A Grade II listed park in the heart of an East Lancashire town is set for a major transformation.

Whitehall Park in Darwen will undergo a facelift after Whitehall Park Supporters Group commissioned Newground Landscape Services to redesign the 16-acre site.

The new design will focus on health and wellbeing, with the creation of an agile area for all ages with a green gym, the potential for climbing such as a rock stack and a bike track, as well as improvements to the existing play area.

Chair of the Whitehall Park Supporters Group, Marjan Wouda, said: "We are very grateful to the W.M & B.W Lloyd’s Charity for funding the creation of the plan.

"This plan is the first step towards making our park fit for the 21st Century.

“We are particularly excited to create more opportunities for play and exercise attracting all age groups and making our park a real asset for our community promoting health and wellbeing.

"The plan will be a great help as the basis for funding applications.”

Work on the park will also include a forest school space, which will provide an opportunity for outdoor learning with additional seating spaces using logs and other natural materials such as willow and brash.

A new art trail will incorporate the existing water and woodland features of the park.

Biodiversity projects will include woodland enhancements, pond enhancements and the introduction of a community orchard, as well as a growing area made from a converted shipping container.

Tree planting for new orchard in Darwen's Whitehall Park begins today

Funding is now being sought to deliver the project.

Newground’s landscape and estate services director, Steve Greenwood, said: “The coronavirus pandemic has reminded us why the parks and gardens on our doorsteps are so important to ordinary people.

"Lockdown has rekindled our love of green spaces and made more people aware of the health and wellbeing benefits that access to green spaces delivers.

"The chance to get out in the fresh air and exercise has been a lifeline in difficult times.

“This masterplan outlines significant improvements to enhance the park’s facilities and safeguard its value as a community resource for the future.”

Newground have previously designed masterplans for Stubbylee Park in Rossendale, Rhyddings Park in Oswaldtwistle, Whitaker Park in Rawtenstall and Edgeside Park in Waterfoot.

Blackburn with Darwen executive member for environmental services, Councillor Jim Smith, added: “This is fantastic news for residents and families who enjoy Whitehall Park.

Lockdown has shown us how important our green spaces are and these plans will enable families to be more active. Better health is linked to more activity, and BwD is committed to enabling everyday walking and cycling across the borough.”