Pontefract Castle officially removed from Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register
A multi-million pound project to transform Pontefract Castle for visitors was completed this summer, and Historic England has now confirmed the structure has come off the register after 16 years.
Cllr Denise Jeffery, Deputy Leader of Wakefield Council, said: "It is a great news that the castle is now officially off the register. This is a testament to all the hard work that has taken place by the Council and its partners to achieve this result and will ensure the castle can be enjoyed by current and future generations."
The castle was deemed to be at risk in 2003 due to the poor condition of the ruins. The Council has spent the last ten years planning and then delivering the £5million Key to the North project.
Funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic England and the Council, the project stabilised structures, opened areas not seen in hundreds of year and conserved and protected the ruins of the monument.
The Council has an agreed management and maintenance plan to continue to look after the castle going forward and to ensure it remains in a good state of repair.
Currently, excavation work is underway of the Gatehouse at the castle supported by Historic England and archeologists from DigVentures and volunteers uncovering more of the past.
Neil Redfern, Principal Inspector of Ancient Monuments at Historic England, said: "It has been a long journey getting Pontefract Castle off the Heritage at Risk Register but has been well worth the effort. In recent years there has been a huge collective effort to make the site not only safe and structurally sound but to transform it into a well-used space that is at the very heart of the local community."
Work started on the Key to the North project on site in 2015 and since then there have been major changes which will conserve the heritage for current and future generations. These include:
- Extensive conservation work to the monument across the site, including the removal of masses of vegetation, which has revealed much more of the castle ruins than previously.
- Opening up of previously inaccessible areas such as the Sally Port.
- New paths, steps and a viewing platform above the Swillington Tower.
- A new visitor centre that includes an activity zone, museum displays, café, toilets and shop.
- A new bandstand which is the venue for several performances this summer.
- New interpretation across the site telling the story of Pontefract Castle.
The Key to the North project has been funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF), Historic England, Wakefield Council, the Wolfson Foundation and landfill charity EpaC.
For further information please go to www.pontefractcastle.co.uk