first and original Leisure Park in the UK, a blueprint for many other parks since being opened in 1913. Charles Wicksteed purchased a tract of Northamptonshire meadowland near Kettering with the intention of developing a Village Estate for the poor with parkland and lakes to promote healthy living, however the plan was soon modified when the government introduced Council Housing. He also owned an engineering company, Stamford Road Works, and after re-inventing himself again, started to supply park seats and playground equipment to public parks after the war. Now called Wickstead Playscapes, this company today still provides this equipment and can be found in many such parks across Europe with some of the products in Wicksteed Park.


gardens
Landscaped gardens


Charles Wickstead established Wickstead Trust in 1916 to carry on with his dream for the park. Since his death and throughout the 20th Century the park continued to develop, offering new rides and attractions that would attract families. The development included the Water Chute, originally designed and built by Charles Wicksteed in 1926 and one of the first water based rides in the world which is now over 80 years old and to knowledge the only one still in operation.

train
The famous Wickstead narrow guage train

Wicksteed Parks famous narrow gauge railway carries in excess of 200,000 passengers a year and itself is celebrating its 77th anniversary this year (2008). Development of the largest free playground area in the UK with some of the most modern playground equipment has been a high priority as is the maintenance and development of the landscaped gardens and lakes. The lake, which was used for regattas, was created just after World War I before the park opened to the public in 1921. Now in excess of 147 acres of parkland and lakes, Wickstead has rides and attractions to suit all ages, including roller coasters, pirate ship, laser tag, carousel, and lots more. The parkland is open all year round but the rides open from Easter until October. it is the only leisure park in the UK which offers the elements of a country and theme park in one.

lake
Boating Lake

Twelve timber-framed, pre-fabricated bungalows at the park used to form a group of accommodation built in 1930 for workers at the park. They have been lived in until fairly recently, but are now to be demolished to make way for new chalet style holiday accommodation. The area that has now been allocated can take between 60 and 200 caravan or camping pitches with a maximum stay of up to 2 weeks and a development of 32 Log cabins for people to buy or visitors to rent for short stays on the park.