The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) is unveiling plans to create a stunning new 156 acre RHS Garden in the heart of the North West by bringing back to life the lost historic grounds at Worsley New Hall in Salford. The site forms part of the 3rd Duke of Bridgewater’s estate and adjoins the Bridgewater Canal in Worsley, Salford.
RHS Garden Bridgewater is planned to open in 2019 as part of the RHS’ wider ten year £100+ million investment programme to achieve its Vision to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.
As a result of collaboration between the owners of the historic estate, Peel Land and Property, Salford City Council and the RHS, the ambitious landscape and horticultural aspirations for RHS Garden Bridgewater will create a major new destination garden in the midst of the Northern Powerhouse to welcome and inspire one million visitors a year within a decade from opening its doors.
RHS Garden Bridgewater will join the RHS’ current portfolio of gardens at Wisley in Surrey, Rosemoor in Devon, Hyde Hall in Essex and Harlow Carr in Yorkshire.
The announcement comes in a year when the RHS has had record visits to its four Gardens, achieved its highest membership in its 211 year history at 445,000 and the highest number of online visits with 15.1 million unique users achieved to date this year.
RHS Director General, Sue Biggs, says: “We always thought it would take us a long time to find the ideal site for our Fifth Garden, but with its beautiful landscapes, good public transport links and outstanding location, Worsley New Hall was an opportunity we couldn’t miss.
“Thanks to the support of Salford City Council and Peel Land and Property, they have enabled us to create this new garden, which will bring beauty, knowledge, social cohesion, health and wellbeing, employment and enjoyment to millions more people within Salford, Greater Manchester and the surrounding regions.”
“We know that with the growth in visits to RHS gardens and our increased engagement with people wanting to garden and grow plants, the time is right to embark on this exciting ambition to create what we believe will become one of the UK’s greatest gardens.”
The RHS will work with a world class landscape architect to develop a masterplan for RHS Garden Bridgewater, which adjoins the Bridgewater Canal at Worsley. Horticultural highlights will include the restoration of the ten acre Walled Kitchen Garden, one of the largest in the UK; recreating and developing historical features such as the tree lined Garden Approach and recovering the Terraces, which sit between the lake and the site of the lost Worsley New Hall.
The new garden will bring to the community a new Learning Centre for thousands of schoolchildren to grow their horticultural knowledge; and a range of facilities that will bring gardening to life for everyone.
John Whittaker, Chairman of The Peel Group said: “For many years we have waited to seize the right kind of opportunity for this historic and unique location and we are proud and delighted that our site at Worsley New Hall is now set to become the RHS’ Fifth Garden.
“We’re very excited about the RHS creating such a beautiful and inspiring destination garden on the fringes of the city. The RHS are perfect to bring this area to life and the Fifth Garden will leave an incredible legacy for the people of Salford. Equally, its creation reinforces our investment in the Northern Powerhouse as it will attract interest and visitors from across the North West and beyond.”
Salford City Mayor Ian Stewart said: “The RHS’ plan to bring Worsley New Hall back to life and create a new garden of national and historical significance in Salford is exciting news for the city and the North West.
“The RHS’ commitment to deliver this ambitious project is testimony to the city’s continued transformation and I am proud to say that Salford is growing. The RHS Garden Bridgewater will bring further long-term investment and commitment which will generate hundreds of new jobs and create considerable educational, volunteering and community engagement opportunities, as well as learning opportunities and an improved transport network. As City Mayor I am pleased to embrace another key moment for the city which will secure enormous economic and environmental benefits.”
Sue finishes, “RHS Garden Bridgewater will attract hundreds of thousands of visitors for the benefit of local communities and RHS members, as well as the region’s socio-economic, environmental and cultural development. The gardens within the grounds will mature and develop over decades, providing a long lasting legacy that will enhance Greater Manchester and the North West forever.”
It is fourteen years since the RHS last acquired a garden when the charity was gifted RHS Garden Harlow Carr in 2001. Its flagship garden in Wisley Surrey, which welcomes one million visitors a year, is 115 years old and today all four RHS Gardens are recording record growth, with a combined audience of 1.76 million visitors a year.
The creation of the RHS Garden Bridgewater will be subject to all relevant planning and legal processes.