Devonport Park sits between the communities of Devonport, Stoke, Morice Town and Keyham. It is the oldest formal public park in Plymouth, Devon.
From around 1757 the land served as the glacis – a part of the Devonport ‘Dock Line’ defences.These were open fields, kept free of development and providing no cover for an enemy.
By the 1850s the ‘Dock Lines’ had little military value and Devonport was keen to respond to the national public park movement. Devonport Park was open by 1858 “for the purpose of healthful recreation by the public.” – Corporation Minutes, August 1857.
At first the planting and landscaping was restricted and limited, but by the 1870s the Park, with its wonderful views, was “a source of daily pleasure to some hundreds of people.” Western Daily Mercury, 17 July 1876. There were improved walks, more trees and shrubs, with arbours, seats, – plus the occasional rugby or cricket match. In 1894-5 more land was acquired and the larger and remodelled Park was re-launched as the ‘People’s Park’.
Devonport Park is now recognised and Registered by English Heritage as a Park and Garden of Special Historical Interest.