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
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
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.