Visitor Management Plan, Caldicot Castle and Country Park

Client: Monmouthshire County Council

Caldicot Castle and Country Park is an interesting example to look at as we were commissioned to produce a visitor management plan.

Castle business plan

Built between the 12th and 14th centuries Caldicot Castle is a Grade I listed building. It passed into royal ownership at the end of the 14th century through marriage and eventually came under the control of the Duchy of Lancaster. It was purchased in 1885 and subsequently restored by J R Cobb, who used it as a family home and the castle passed into public ownership in 1963.

Our work focussed on:

  • Assessing current audiences for the castle (and adjacent country park), identifying the potential to widen and develop those audiences, included providing recommendations on setting priorities, identifying target audiences, assessing the competitive position and potential economic value, a proposed action plan and a suggested approach to future evaluation and monitoring (which needed to be in line with Heritage Lottery Fund’s advice / methodology on audience development)
  • Auditing and assessing the current interpretive offer and make recommendations for an integrated interpretation strategy for the castle and country park, including potential interpretive themes and an action plan identifying actions for both on-site and digital provision
  • Auditing and assessing the existing visitor experience, pre-visit, arrival, visit and departure and to making recommendations for an integrated visitor management strategy for the castle and country park, including an action plan
  • Consolidating these different elements into a single costed action plan identifying priorities and short to medium term (4 to 5 years) and long term actions. This needed to be phased to match available funding
  • Identifying opportunities to integrate the Castle within the Country Park itself. The research revealed that people either visited the country park or castle but we helped to create an action plan which addresses this issue.
  • Gaining buy-in from stakeholders and visitors
  • Identifying organisational impacts
    Preparing the castle management and development plans.

Clearly one of the key challenges facing the project was that a Castle is designed to keep people out and our work helped to create an enhanced sense of arrival and more welcoming experience for visitors. Additionally, as a listed building the development plans had to respect the fabric of the building along with the special qualities and sense of place associated with the Castle and Country Park.

Following this module of work we were commissioned to prepare a detailed financial model relating to the impacts of the recommended action plan to show the impacts of the proposed interventions.

Visitor Experience Planning Castle management plan

Photos kindly supplied by Monmouthshire County Council



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