The new Quarryman’s Rest Cafe is set to open for business at Irchester Country Park tomorrow (Tuesday 20th July).
The cafe has been developed in the old mining company office building which dates from the 1930s and is called the Quarryman’s Rest Cafe in celebration of the ironstone mining heritage of the park.
The new cafe features photographs supplied by the Irchester Narrow Gauge Railway Trust, which operates a museum at the park. The stunning black and white photos date back to the early half of the twentieth century and show the massive diggers and steam trains at work extracting iron ore from the site.
It also features a beautiful carved pergola and dynamite box seating outside, as well as a quarryman at rest carving by local chainsaw artist Dick Tilley of Spirits of Wood.
Councillor Andre Gonzalez de Savage, county council cabinet member for customers and communities said: “The opening of this wonderful new cafe is the last piece of a project which began over a year ago to improve Irchester Country Park.
“Last year saw the opening of the Jungle Parc high ropes trail and the superb new quarry themed play area at the park – these are proving to be a big hit and visitor numbers to the park have nearly tripled since they opened.
“Visitors told us they wanted a cafe as well, so I am pleased that we have been able to work in partnership with Northamptonshire Enterprise Limited to achieve this for everyone who comes to the park.
”As well as creating lots of enjoyment this project has created new jobs and put Irchester Country Park firmly back on the map.”
The cafe was funded by an East Midlands Development Agency (EMDA) grant administered by Northamptonshire Enterprise Limited. It will be operated by Food Express.
Why the Quarryman’s Rest? The park was opened back in 1971 on the site of an early twentieth century ironstone quarry and the “hill and dale” undulations left over from the mining can be seen all over the park.
The spectacular quarry at the top end of the park is a regionally important geological site owing to the Jurassic geology exposed by the mining. Some of the iron mined from Irchester is believed to have ended up on the other side of the world as part of the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge.