At the beginning of the twenty-first century the Lydiard Park was in need of substantial works to conserve its heritage value. The eighteenth-century-designed landscape had degraded to such an extent that even the existence of the ruinous dam wall was hardly recognized.
By 2002 Lydiard had become a national pilot project for the Countryside Agency’s Renaissance of County Parks in Britain. Aerial photographs combined with an emergency assessment of the walled garden proved the garden layout still existed and its restoration became an important feature of the restoration proposal.
Local business and national agencies championed the project and helped the council secure major grant funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, adding to their own substantial contributions. Following a year of archaeological investigations and preparatory work, coupled with a wide programme of community involvement, the restoration works began in earnest in 2005.
The project reinstated the two acre ‘lost lake’ which had been largely dry for 100 years when the dam wall collapsed. Alongside it the ruinous wall was restored to its former grandeur and a plunge pool discovered. Miles of paths were laid along their original routes and thousands of trees planted including lost avenues in the wider parkland. Landscape structures such as the Ice House and old stable buildings were restored and the eighteenth-century ornamental fruit and flower garden was reinstated with old varieties of plants.
In 2007 HRH Princess Anne officially launched celebrations to mark completion of the project.
Search the collection for detailed information about this exciting £5.3million project, including photographs, newsletters and press cuttings.