Vivary Park in Taunton is a place to sit back and relax just minutes away from Taunton's busy town centre.
Situated in the southern part of Taunton's town centre, Vivary Park occupies 7.5 hectares of beautiful parkland.
The park has obtained Green Flag status- a prestigious award given by the Civic Trust to parks which represent the highest standard of park management.
The park features an 18-hole golf course, tennis courts and a bowling green as well as cafes and a play area for children.
In medieval times the park was a fish farm or vivarium for the priory and castles- hence the name 'Vivary'. There are no visible remains of the lakes now.
Ever since 1852, Vivary Park has been used for public events including the annual flower show- a tradition which continues to this day.
The war memorial dates back to 1922
It was brought from the Kinglake Family by Taunton Deane Borough Council on 13 December 1894 for £3,659 (around £230,000 today). Designs, including the front gates and bandstand and one shelter, to improve the park were made in 1895 at a cost of £5,698 (£360,000 today).
In 1902, an oak tree was planted close to the bandstand to mark the coronation of Edward VII. The fountain, which was unveiled in 1907, was commissioned as a memorial to the late Queen Victoria with funds left over from the coronation.
The war memorial dates back to 1922 and in 1927, a putting green was laid out and in 1928 and the 18-hole golf course was opened to the public.
The boating pond and the National Rose Society Provincial Trial Ground around the war memorial were added in the 1960s.
The park has an 18-hole golf course
In 1970, the lake was built to assist with storm water retention but also to add an interesting feature to the landscape. The ducks are a welcome attraction and other water birds can be seen in the park including kingfishers, moorhen and wagtails.
The model railway track was added in 1979 and the playground next to the tennis courts in 1980.
In 2002, the park was restored at a total cost of £750,000, 75% of which was paid for by the Heritage Lottery Fund. After a century of public use, the park had deteriorated and work was done to improve the toilets, drainage system and planting. It was re-opened by the Queen on 2 May 2002.
Over 56,000 plants are planted yearly by hand in the park to create floral beds to re-create the Victorian theme.
The park has tennis courts which are free to use and are located at the southern end of the park behind the children's play area. There is also a bowling green which is run by Taunton Bowling Club and the golf course is a 'pay and play' course.
Events which happen at the park are organised by the Friends of Vivary Park. The group also helps to conserve and protect the park. If you're interested in joining, contact the park department of Taunton Deane Borough Council.
last updated: 22/08/07