Salford RHS Bridgewater

After being delayed over a year ago due to the pandemic, Salford’s RHS Bridgewater Garden is set to open to the public for the very first time next week as restrictions ease across the UK.

With more and more industries and businesses opening up across the country as the days go by, Salford residents will soon be able to visit the Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) most ambitious project, the Bridgewater garden located in Worsley, after its opening was postponed last April.

The Bridgewater, named after the Bridgewater Canal in Salford, sits on the former estate of Worsley New Hall and will cover 154-acres of land.

The Bridgewater is currently the setting for the latest BBC docu-series ‘The Great Northern Garden Build’ (credit: RHS Press Offices)

It is set to be the fifth RHS garden in the country and largest European project the society has ever taken on, with the garden featuring a Welcome Building, its very own forest and nature reserve and education centres across its various areas.

Sue Briggs, the Director General of the RHS, explained that the project has been a long time coming, she said:

“RHS Garden Bridgewater is the result of years of hard work by a dream team of designers, gardeners, contractors and many, many others and we are all enormously proud of what we have created.”

Briggs went on to thank Salford City Council for their continued involvement and support in the project as well as patrons from all over the globe who have been flooding the garden with charitable donations, including a generous £1.8 million investment from Japanese philanthropist  Dr Lee Kai Hung.

“Together with our partners and donors, including Salford City Council and The Peel Group, we are thrilled to finally be able to celebrate this monumental achievement on 18 May.”

Salford City Council themselves donated a substantial £19 million to the project in the hopes that their investment would help to rejuvenate the local economy by bringing more tourism and trade into Worsley.

Tom Stannard, Salford City Council’s Chief Executive, said that:

“For every single pound we invest in this we will see several pounds come back into our city. In the last 20 years, Salford has transformed its economy and nurtured major investment projects which have created thousands of new jobs, businesses and homes and put the city on the national and international map.

“In much the same way as its namesake the Bridgewater Canal put Salford on the map in 1761, we expect RHS Garden Bridgewater to do the same in the modern day.”

The initial proposal drawing of what Tom Stuart-Smith’s Walled Garden would look like (credit: RHS Press Offices)

From next Tuesday, visitors will be able to explore several huge areas within the garden itself, including the 11-acre Weston Walled Garden, which is regarded as the gardens “jewel in the crown”.

According to the RHS themselves, the Weston Walled Garden will be one of the largest publicly accessible working walled gardens in the UK and it will be home to Paradise Garden, a Mediterranean-inspired garden which was designed by Tom Stuart-Smith.

The garden is also home to dedicated community spaces, designed by former Chelsea Flower Show winners, with the aim being that Garden Bridgewater will inspire those across all generations to get involved with gardening and develop an interest in the local eco-system.

Along with this, more than a quarter of a million plants have gone into the ground ahead of the grand opening next week, representing a huge boost for biodiversity, as well as much cleaner and fresher air, in the area.

Richard Green, Head of the RHS Bridgewater stated that this garden will provide a new lease of life for Salford and that this truly unique garden would not have come into being without the support of Salford’s community and the 700 plus volunteers that have stepped in to help.

“This collaborative approach is what has made RHS Bridgewater such a unique and special project, and we can’t wait to open the gates and share it with everyone.”

The RHS Bridgewater will open next Tuesday and you can book tickets to visit it here.

(Image credit: RHS Press Office)

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