Friends - Present
Dunorlan Park is a large and beautiful park of about 31 ha (78 acres) - seriously in decline by the mid 1990's it was wonderfully restored with a Heritage Lottery Fund grant in 2003/04. The Victorian garden area of the park with its lake, cascade, lower pond and fountain; temple and rockeries; wide lawns, trees and shrubberies and magnificent views from the terrace was designed by Robert Marnock, one of the leading landscape designers of his day whose guiding principle of "harmony with nature" is amply illustrated in Dunorlan Park. The contrast between this formal garden area and the extensive informal meadow and wetland areas bounded by hedges and scrub is one of the joys of the park and contributes to its ability to absorb a wide and varied range of user activities, including a new adventure play area for small children which opened in 2011, making it very popular and well used.
Initially Dunorlan Park needed an enthusiastic and passionate group of volunteer Friends to highlight the decline of the park and then to support it's restoration. Now The Friends are every bit as important and vital in ensuring the continued well-being of our restored park. Not only supporting and promoting the park but also responding to the challenges presented by the pressures from economic constraints, heavy and varied use and inappropriate boundary development. To this end the Friends of Dunorlan Park are committed to a series of aims and objectives which underpin all our activities - they are:
* Promoting and encouraging 'enjoyment for all' in the park and helping in the avoidance of conflict between different types of users.
* Keeping the focus of TWBC on the continuing importance of proper funding for the maintenance and improvement of the restored Park and its facilities.
* Keeping a close watching brief on any development proposals adjacent to the park and taking appropriate action if we see them as having an adverse effect on the park.
* Encouraging and facilitating wider knowledge and use of the Park and all it has to offer - particularly as an education resource for local schools and their pupils. Free access to all Friends' events including nature activities, summer picnic and Christmas drinks party.
* Encouraging the use of Dunorlan Park as a healthy recreational facility for people of all ages, whether local or visiting.
* Promoting conservation and biodiversity within the park, particularly in the meadows, scrub, lakes and ponds and wetland
The Friends work towards these objectives in a number of ways under the leadership of the current Chairman Peter Russell with a committed, hardworking and generous Executive Committee and volunteers from our membership. We raise money ourselves, as well as applying to outside organisations for funds, for special projects; we organise popular nature walks in the park for members and any other interested parties; we arrange special visits to other parks and gardens for members; and we participate in volunteer activities in the park; we maintain a positive and successful relationship with the park owners - Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, and we actively liaise with Sodexo, TWBC's term maintenance contractors through the park's Head Gardener.
We continue to look for new members to bring interest, enthusiasm and energy to The Friends. Membership is £7 per anum for an individual and £12 per annum for a family (of whatever size!). Members receive a regular newsletter and early notification of all Friend's events and gatherings.