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First details of RHS Garden Bridgewater Masterplan are announced

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has revealed the masterplan for the new RHS Garden Bridgewater in Salford.

World-class landscape architect Tom Stuart-Smith, who was appointed to create the plan in November, has shared his initial proposals for the 154-acre garden, which will bring back to life the lost historic grounds at Worsley New Hall, Salford.

Key elements of the aspirational horticultural masterplan include:
• An entrance garden laid out like a web and planted as a perennial meadow
• A new lake which anchors the new visitor building within the landscape
• A water garden of interlocking streams and rocky waterfalls
• The reconstruction of the historic walled garden, to include a therapeutic garden, vegetable garden and flower garden
• A new Learning Centre

RHS Director General, Sue Biggs, says: “These plans are at their earliest stages and may evolve as the garden develops, but they give a clear idea of the scale of our ambitions for this beautiful garden. I am grateful to Tom for his inspirational vision. We have an enormous task ahead of us but this plan will underpin and help us to shape everything that we do.”

Tom Stuart-Smith said: “RHS Garden Bridgewater is a perfect site for an RHS Garden, and these proposals are aimed at retaining the most historic aspects of the garden while reinterpreting and revitalising it.”

On arrival to the garden, visitors will be able to wander through a large garden planted as an extensive perennial meadow, with a network of web-like paths, which will lead them to the historic walled garden.

A new visitor building, to be designed by Cullinan Studio, and adjacent car parking facilities will be located at the southern edge of the site to avoid affecting the garden’s greatest assets – its existing structures, landscape and mature trees. A large open café terrace to the east will allow visitors to enjoy refreshments while looking over the water and into the heart of the garden.

The immediate surroundings of the new visitor building will make a strong connection between the walled garden at one end of RHS Garden Bridgewater and the historic terraces and lake at the other. A new lake will link the visitor building to the heart of the historic landscape of the garden, which is formed by the Nesfield terraces and the original lake. A water garden of interlocking streams and rocky waterfalls will further link the two and draw people along its length, creating a strong visitor circuit around the garden.

The magnificent ten-acre walled garden, one of Worsley’s most impressive original features, will be the magnificent piece de rèsistance of the first phase of RHS Garden Bridgewater. It will comprise an impressive sequence of three walled gardens. The outer walled garden will include a mix of ornamental and productive gardening, and a therapeutic garden, while the intermediate garden will concentrate on vegetable and fruit production. At the very centre will be a flower garden based on the concept of the Paradise garden, complete with a lily pond. A new Learning Centre will be located at the north east corner of the walled garden.

The 154-acre RHS Garden Bridgewater is planned to open in 2019 as part of the RHS wider 10-year £160 million investment programme to achieve its Vision to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place. Tom Stuart-Smith’s masterplan sets out the overall vision for the garden, assessing its current condition and outlining the conceptual approach for its future. All plans at this stage are subject to lease and planning permission.

The RHS is working with the owners of the historic estate, Peel Land and Property, and Salford City Council, to bring the historic garden to fruition.

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Editor at large, SalfordOnline.com