£5m Lews Castle plan

Artist's impression of Boatman's tower and pathway.

Artist's impression of Boatman's tower and pathway.

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Work on multi-million pound improvements in the Lews Castle Grounds could begin next year.

The news comes after the Stornoway Trust confirmed the tender process is ready to begin.

More than £5 million will be spent improving areas of the Lews Castle Grounds including the restoration of the Boatman’s Tower and Porter’s Lodge and the creation of two separate play areas around the vicinity of the Woodlands Centre.

As well as bringing the Boatman’s Tower back towards its former glory and providing a form of public access to the tower, there are plans for a toddlers play park on the woodlands green with an adventure playpark for older children created on the embankment opposite the Boatman’s Tower.

The plans were originally mooted last year but now the project is preparing to progress with the Stornoway Trust keen to commence works.

The Trust also hope to carry out substantial wall repairs around the area by the sea, refurbish and repairs at Shoe Burn Glen and Matheson Bridge; restoration of the bastian walls and steps on the Lews Castle terrace with works for a new feature fountain; significant works on the sunken garden at the rear of Lews Castle; extensive drainage works throughout the area; the creation of a pond water feature in the basin between the private gardens and memorial on the approach to Cuddy Point; and also resurfacing of the roads at Cuddy Point to improve it. Iain Maciver, Factor of the Stornoway Trust, commented: “The tender process will begin soon and we hope to learn how affordable or otherwise it is going to be.

“We will be looking at work beginning in the third quarter of 2017 in what will be a significant development.”

This is the latest milestone in a joint initiative launched by the Stornoway Trust and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar to restore and improve the Castle Grounds through a major funding bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund Parks for People Programme.