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Salford’s RHS Garden Bridgewater has a history spanning more than 150 years. Since the first landscaped grounds were created around the former Worsley New Hall in the 1840’s, to welcoming Queen Victoria in the 1850’s and later being used as a training ground in the Second World War, the gardens have become a rich part of Salford’s past. For the RHS, when it came to restoring the gardens – not only as part of one of the biggest gardening projects in Europe, but also to provide a green space for the local community and visitors to enjoy – it was important to embrace the heritage of the site, at the same time as preserving its future for generations to come.
We realized how important these core values of sustainability and social value were to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), and have been working closely with a diverse team of landscapers and contractors to keep them front of mind as we managed the construction of the new 154-acre-gardens.
The first phase included the restoration of the 11-acre Weston Walled Garden – one of the original features of the historic grounds, designed to protect plants from the cold and rain - as well as the new Welcome Building, which alongside the arrivals hall features an events space, community classrooms, offices, café, shop and plant centre.
A commitment to sustainability has been built into the construction of the new garden. The Welcome Building will collect rainwater to supply the buildings’ toilets, a borehole aquifer below the site will be used to irrigate the walled garden, a ground source heat pump will provide an energy source for underfloor heating and a biomass boiler will be installed to heat the garden glasshouses.
The RHS has also placed a strong emphasis on providing wider social and economic benefits to the community. The garden will create more than 140 jobs by 2029, as well as apprenticeships, partnerships with local schools, colleges and universities, community gardening projects and opportunities for community volunteers to develop a wide range of skills. Further benefits for the local economy have come from Arcadis’ commitment to employing local consultants and contractors on the project.
This will be the first new RHS garden in 17 years and the fifth RHS garden in the UK. Alongside existing gardens in Surrey, Essex, Devon and Yorkshire, RHS Garden Bridgewater will bring a truly world-class garden within easy reach of people in and around the North West, becoming a major tourist attraction for the region.