Hermitage Park is located in the centre of Helensburgh on the Clyde Estuary. It extends to approx. 4.7 hectares.
The Friends of Hermitage Park was formed in early 2011 when a small group of Helensburgh residents became concerned that their local Park was in decline due to a lack of maintenance. Over thirty to forty years large open spaces had become self-seeded with trees and bushes to become woodland and copses rather than parkland. The Local Authority which owned the Park (Argyll & Bute) told us their resources would not run to maintaining the whole Park, let alone restore it to its original standard. Apart from the Bowling and Putting Greens, which are kept as they should be, the Park was excluded from the Category One Status normally accorded to a ‘Large Park’ – and now receives a basic minimum of attention. All this and a lack of interesting facilities for children and teenagers means the Park is seriously underused
The Friends decided that some action was required. The Millig burn which runs through the park was literally out of sight over much of its length and this was the first target for clearance. An informal arrangement with the Park Managers produced a wood shredder and skip and a group of almost a dozen volunteers set about the task. Even after one session the difference could be seen and, after three or four– what had been an impenetrable jungle now opened up attractive vistas and glimpses of sparkling water.
The task of restoring the whole park was however far beyond a handful of elderly volunteers and it was decided to formalise the group into a registered charity and to invite the Local Authority to partner us in a bid for Heritage Lottery Funding. That is the stage we are now at in August 2011 – putting together the complex requirements demanded by the HLF Parks for People Initiative.
Now, in February 2012, we have completed the bulk of the work clearing the Millig Burn, and have formerly registered The Frinds as an official Scottish Charity Number SCO 42935. However, so far we have been unable to engage Argyle & Bute Council in partnering us to apply for Heritage Lottery Funding. A presentation is being made to Helensburgh & Lomond Area Committee on 20th February when it is hoped some progress will be achieved.