EXCLUSIVE: Gardens’ project receives £634,800 grant

Estate manager Ian Murphy, vice chairman of the Stewart Trust Paul Lee, the Trusts chairman Richard Haynes and assistant estate manager Peter Rogers
Estate manager Ian Murphy, vice chairman of the Stewart Trust Paul Lee, the Trusts chairman Richard Haynes and assistant estate manager Peter Rogers

A major project to protect the picturesque lakes and national collection of hardy water lilies at Pocklington’s Burnby Hall Gardens for many years to come has received a huge financial boost.

The ‘Stewarts Trust Golden Jubilee Restoration Project’ has been awarded a grant of £634,800 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, which is in addition to the £20,900 of development funding it received from the Fund last year.

The walls of the lakes at the Gardens are deteriorating in places, and rising silt levels now threaten both the lilies and the fish in the lakes. The huge grant will be used to restore the lake walls and de-silt the lakes. It will also enable the attraction to re-stock the lilies and ornamental fish within them, restore the 1920s rock garden to its original appearance, re-develop an Edwardian potting shed on the site as a visitor feature and create a bespoke learning zone for educational groups.

Peter Rogers, assistant estate manager at the Gardens, said: “We see the project as a once in a lifetime opportunity to ensure that the Stewarts’ legacy is secured, maintained and enhanced.

“Maintaining the balance between providing a quality visitor experience whilst, at the same time, undertaking the extensive renovation work required, will be the major challenge for us. It is envisaged that the work will take place in the autumn and winter periods and will be in stages, thereby ensuring that it is not to the detriment providing enjoyment to those who come to the Gardens. It is hoped that visitors during this period will be able to see the work in progress, monitor its development and share in this major project.”

The project will get underway this autumn and continue over the next three years.

According to Mr Rogers, without support from National Lottery players the lake edges would continue to deteriorate, the rock garden would remain in desperate need of renovation, and the opportunities to regenerate the hardy water lilies, fish stock and the Edwardian potting shed would have been impossible.

The Gardens have traditionally attracted a diverse range of visitors and the project itself has given the Stewart Trust the opportunity to explore how they might further develop the Gardens and their heritage for the enjoyment of a wider visitor base. Work to enhance the experience of those with sight problems, learning disabilities and dementia have provided exciting opportunities which they hope to develop with the funding provided.

Richard Haynes, chairman of Burnby Hall Gardens and Museum Trust, said: “Without the grant, there was a real danger that the lakes, the national water lily collection and the rock garden would have slowly deteriorated and be lost to future generations. Some hard work now lies ahead but I hope very much that visitors to the Gardens will enjoy watching the project evolve over the next couple of years.”