Rivington Terraced Gardens saved by £3.4m grant

The fantastic Rivington Terraced Gardens are set to be safeguarded for the fascination of future generations after being awarded £3.4 million of National Lottery money.

The historic Terraced Gardens at Rivington – built on the edge of the West Pennine Moors by millionaire soap magnate Lord Leverhulme early in the 20th century – will now undergo a three year programme of work by heritage experts to protect the buildings and landscape loved by local people.
The Rivington Heritage Trust (RHT), working with Groundwork Cheshire, Lancashire and Merseyside, led the successful application to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Big Lottery Fund Parks for People grant programme.

The work to conserve, repair and protect the gardens will eventually lead to buildings like the Pigeon Tower being repaired and opened to the public for supervised visits for the first time in decades.

Improved information boards, an interactive website and guided tours will help visitors understand the historical significance of the mysterious wonderland.

Bryan Homan, chairman of the RHT, said he was delighted to hear the Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund had decided to award the money.

He added: “There was a real risk these gardens could have been lost forever if the bid had been unsuccessful, so we’re overjoyed to hear the news.

“This is a real victory for the local community, many of whom have already played an important role in our community forum. We hope even more people will now get involved and help us protect these great gardens for future generations to enjoy.”

Dave Partington, a volunteer with the Community Forum which helped to shape the application, said: “This is a great result for the area. The Community Forum has worked on this project from the very outset to ensure that the views of local people and users of the Gardens sit at the heart of the plans. A lot of volunteers have invested a lot of time in this process, and it’s fantastic to hear that we have received the National Lottery support.”

Lord Leverhulme worked with landscape architect Thomas Mawson on the design of the Terraced Gardens in the early 20th century.

Lord Leverhulme died in 1925 and the gardens almost immediately fell into a state of disrepair, with a new landowner, Liverpool Water Corporation, taking ownership of the site for water supplies. They were opened to the public in 1948.

Now owned by United Utilities, the Gardens are a Grade 2 listed park, and 11 of the structures, including the iconic Pigeon Tower and seven-arched bridge, are also listed at Grade 2.

Recently, the site was identified as one of the top ten lost gardens in the UK, and was featured on a BBC Countryfile programme in November 2014.

The National Lottery money forms part of a wider £4m project to preserve and improve the gardens.

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