Nottinghamshire agrees 15-year commercial operations management deal

NOTTINGHAMSHIRE County Council has appointed Parkwood Leisure to a 15-year contract for managing commercial operations at Rufford Abbey Country Park.

The company will be responsible for the day-to-day running of operations including a café, restaurant and shops.

Rufford Abbey County Park, which has an annual turnover of nearly £2m and attracts around 350,000 visitors a year, is owned by the council and managed to a plan agreed with Historic England.

In addition to the partnership with Parkwood to develop the park’s commercial operations, the council will contribute up to £1m towards improving visitor facilities.

Service director Derek Higton of Nottinghamshire County Council said: “This is an exciting time for Rufford Abbey Country Park. We want to protect, preserve and enhance it for future generations to enjoy.”

Matt De’ath, director of catering at Parkwood Leisure, added: “Maintaining the integrity of Rufford Abbey Country Park was a primary focus and we wanted to introduce a more modern and attractive offer for visitors without detracting from the heritage and natural appeal of the abbey and country park. 

“We’re thrilled to have been awarded the commercial operations contract for this much-loved tourist attraction and working closely with Nottinghamshire County Council, we are committed to securing a long-term, sustainable future for the venue.”