Hester's Way Park

Hesters Way Park was opened in 1957. It's design was generally informal with enclosures being created by groups of trees and shrubs. The main path from princess Elizabeth Way led over a bridge across a lake towards the rose garden, the only formal area within the park.

The park has undergone considerable changes since then - the lake has been filled in and the rose garden removed. Almost 50 years since it first opened, it was in need of attention.

The new GCHQ building and its associated housing developments provided an opportunity to rejunvenate the park. 

A new play area was installed in September 2005 and includes a fenced area for toddlers, and a separate, more open area for juniors. Teenagers and adults have not been forgotten, with two new seating areas being created. The play area has been designed to fit into its particular location within the park and to make the most of the trees surrounding it.

A public art project was also made possible through funding, and nine, huge, glacial boulders arrived at the park in Spring 2005! Six are arranged in a circle in the old rose garden, with a further three being situated along the path towards the GCHQ entrance. They are all engraved with a language theme, ranging from government codes and baby talk to text messaging and extracts from the bible.

There are fine examples of interesing, mature trees in this park. These include the cypress oak, the Indian Bean tree, a Causasian wing-nut, groups of Persian Ironwoods and several varieties of conifers. Over the past year, the council has undertaken a programme of scrub clearance, so that the size and shape of the trees can be better appreciated.

New plantings of bulbs, groundcover and wildflowers have been made and more are planned. The intention is to create swathes of seasonal scent and colour, in keeping with the original, informal design of the park.

In March 2004, the Queen visited the park to unveil a plaque commemorating the replacement of an oak tree that she had originally planted near GCHQ, Benhall in 1952.