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Thetford Castle Park

Castle Park in Thetford is a public open space. It contains the earthworks of a medieval motte and bailey castle, a grassed recreation area, children's play equipment, and public toilets. The site is owned and managed by Thetford Town Council.

Much of the park is a Scheduled Ancient Monument (SM:1017670), which means that special permission from Historic England is needed for any development or works. The area covered by the scheduling includes the meadow to the south and east of the hard-surfaced paths, together with the Castle Hill and its surrounding ridges and ditches, and also land on the other side of Castle Lane belonging to the residential properties there.

Castle Hill in October 2010, before the steps were added.

Outdoor Gym (2021)

In July 2019, Thetford Town Council launched a consultation on a possible new trim trail / outdoor gym for Castle Park. Proposal from different companies were exhibited and feedback sought.

The Council selected designs from Wickstead Leisure Ltd., and planning permission was granted in December 2020. Installation of the equipment was completed in March 2021.

New Play Boat (2021)

In October 2020, the Town Council launched a consultation on the design of a new play boat to be installed in Castle Park, to replace a previous structure that was reaching the end of its life. The new equipment was installed in March 2021.

Castle Mound and Ramparts Grazing (2019—)

In September 2019, Thetford Town Council announced plans to introduce grazing on the castle mound and ramparts as a cost-effective and environmentally sensitive method of controlling the growth of vegetation. It was stated that vegetation cutting currently cost £7,500 per time, and 3–4 cuttings were needed per year. Currently only 1–2 were being carried out.

A consultation was run, which resulted in 380 responses, 88% of respondents were in favour of grazing, if the land could be kept open to the public.

Fencing was erected in June 2021, creating two separate compounds. The larger contains the castle mound and the northern ramparts; the smaller the north-eastern ramparts. The existing tarmaced path runs between the two. The main meadow alongside Castle Street, and the flat grass area to the south-east of the mound adjacent to Castle Lane are both outside the fenced compunds.

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Castle Mound Steps Installation (2017)

Steps were added to Castle Hill in 2017 by Thetford Town Council, in a bit to prevent damaging erosion. The project was controversial, as many felt residents felt the steps spoilt the natural view, particularly as the light colour of the steps did not blend in to the green of the hill. It is unclear why a darker colour could not have been used. There was a consultation of sorts run in November 2016, but it was only open for 20 days, no clear options were presented, and we are not aware of the results being published.

Play Area Replacement (2008)

The Castle Park play area was replaced in 2008, with the help of funding from WREN.

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