Newark Castle Building Bridges Project

Development funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund enabled us to spend 12 months consulting with local communities about what you would like to see in the Castle's future. Over 600 individuals and groups joined in the conversation to help shape the development of the project.

Research carried out during the development phase shows that local people highly value the castle, but the number of people who more actively engage with the heritage is low. Garden visitors are estimated at 120,000 annually, with 1443 visiting internal castle spaces in 2022. There are challenges: some spaces are not accessible for people with mobility needs, interpretation is outdated, and the offer is limited.

Findings include:

  • the gardens are well used by local people and are a valued amenity.
  • people come to walk or stroll, often on their way to and from the town.
  • it is used as a place to relax while people eat lunch, drink a coffee (purchased in nearby shops), meet friends and family or watch their children play.
  • visitors enjoy attending the regular band concerts and theatre performances.
  • dwell time tends to be relatively short (up to one hour) outside visiting for events.
  • people used words such as peaceful, beautiful and relaxing when they thought about the site.
  • people enjoy the space at no charge and wanted to understand if the gardens would remain free to all.
  • even though they never visit, non-visitors saw the castle as the principal landmark of Newark and something they were proud of.

In addition to consulting with visitors and non-visitors, we have worked closely with historians, archaeologists, conservators, ecologists, access consultants, architects and designers to ensure that our plans are robust and well-researched. The Conservation Management Plan underpins all our work, with its overarching philosophy for the conservation of Newark Castle and Gardens:

  • to conserve and maintain the remains of Newark Castle for future generations.
  • to enhance and better reveal the significance of Newark Castle.
  • to engage more people with the history of Newark Castle.
  • to ensure the sustainability of the castle through the implementation of a viable business which is appropriate to the heritage context of the building, and which generates income for the conservation and repair of the structure.

Thanks to National Lottery players and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, we have developed plans for landscaping the gardens, developing a lighting scheme, designing exhibitions and signage, and providing a programme of activities.

Newark and Sherwood District Council applied for the next stage of funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund in November 2023. A decision is expected in spring 2024. 

Thanks to all National Lottery players.

Made possible with National Lottery Heritage Fund

Our research volunteers

Our dedicated volunteer researchers at Newark Castle have been hard at work uncovering the secrets of this historic site! From mysterious gargoyles to ancient graffiti, they've left no stone unturned. Watch the video below to learn more about their fascinating discoveries and the famous bishops who once roamed Newark Castle.