An ambitious two-year development scheme for a medieval castle in County Durham is nearing completion.

Some of the region’s most skilled contractors have been involved in creating a new retail, hospitality and events spaces at Raby Castle, near Staindrop.

The Rising, a collection of restored heritage buildings, two thoughtfully designed new builds and remodelled walled gardens, will offer visitors a unique experience.

The aim is to inspire an audience from further afield, supporting the region as a leading tourist destination and securing Raby as an enjoyable place for the local community to enjoy.

Claire Jones, head of leisure and tourism at Raby Estate, said: “It’s been wonderful watching our own team and trusted contractors work alongside each other on these heritage buildings to preserve their future with renewed energy and purpose, restoring them in thoughtful ways which continue to tell the story of their former uses.”

During the renovation Raby has championed local suppliers along with several contractors from the local area and the wider North East, to work on different aspects of the landmark renovation scheme.

The Northern Echo: Alistair Baldwin, Lady Barnard and Charlotte PennellAlistair Baldwin, Lady Barnard and Charlotte Pennell (Image: Contributor)County Durham based Fairway Contracts Limited has completed the two new constructions within The Rising – the newly designed Vinery Café Restaurant, modelled on the original glasshouse which stood in the same spot and will seat over 200 people, and The Round House, a ticketing and information reception, which features a design inspired by an historic field barn sited close to the castle in Staindrop. 

Simon Hodgson, director at Fairway Contracts Limited, said: “It has been a privilege to play our part in creating two important buildings within this momentous scheme, contributing to the next chapter in Raby Castle’s history, ensuring these new structures will be enjoyed for many more generations to come.”

The Northern Echo: Simon Hodgson, director at Fairway Contracts Limited at Raby Castle's The Rising developmentSimon Hodgson, director at Fairway Contracts Limited at Raby Castle's The Rising development (Image: Contributor)Get more from The Northern Echo and stay informed with subscription. Our special offer for May is £3 for 3 months or 30 per cent off an annual subscription at £55. Click here to find out more.

Other Teesdale companies involved in the vast scale of works across The Rising include D&A Colling Electrical Services, Middleton Forge, and Teesdale Renewables, who are working on the new Ground Source Heat Pump network, to deliver heat to several buildings on the site following last year’s exploration into renewable energy for the scheme.

North Yorkshire based Alistair Baldwin is the lead landscape architect for this significant development and is responsible for creating the beautiful external spaces which connect the various buildings within the scheme.

“Our aim is to create inspiring and elegant gardens to connect the numerous beautiful buildings that make up The Rising in a way that will resonate with the different audiences visiting Raby, capturing the essence of an historic working settlement in the shadow of the castle,” said Alistair.

“Our gardens will seamlessly link the new and historic buildings at The Rising – from strolling through the soft planting and statuesque trees in the Duchess’ Walk to get to the Coach House or the Riding School, to sitting and admiring the newly revealed view of the castle from the High Vinery garden.”

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Both Alistair Baldwin and Luciano Giubbilei – who has remodelled the 18th century Walled Garden – have worked closely with Trevor Atkinson LTD, a family firm based in Barnard Castle which specialises in landscape construction.

The company has overseen civils work and hard landscaping at the Grade II listed Coach House, which will be home to Raby’s free-to-enter exhibition and new retail space.

The centrepiece of this exhibition will be an audio-visual projection onto a bespoke eight-metre carved oak table, sourced sustainably from the Estate, which has been crafted by local artisan furniture maker Anthony Nixon, of Barnard Castle.

The projection will showcase the unique Teesdale landscape, part of the wider Estate, and highlight iconic landmarks such as High Force Waterfall, as well as the sights and sounds of the local area and wildlife.

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From the surrounding region, Raby has employed, amongst others, T Manners from Bishop Auckland to make timber doors and windows; K & L Venning from Cumbria which has worked on the new slating; North Yorkshire landscape construction company DHMS which has implemented the Dutch Barn hard landscaping scheme, and MY Civil Engineers, responsible for managing the civils work in the Duchess Walk, a beautifully landscaped area designed by Alistair Baldwin next to the Riding School and Dutch Barn – two heritage buildings restored and repurposed to provide magnificent new events spaces.

Working closely with the specialist contractors, Raby’s own in-house team of highly skilled individuals has played an instrumental role in The Rising, using a variety of traditional skills to thoughtfully restore the three historic buildings in the castle grounds, alongside processes that have been in existence for over 100 years.

The project is set to open in late spring.