The award-winning Spetchley Park Gardens in Worcester is getting ready to officially unveil the second phase of its restoration on Wednesday 28 June. The opening will mark a major milestone in the redevelopment of the gardens as part of the ambitious Spetchley Revival Project, a project that has been made possible by generous funding from donors, including the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The Spetchley Revival Project is a long-term project designed to invest in securing the gardens for future generations to enjoy. It is an ever-changing garden and, for the past three years, has undergone a mini revival, including phase 1, which was the creation of a new garden entrance, car park and Welcome Centre, completed in 2015 thanks to a grant from the RDPE.
Phase 2 centred on the heritage within the garden and park land, specifically focusing on:
- The restoration of the garden lake to enhance its historic role in the designed landscape through dredging and re-aligning its boundaries.
- Converting the Old Cart Shed into a Heritage and Learning Centre to be complemented by the introduction of a new and coordinated education programme focused around the national curriculum. The centre will house information from the Berkeley family archive. This will allow visitors a greater understanding of the formation of the park and gardens, as well as the part the Berkeley family has played in its history.
- Increasing physical access to the furthest points of interest within the parkland and deer park by creating a series of paths, planned walks and the introduction of a trailer service for schools and groups, driven by volunteers. This will increase the number and range of people who are able to enjoy the deer park.
- Increasing and improving the interpretation of the park and gardens through the creation of new interpretation material.
- Improved orientation signage for visitors.
- Conservation of the 19th century Sovereign Coach – one of only 20 still in existence.
- The preservation of historic site lines and key views, involving the restoration of sunken hedges and the replanting of trees along the lines of C19 landscape maps.
- Significant work to enhance hedgerows to the southern deer park boundary, incorporating the gapping up of hedges with native woody species, which will provide blossom/flowers and therefore increase pollen and nectar sources (which are generally lacking in the deer park currently). This work will enhance both the appearance and the biodiversity of the deer park.
- Create significant new opportunities for volunteering; in total, the Revival Project is targeted to deliver 1,000 volunteer days, conserving the Sovereign Coach, and enhancing the biodiversity within the garden and parkland. Using audio visual and touch screen technology, visitors to the new Heritage Centre can learn more about the fascinating 400 year history of the gardens and the Berkeley family’s influence over this wonderful garden and unspoilt 17th century landscape. The centre includes previously unseen images from the Spetchley Park archives and there are family friendly games and costumes to ensure everyone has a fun and memorable visit.
The gardens are also bringing together local community groups such as the Hardy Plant Society and Spetchley Gardening Society, a programme of school workshops and talks are also in development for 2018; it is an exciting time. In addition to 30 acres of wonderful historic gardens, just three miles from the city centre, Spetchley has a busy programme of events throughout the year, including the summer holidays where children’s activities will be available every Wednesday. There is also an enchanting world of fairies and elves waiting to be discovered with Spetchley’s Enchanted Door Trail, revealing a hidden and secret fantasy world which is fun for all ages!
Spetchley Park Gardens is open Wednesday–Sunday, 11.00am–6.00pm, and Bank Holiday Mondays. Visit www.spetchleygardens.co.uk for full details of all activities and events.