Castle open day lets public have their say

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BOSSES at Conisbrough Castle are turning to the public for advice after receiving lottery backing for plans to develop the site for visitors.

The Heritage Lottery Fund has given a ‘first round pass’ to proposals to improve the site - meaning the ideas meet criteria for funding and are thought to provide potential benefits and value.

Proposals for the development of the site include encouraging greater use of the castle , enhancing the experience for visitors, and improving access.

Plans could include a state-of-the-art visitor centre.

The castle will be opened up to the public free of charge on Saturday from 11am until 3pm to allow residents to look at the proposals and tell them what they think of them.

The findings will then be included in the next stage of the application process towards getting the money to plough into the site.

As part of the preparation work for the project, volunteers have been working alongside archaeologists, curators, and museum staff to sort and study medieval pottery which has been dug up at the site.

Some of the volunteers will be at the event on Saturday to allow visitors to see and handle some of the pieces that have been found.

Also on display will be project work done by families through partnerships with Denaby Main Primary School and Morley Place Primary School’s junior wards, and by youngsters at the De Warenne Academy in Conisbrough. Peterkin the Jester will perform.

Assistant director of development at Doncaster Council Scott Cardwell said: “Conisbrough Castle is one of our most important visitor attractions and a key part of Doncaster’s tourism offer.

“I would encourage local people to come along and have their way on these exciting plans.”

Michael Constantine, English Heritage assistant director of visitor operations for the North of England, said: “Conisbrough Castle is a much loved landmark and we want to make sure local people get a say in its future. We’re already working with local volunteers to explore the history of the castle through its archaeology, and the grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund will help us improve the site even further and encourage communities to get involved in their local heritage.”

English Heritage describes the site as a significant example of a 12th century castle, built around 1180. King John stayed there in 1201 and King Edward II stayed there in 1322.