Houghton Hall Park is in the town and parish of Houghton Regis, very close to Dunstable, in Central Bedfordshire. Footprint was commisioned to produce an interpretation plan for the park, as part of a larger Peoples Plan for the development phase of a proposed restoration and improvement project at the park, for funding through the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Before any plan could be produced, it was necessary to become totally familiar with the park, its layout, its habitats, amenities, resources and those people who used it. A number of meetings took place with the client and other stakeholder groups. Visits were made to the County archives. Nearby sites of interest were explored to build a picture of the area.
The plan considered exterior welcome signage and interpretive installations and interior exhibition and display resources in a proposed new visitor and education hub. It provided a tool for those commissioning interpretation work and those contracted to carry out that work during the delivery phase.
The plan gave a general introduction to the park, its setting, location and amenties. It looked at the existing interpretation and signage in place before proposing new interpretation. The plan looked beyond the park itself both geographically and historically for other themes that were relevant to the park. Some of these linked directly to aspects of the park’s heritage. Others to the town and some to the surrounding locality. The plan also made proposals for the engagement of local communities in the interpretive process.