Civic Society Design Award for council and park volunteers

Last Updated: 22 October 2021

South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) and the volunteers of the Friends of Noble’s Rest have been recognised for their work to revitalise a much-loved park.

Noble's Rest, Kendal

Noble's Rest, Kendal

Kendal Civic Society has presented its Design Award for 2019 – postponed due to the Covid pandemic - to the council and the voluntary group in recognition of their efforts to restore and enhance Noble’s Rest in Kendal, also known as Maude’s Meadow. 

The Civic Society’s Design Award is a coveted accolade presented annually to those buildings or developments that “make a significant contribution” to the quality of Kendal’s built environment. Previous winners include Kendal Rugby Club, Stricklandgate House and Gillinggate Health Centre. 

Kendal Civic Design Award 2019

Kendal Civic Society Design Award 2019

Trevor Hughes, Executive Council member of Kendal Civic Society, said: “Noble’s Rest has long been a quiet haven of peace and tranquillity but was in need of restoration. The drainage was in a bad state of repair and it was becoming very overgrown. 

“SLDC and the Friends of Noble’s Rest have worked long and hard (particularly during the Covid situation) to restore it to its former glory and it is a worthy winner of the Civic Society Design Award.”

It was back in 2016 that the newly formed Friends of Noble’s Rest joined SLDC and Kendal Town Council (KTC) to draw up a Master Plan for updating and improving accessibility at Noble’s Rest, together with the neighbouring Town View Field and Swine Parrock, after consulting widely with local groups. The plan was designed to ensure the park’s mature trees, grass and wildflower meadows would continue to offer “a quiet oasis” for visitors as well as increasing biodiversity by enhancing wildlife habitats.

With funding from SLDC and KTC, the past five or six years have seen volunteers make a valuable contribution to the park in addition to the routine work carried out by SLDC’s landscape contractors. The Friends of Noble’s Rest have freely given their time to plant wildflowers and bog-friendly plants such as iris, willow and dogwood; prune and replace mature trees; tend the flowerbeds and even build rabbit fences.

Although the Friends had to rest their trowels and spades at the height of the Covid-19 emergency, they continued to hold virtual meetings during lockdown with support from SLDC’s Locality Team Leader Polly Straker, who has been closely involved in bringing the Noble’s Rest Master Plan to fruition as well as bringing together key players on a long-awaited project in summer 2020 – the completion of a scheme to showcase natural flood management techniques at Town View Field.

Several years in the planning, this partnership project saw 90 metres of stone culvert “daylighted” or opened up after the best part of a century to create a natural watercourse and flood basin, thanks to £48,000 funding from DEFRA and around £7,000 from SLDC. The work was carried out by Penrith-based Catchment Designs on behalf of South Cumbria Rivers Trust, and includes two “leaky” timber dams – also known as “Ker Plunk” dams – to slow the flow of floodwater in Dyers Beck during heavy rain, giving protection to nearby bungalows. The resulting bog garden has been designed to attract a richer variety of wildlife such as dragonflies, voles, frogs and toads. Biodiversity has been further enriched by the planting of a wildflower meadow and a small damson orchard to help attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies. Interpretation panels are also planned.

At the presentation ceremony, SLDC’s Polly Straker thanked Kendal Civic Society and the Friends of Noble’s Rest “for their support and hard work” in making Noble’s Rest “such a beautiful place”. The engraved slate plaque for the Design Awards 2019 is to be placed at the park.

John Wright, Chair of the Friends of Noble’s Rest, said: “The Friends were very pleased to receive the Design Award from Kendal Civic Society. The award should be shared with all the other local people who have contributed to the improvements in a much-loved park over the last six years.”

Cllr Dyan Jones, SLDC’s Portfolio Holder for Climate Action and Biodiversity, added: “This is the perfect recognition for a beautiful space in the centre of Kendal that many will benefit from in the years to come. What a great reward for the Friends of Noble’s Rest and everyone who has worked hard to make this space so welcoming to people, with an improved offer for wildlife. Thanks to officers on our Locality Teams for partnering with this community, and congratulations to all involved!”

Noble’s Rest was dedicated as “a sanctuary of rest for the aged and as a playground for small children” by Mary Ellen Noble in 1929 in memory of her husband, Kendal surgeon Samuel Clarke Noble. 

SLDC continues to work in partnership with the Friends of Noble’s Rest, KTC and Kendal Civic Society to improve the park. Future projects are to include a new pathway into Noble’s Rest from Library Road, to be named the Tarbuck Entrance in memory of the late Rob Tarbuck, a local architect and long-standing member of Kendal Civic Society’s Executive Committee, whose idea the entrance was.

Paul Grout, Chairman of Kendal Civic Society, said that Marks & Spencer, who lease the land from a London-based landlord, were being very helpful with discussions over rights of way, adding: “You will be able to walk down to Noble’s Rest right from the centre of town and not have to turn left down Maude Street. It’s a more direct link to the heart of the town.” The project has received funding from SLDC and KTC.

Meanwhile, the Friends of Noble's Rest will be holding their next meeting in person at the Lowther Room in Kendal Town Hall on Monday 1 November at 6.30pm. “Everybody is welcome,” said Mr Wright, Chair of the Friends. “Please bring a face mask and a positive attitude.”

Become a Friend of Noble’s Rest and help to care for this beautiful open space.