Behind the Scenes at RHS Bridgewater

The wildlife pond where creatures from the lake have been relocated.

The prospect of having a new RHS garden on my doorstep is super exciting and when the opportunity came up to join one of the ‘Behind the Scenes’ tours, it was too good to miss.

For those of you who don’t know, the project involves the development of a huge 156 acre estate on the historic site of Worsley New Hall in Salford. The first phase of the garden is due to open in summer 2020 and since planning permission was first granted, almost two years ago, it has become one of the biggest garden projects in Europe.

The future Paradise Garden designed by Tom Stuart-Smith

It was a very cold April morning when I arrived at the site along with a few other enthusiastic visitors, all of us excited to be getting a glimpse of the work in hand. With our volunteer guide Lesley, who was a mine of information about the project, we took a peek at the Walled Garden which comprises the Paradise Garden and Kitchen Garden.

The site of the Kitchen Garden designed by the Harris Bugg Studio

A network of pathways are now in place but a little imagination is require to envisage how this will look in 12 months time!

Gardeners Cottage

The Gardeners Cottage is one of few surviving buildings from the original estate. It was looking very bleak on the day!

Signs of spring in the wood

The woodland area had been left to run riot over many decades, but the disease carrying Rhododendron ponticum has now been cleared along with much of the self seeded sycamore.

The lake

The old lake has been drained and the de-silting of a hundred years of debris was completed last autumn. The rare breed Berkshire pigs, originally brought in to turn over the soil in the proposed orchard area, are now located in this part of the site but we didn’t hear or see them. I was slightly disappointed on the lack of a pig sighting! The previous residents of the pond have been relocated in the newly created wildlife pond shown in the first photo.

The lake looking towards the original terraced gardens

An alternative view of the old lake looking towards the terraces on top of which Worsley New Hall once stood.

Lower terrace

Standing on the lower terrace which once formed part of the formal terraced gardens leading down from the house to the ornamental boating lake.

Scout pow-wow

The old scout ‘pow wow’ in the woodlands which was built by the scouts using stone from the original Worsley New Hall fountain.

The discovery of a ha-ha in the grounds must have been a real bonus. In view of the trees, imagination is required to see the potential, but originally this would have provided a barrier to livestock whilst giving an uninterrupted view of the landscape beyond …… all the way to the Bridgewater canal.

Exciting times for us garden enthusiasts in the northwest, and I hope to be able to see the progress of the garden at some point over the summer.

For those interested in the history of the site, there is lots of fascinating information available online, and you can follow current developments on Facebook and Twitter @RHSBridgewater

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Garden designer, photographer and blogger

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Alison Moore

Alison Moore

Garden designer, photographer and blogger

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