As the start of the flagship season opener, the Boodles May Festival becomes ever closer, visions of the first phase of Chester Race Company’s 2018 Masterplan become clearer. The work on the main entrance is now close completion and in time for 2018’s season start in just one weeks’ time on Wednesday 9 may 2018. This area has been completely re-modelled and landscaping has begun to form a more attractive and accessible approach to the main entrance, County Stand and surrounding areas.
This week celebrates national gardening week in association with the Royal Horticultural Society, so it seems fitting that Chester Racecourse have been digging out the tools and getting up to a spot of gardening. Utilising the skills of the Race Company’s in-house operational team, the project has made substantial improvements to the main entrance and approach to the County Stand.
As final touches begin to take shape, the newly planted shrubs are already beginning to blossom. The centrepiece is a brand-new living wall is being installed around the framework of the County Stand, with over 9,000 plant varieties being planted vertically to the building. The wall will be self-sufficient, watered by rain water throughout the year. Plants are contained within discrete panels that contain individually planted pots that form a pattern of plotted in rows creating an instant visual impact as you enter the course.
The plants were chosen collaboratively with Chester Race Company’s Head Gardener, Gwenda Kidd, alongside Dave Fitton from the expert planting company; Wonder Wall. The objective was to select a mixture of plants, some evergreen, to provide all year greenery, some flowering and some ferns and grasses to add texture.
The Racecourse gardener, Gwenda Kidd, explains:
“The living wall will be a stunning feature of the racecourse. It will add interest and greenery to the new entrance. I hope that the wall will look verdant and vibrant in the summer. ”
Pink Geraniums, purple Salvias and white Leucanthemeum have been added amongst the greenery, which should be flowering during the summer. Erigeron and Cymbalaria seeds have also been added as a naturally wall colonising species that will also add pink and purple flowers respectively.
Two cherry trees, already in full blossom have been installed, embellished with a mixture of other flowering trees, shrubs, roses and herbaceous plants bedded around the entrance. Framing the scene the elaborate plan from the racecourse sees some lawn areas and 100m of Yew hedge will surround the boundary.
The new and improved area creates a complete pedestrian & cycle friendly district with two new squares (Watergate Square & Paradise Square) linked by a new lane on the line of the old Paradise Row, which leads down to a series of new course side lawns, for people to enjoy. These spaces are designed to take advantage of the day long sun path to create a sunny and warm environment as well as enjoying the wonderful views over the racecourse towards the river backdrop.
The new and improved area will be completed and ready to welcome to racegoers during the three days of the Boodles May Festival, Wednesday 9 – Friday 11 May, marking the official opening of a newly-constructed location “Paradise Row”.
Keep watch over the site and on the racecourse official social media handles @ChesterRaces for live updates on further exciting developments.
Tickets and Badges for the Boodles May Festival and all other fixtures during 2018 are available to buy. For availability and to purchase online, visit chester-races.co.uk or call the Chester Racecourse Box Office on 01244 304 600.