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A View from The Bothy

RHS Garden Bridgewater - A 2020 Vision

On a recent trip to Yorkshire, we decided to head west and visit the grounds of the former Worsley New Hall near Salford, which has now been transformed into Bridgewater, the fifth RHS garden.

The 154-acre site had been untouched for more than a century, so renowned landscape designer Tom Stuart-Smith was tasked by the RHS with creating the first new RHS garden since Harlow Carr, more than 20 years ago.

Our visit was inspired by a two part BBC documentary (Click here to watch), screened in May 2021 to coincide with the grand opening of the new garden by project ambassador Carol Klein, whose grandfather worked on Worsley New Hall Estate.

It’s only when you watch the documentary that you fully appreciate the mammoth task the team - led by project manager Marcus Chilton-Jones - pulled off within such a short timescale.

The team overcame several significant obstacles in a bid to complete the project on time, including flooding, challenging weather conditions and ground contaminated with the Victorians’ answer to weed control – arsenic.

However, the planned opening date in May 2020 was delayed by a year due to a problem few foresaw – the COVID-19 pandemic.

The team sought an unusual solution for preparing some parts of the garden - a herd of six Berkshire pigs.  The plan worked perfectly though, as not a stone was left unturned!

With more than a mile of garden walls restored and five miles of pathways laid, the gardens – even in mid-March when we visited – are a sight to behold.  With a spectacular timber-constructed welcome building housing the ticket hall, cafeteria and gift shop, they are well worth the journey to visit.

There were still signs of work in progress, with an extension to the car park underway.  Teams of gardeners and volunteers were busy pruning, weeding and mulching alongside the many visitors, including several groups of school children.

To find out more about RHS Bridgewater and to arrange your visit click here.