A new café terrace, funded and constructed with contributions from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Tarmac, and Gleeson Homes, plus volunteer and community support, has been officially opened at Creswell Crags.
The new terrace was begun just before the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown closed Creswell Crags, a well loved local beauty spot and important Ice Age archaeological site, for several months, leading to the organisation being forced to furlough most of its staff and launch a fundraising campaign to ensure its survival. With emergency support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic England, the government’s Culture Recovery Fund, and hundreds of individual donations, the site was able to open again in August 2020, and work on the terrace resumed. It was at this stage that additional support was sought for the construction of the terrace, which had new importance since outdoor seating was now at a premium due to COVID-19 safety restrictions.
Gleeson Homes have recently built affordable new housing in Creswell, just a short walk from Creswell Crags, and the company contributed financial support for the project. Being part of the local community is very important to the organisation, who said: “Here at Gleeson, we value the importance of being part of the communities in which we build. It’s important for us to give back to the community as a whole, and for the area to feel the benefit of Gleeson. This is why we wanted to support Creswell Crags, which is such an important site for the local community.” The terrace was unveiled by two representatives from Gleeson.
Also in attendance was a representative from Tarmac, who operate Whitwell Quarry which is located very close to Creswell Crags and is an important local employer. Tarmac provided locally quarried stone to fill the gabions which provide the backdrop to the terrace.
Further funding was drawn from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, which supports heritage organisations across the country, and from donations from members of the public made throughout the lockdown period via the Creswell Crags JustGiving Page.
Paul Baker, Executive Director at Creswell Heritage Trust said: “We are very pleased to have the chance to welcome representatives from Gleeson Homes and Tarmac to see the terrace they helped to build. This new terrace is a huge asset to our site, giving us more outdoor space for café customers to relax and enjoy the tranquillity of this special place. Whether visitors are passing by on a countryside hike and stopping for a pit stop, or spending the day with us and going on cave tours and visiting the museum, the terrace is an area for them to take a moment to themselves and enjoy the locally sourced cakes, ice creams and snacks on offer from our café. We are always keen to welcome more people to the site, and it is key to our financial resilience that we can do so, so more space to sit and relax is really important to us. We are very grateful to all who contributed to this project.”
The café at Creswell Crags is open 7 days a week from March to October, between 10am and 4.30pm.