With just weeks to go until Wynyard Hall’s historic Walled Garden opens to the public, craftsmen are putting the finishing touches to the series of pools which will form a highlight of the project.
Built by the Hall’s former owners, the Marquises of Londonderry, in the 19th century, the Walled Garden, due to open on Tuesday 4 August, has undergone a £1.6m development overseen by multi-award-winning landscape architect Alistair Baldwin.
Along with yew and beech hedging, shrubs, 3000 roses and a few thousand herbaceous perennials, the garden will feature four, circular pools with fountains at the east side.
To the west, water will cascade from two square pools, into rills running for 45m down either side of the garden.
And, for Consett-based Swinburne Horticultural Services, whose craftsmen have spent nine months working on the site, the challenge has been constructing the pools and rills to within a millimetre of the plans.
“This is one of the largest and most prestigious projects we have worked on,” said contracts manager Brian Watson.
“The site is on a six metre slope and the water at the west side travels over a series of terraces so, in order for the fountains and the water pumps to work, the features have to be constructed absolutely accurately – there really is no room for error.”
Although state of the art pump and filtration technology has been utilised in the creation of the water features, the ‘above ground’ structures take their inspiration from classical design and are intended to compliment, rather than overshadow the planting.
“Water will be key to the gardens,” said Alistair Baldwin, “but there are no gimmicks. “The reason people come back again and again to National Trust gardens like those at Sissinghurst Castle, in Kent, for example, is because those who created them got it right first time.”
The Walled Garden development, to the north of the Hall itself and within the estate’s 150 acres of grounds, will also house a state-of-the-art visitor centre, shop and café, stocking and serving locally-sourced goods and produce.
It is the second stage in a rolling programme of work to create The Gardens at Wynyard Hall, which will eventually cover four acres and be one of the largest rose gardens in the UK.
The first stage, adjacent to the Walled Garden, was the £1.7m installation of a Grand Marquee and management suite, for weddings and large scale corporate events and further stages will include a £2m investment in the creation of a cookery school, children’s garden and designated walks through the estate.