All posts by Dave Craggs

FoWP Community Volunteer Day

FoWP Community Volunteer Day – Sunday 21st July 10.00-14.00

Following on from the success of our January Volunteer Day, we have arranged another Sunday get together for 21st July.  The main focus of activity will be the flower beds bordering the old putting green and the car park.  Westminster Park Gardening Club have kindly agreed to lead on this and have done a site survey to assess the extent of work.  There are quite a number of shrubs in the border and we plan to put mulch/ bark down in the future to help keep the weeds at bay.

If there are sufficient volunteers, we can tackle other areas too.  Please feel free to help for as much time as you are able – there is no obligation to attend for the whole time.

WP Gardening Club have suggested that we really need to maintain those areas we have cleared and it would be helpful if a few volunteers would be prepared to manage a small area on a more regular basis.  If you feel able to commit to this, please let us know.

If you are able to volunteer please could you advise us in advance.  If you know of anyone else who would like to help with this effort, please pass on this note.

Look forward to seeing as many of you as possible on that day.  It will help to make our well appreciated open space even better.

Sue Britton & Steve Telford,

Friends of Westminster Park

Woodland Trust Tree Planting

The Friends of Westminster Park with be planting 100 trees in the nature area of the park as part of the celebrations to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Local school children will support this project which will take place on Wednesday 28th March commencing at 0930 hours.

Volunteers will be welcome armed with shovels and forks etc and should meet in the play area by the tennis courts.

We look forward to seeing members who are able to come

Thank you

Norman Trott

FoWP Secretary

Opening of the new Croquet and Bowls Pavilion

Invitation to the opening of the new Croquet and Bowls Pavilion in Westminster Park, Chester CH4 8JW

At 2.30 pm on Saturday, 9 July 2011

Opening by Mr Barry Keen, Chairman of the Croquet Association

Presentation of the Apps Heley Award to Chester Croquet Club

Afternoon tea

Opportunity for members and their families,friends and visitors to play croquet

Enquiries and information:

Janet Davies,

Honorary Secretary, Chester Croquet Club

Telephone: 01244 350370


Bowling Club

The Bowling Club has been in existence since before the park was opened, previously playing in part of the Lache Estate. Since moving to the park, the club thrived, with a certain amount of success on the greens. One of its most notable past members was Arthur Robinson, in whose memory two competitions are played every year, one organised by Chester Over 60’s League. Recently membership has dwindled to about 30 but we still achieve some individual success and our newly re-formed night league team has just won division C of the Chester & District League. We have two teams in the Over 60’s league who manage to hold their own without spectacular success! These play matches every Tuesday and Friday afternoons from mid-April to early September, playing 6 members per team against the other 19 teams in the league as well as each other. We are hopeful of shortly having a new pavilion which will be shared with the Croquet club.

The club is very friendly and would welcome any prospective new members at whatever level of competence. Most afternoons there are members playing who would gladly offer help and guidance to those who need it. It only costs £3 per year to join the club and current green fees are £25 (over 60’s £12) for the summer season and a reduced fee for the winter season, when there is normally one green open for play when in suitable condition. Those people wishing to be registered to play for the club need to hold National and County cards which cost a one-off fee of £8.

Anyone interested, please contact the Secretary, details below:

Martin Fraser, 27 St. Mark’s Road, Chester, CH4 8DE
Telephone: (01244) 683847, Mobile: 07966 334293


For many years prior to the 1920s the area now covered by the Lache estate and Westminster Park comprised fields and farmlands belonging to the Duke of Westminster. Land for an estate at Buddicom Park was acquired by Chester City Council in 1913 but development did not start until the early 1920s as a result of a national push for ‘Homes for Heroes’ after the First World War. In 1925 The Royal Agricultural Show returned to Chester on a site of some 160 acres in fields between Lache Lane, Hough Green and Cavendish Road. The larger Lache estate commenced in 1931 and the area where Westminster Park is today remained as fields while the Lache Park estate developed on its westerly boundary.

On the 1st May 1946 the Duke of Westminster leased these fields to Chester City Council for a term of 999 years at a peppercorn rent of 5 shillings (25 pence) per annum. The lease stipulated that the land should be used only as a public park, pleasure ground, playing field or recreation ground. Apart from sports pavilions, lodges and greenhouses, no other buildings were allowed. The lease also stated that no fair, political or other public, religious, sectarian trade association or auction were to be held, assemble or meet in the park.
In 1949 two bowling greens were opened and a municipal plant nursery was established including greenhouses, cold frames, a boiler house and an office block.

