04:58AM, Wednesday 11 April 2012
Wooden animals and a new fountain are among the improvements made during a £70,000 makeover of Ray Mill Island in Maidenhead.
Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead's mayor Cllr Asghar Majeed was at the island today to see the new developments for himself. He helped plant a magnolia tree near the island's cafe, which now overlooks a bubbling fountain.
The mayor also chatted to children who were enjoying the opening fun day, trying out the new play equipment, taking part in face painting and meeting guinea pigs in their enclosure. Some 160 shrubs and bushes have been planted, overgrowth cleared away and a new curved seat has been installed overlooking the weir.
The borough's head of leisure services Kevin Mist said: "This is the most popular park in Maidenhead and a favourite with people of all ages. We've tried to keep it as natural as it was before but open it up to a lot more light."
The 12-month programme began in October and the park was closed for a month over winter to fell dead trees and dredge the lake. An old millstone was found in the water which has been incorporated into the head of the stream. The island's name dates from when the Ray family managed a flour mill there in the 1920s.
Cllr Majeed was given a tour of the island and said: "It's beautiful, it looks so open and it's lovely to come down here in the summer." He thanked all of the officers who worked on it and said they did a 'wonderful job'.
The final stages of the project, funded by section 106 developer contributions, will include more planting and improving the footpaths. A replacement statue of The Companions, a memorial to four Altwood schoolboys who lost their lives on a school trip, is also due to be installed by the end of May. The original statue was stolen for scrap metal last year.
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