In a spectacular coup for the city, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has transformed the former grounds of Worsley New Hall in Salford into a stunning new 154-acre garden. The site, which was once home to the third Duke of Bridgewater, and adjoins the historic Bridgewater Canal, is a beautiful green space for the local community and visitors to enjoy all year-round. Its development, from 2016 until opening in 2021, was the biggest project of its kind in Europe.
RHS Garden Bridgewater was made possible by Salford City Council and Peel L&P. Salford City Council invested £19 million into the project which will bring substantial economic and tourism benefits to the city, its communities and the north west region. Peel L&P are custodians of the former Worsley New Hall estate where the garden has been built. It’s a project on the scale of and with the impact of MediaCityUK in terms of being a game changer for the city.
When it opened in May 2021, it became the RHS’s fifth national garden, joining Wisley in Surrey, Rosemoor in Devon, Hyde Hall in Essex and Harlow Carr in Yorkshire. The new garden forms part of their wider ten year £160 million national investment programme to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.
RHS Director General, Sue Biggs, says: “We always thought it would take us longer to find 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.”
World-renowned landscape architect Tom Stuart-Smith created the Bridgewater ‘masterplan’. Its centrepiece is the 11-acre Weston Walled Garden, one of the UK’s biggest, measuring the size of six football pitches and comprising 11 gardens, including The Paradise Garden, Kitchen Garden, Wellbeing Garden and Community Grow Spaces.
RHS Garden Bridgewater has been designed with community in mind, and in a first for the RHS, Salford residents are entitled to visit the garden every Tuesday free of charge for the first two years. Additionally, up to 7,000 local schoolchildren will benefit free-of-charge each year from having this abundant, green learning resource on their doorstep.
Salford City Mayor Paul Dennett said: “This is pioneering for Salford residents with free weekly access to the garden and concessions for local school children, carers with disabled visitors and special education groups. It is the first time the RHS has given this type of access for the local community. There will also be the opportunity for the wider community to visit this national garden for free on two days per year.
“This is a flagship project for the city creating an outstanding asset providing a beautiful green lung connected to the Bridgewater Canal. I am proud that this be will the largest garden build in Europe, with a positive impact on local people and our city.”
“Even before it opened the garden brought so many benefits through volunteering and supporting peoples’ mental and physical health and boosting the local economy.
“As it moves forward, it will build on this, creating even more jobs and training opportunities for local people, with local businesses, hotels and suppliers sharing the prosperity it brings.
After opening its doors in 2021, the garden will continue to grow with further investment, and the RHS’s ambitious future plans include an arboretum, a Northern College of Horticulture, an architecturally stunning glasshouse and renovation of the lost Nesfield terraces. It is expected to generate £24 million a year for the local economy by year fifteen of its opening (2036).
In addition to economic benefits for the city, RHS Garden Bridgewater will also bring beauty, knowledge, health and wellbeing, social cohesion and enjoyment to hundreds of thousands of gardeners and garden lovers, for decades, even centuries, into the future.
In its first year, RHS Garden Bridgewater welcomed over 482,000 visitors with 18,160 free tickets issued to Salford residents. It created 162 jobs, from tree surgeons to therapists, as well as apprenticeships and learning opportunities. Its community outreach projects engaged with 539 young people and 425 local people. Over 7,300 young people enjoyed free educational visits from 155 schools from all ten Greater Manchester areas.
For all the latest updates and details about visiting the garden, please visit the RHS website.
Work is also underway on a major scheme to improve walking and cycling links to the garden as well as other local facilities.
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This page was last updated on 18 May 2022