During the 1950s several sports groups requested that playing fields should be laid out in Westminster Park to serve the city south of the river. Grand plans for the park were proposed during the 1960-1970s period including a sports centre, athletic track and swimming pool though the terms of the lease did not allow such developments. One scheme that did come to fruition was a par 3 nine hole golf course which was opened by Earl Grosvenor on 15th May 1976. The lack of a refreshment facility was highlighted and the Council raised money to build the cafe, changing rooms and toilets. Two croquet lawns adjacent to the bowling greens were laid out in 1981.
After these initial developments, no real improvements to the park took place until the Friends of Westminster Park were formed in 2001 to represent the views and contributions of local residents and organisations. By this time the park had degenerated into a somewhat run down state, football matches were rarely played because the ground was often boggy and waterlogged, the nursery was closed and derelict, and the general appearance of the area was unappealing.

The Friends prepared a ‘wish list’ of works and improvements to make the park a more attractive place for community and family sports and leisure activities. Over the next three years continuous representations were made to Chester City Council to progress the first item on the list, the installation of a drainage system for the two main playingfield areas, which was essential if football was to be played regularly through the winter months. Inevitably, a major impediment was the Council’s lack of funds. In the event, money was raised from the Football Federation to complete the drainage system and over the next five years a total of around £450,000.00 was raised from a variety of sources, principally the National Lottery, to develop Westminster Park into the first class facility that it is today.

The privately owned Glan Aber Tennis Club relocated from Hough Green to the park in 2001 and tennis is also available on two public courts. The park is also home to the local junior football club with 200 players between the ages of 5 and 16 years of age and cricket returned to the park in 2009 with the formation of a new club, Westminster Park Cricket Club, following the installation of a properly graded cricket wicket.
In addition to these sports facilities, the park now has excellent play areas for both toddlers and juniors, recreation facilities for teenagers, a multi-use games area (MUGA) and a highly popular BMX track. The initial plantings of trees offer an impressive variety of mature species across the whole of the park and more recently a wildflower area and some 1500 additional trees and shrubs have been planted, mainly in the former nursery area, bird boxes installed around the park to attract more wildlife, and 1000s of bulbs planted within the park and at both entrances to create colourful spring displays.
The majority of the Friends’ initial plans have now been completed and the croquet and bowls clubs are currently looking forward to completion of a new pavilion to replace a temporary portacabin that was installed after a previous wooden pavilion was destroyed by fire in 1996. Further smaller improvements are being planned and the primary aim now is to sustain Westminster Park at as high a standard as possible and to retain the prestigious national Green Flag award which was achieved in July 2010.

Park Facilities

Senior Football:- Teams from local football leagues use the two pitches located within the boundaries of the Park.

9 Hole golf course:- The Park has the only 9 hole par 3 golf course in Chester. Bookings can be made over the telephone or you can just turn up and hire clubs for a round from the cafe.

Dog walking:- The Park is a favourite rendezvous for dozens of local dog walkers on a daily basis. A ‘dogs on lead’ restriction applies to the mini football field and dogs are not allowed within the toddlers and juniors play area. The remainder of the park is available for dogs to run free. It is expected that dog owners will carry a bag with them to collect dog muck and deposit it in the bins provided.

Cafe, toilets and changing rooms:- A cafe is available for the purchase of snacks, drinks and ice cream, seating is provided, either, within the cafe or outside on the patio. Ladies and gents toilets are available as are changing rooms for football and cricket. The cafe will normally be open at 8am and close 30 minutes before park closing time, closing times are displayed on the notice boards at the car park and Lache Lane entrances.

Car Parking:- Parking is available for approximately cars on a hard surface marked in bays.

Young people’s facilities:- Toddlers play area, junior play area, teens play area, multi use games court (MUGA), first class BMX track, mini and junior football and public tennis courts (two)

Adult’s facilities:- Cricket, football, bowls, croquet, golf, tennis and dog walking.

Cricket Club

The Club was formed in July 2009, after the new cricket square was laid, a letter was placed in the local press with the intention of gathering together a group of people, from the local area, who wanted to play cricket but didn’t think that they were good enough.

The club has just completed its first full season in the Chester and District Mid-week League Division 7 finishing sixth out of eight teams. During the season the club played at some delightful grounds such as Cholmondely Castle and Oakmere C C. The club also played friendly games against Northorp Irregulars and Kinnerton.

At present , a squad of sixteen players are signed on, unfortunately, not all are always available due to other commitments. We are always looking for interested players together with people to act as umpires and scorers.

Annual subs are £20.00 or £10.00 for unemployed and students. A team kit is available for new starters and next season we will have a new team shirt. At all home games we ask each player for £3.00 to cover the cost of pitch hire.
Net practice starts in January at Kings School