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Five thousand plants and trees to be planted in new area at York Castle Museum
More than 5,000 plants and trees are to be planted in a new area at York Castle Museum which is set to open in the next few months.
The Riverside Project will see the £120,000 rejuvenation of an outdoor section of the museum which will look at the history of York Castle, the return of the fully functional Victorian water mill and a dedicated area for wildlife including a cottage style garden and wildflower meadow.
The museum is calling for volunteers to help plant the 5,000 plants and also to increase the days the water mill will be open.
Martin Watts, director of knowledge and learning, said: "This is an exciting project that will open up an area that had previously been closed off to the public for the majority of the year.
"It will explore the fascinating history of York Castle which is not told anywhere else in the city as well as offering people the chance to see a fully functional water mill in operation.
"But I think the most dramatic part of the project will be the complete transformation of the area into an area that we hope will become rich in wildlife. We hope it will become a very popular part of the museum experience, offering something completely different to what we currently have.
"We are now calling for people to come and help us to create this by coming along on Saturday March 10 and 24 to plant the 5,000 plants and trees in the area."
It will also be a great space to hold events or for visitors to have a picnic in between visiting other parts of the museum.
The development of the area will be split into three areas:
This Victorian mill was transported in the 1960s from the North Yorkshire Moors where it had served Newton Upon Rawcliffe and the surrounding villages and set up as a working exhibit at the Museum. It ceased to be in working order in 2002, but now, thanks to a number of skilled volunteers, its water wheel turns once more.
Once the area is opened up, members of the public will be able to see the mill's waterwheel and machinery in action, with water supplied from the river Foss through a specially created mill pond.
The mill will be run by volunteers and the Museum hopes to recruit enough people so it is open every day. On the days it is not open there will still be access to the mill and people will be able to see it working on a television screen.
Once the biggest castle in the North of England, the size and scale of York Castle is hard to imagine for modern visitors because so little remains. The southern gateway and curtain wall which stand in this area are one of the best places to get a sense of this scale.
The project will provide interpretation of the castle and tell some of the fascinating stories which have taken place on this site.
The River Foss
The River Foss is a wildlife haven running through the heart of York but is often overlooked. The project will encourage wildlife by improving the habitat and creating a more natural access route to the water's edge.
The area will have a much improved biodiversity, with the creation of a cottage style garden, a wild flower meadow and planting of native trees, such as holly, elder, field maple, hawthorn and birch along the riverside.
Part of the section will become a blue bell woodland which will only have limited access to allow nature flourish.
The project is being funded by Renaissance in the Regions, though the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA)
The site has been designed by Paul and Angela Green Design Partnership and landscaped by Sanders Landscape Services, both from York.
If you would like to become a volunteer at Raindale Mill please contact Fiona Burton, volunteers manager, for York Museums Trust on: email@example.com or phone 01904 687687.