Footprint could not deliver interpretive solutions unless we understood why it is important and the vital role it plays in adding to the visitor experience. Therefore we are always keen to involve ourselves in the interpretive planning process.
We have recently produced plans for Wilton Lodge Park in Hawick in the Border Counties, and Houghton Hall Park in Houghton Regis, Central Bedfordshire, both as part of HLF funded restoration projects. We have also just prepared a plan for Stroud’s main park, Stratford Park.
Key to producing any plan is familiarisation with the relevant site. Not just a casual knowledge gained from one visit, but a detailed physical exploration, linked to meetings and discussion with relevant stakeholders (client, users, community groups, experts, etc). We can take countless photographs during our site visits, but we need to have a mental picture of the site, its topography, its layout, how people access and use it. We need to undersatnd who uses it, why they use it, what they like about the place, what improvements they would like to see. We ask them, we engage with them.
The interpretation plan is often part of a larger activity/access plan. Understanding the larger picture and where the interpretation sits in that picture is important.