Garden restoration draws to a close

Decade of restoration work nears end as park set to reopen.

Visitors will soon be able to admire 6.5ha of formal gardens and walks as a once-controversial restoration project at Cherkley Court comes to an end. Working with contractors NP Wright and Elite Landscapes, garden designer Simon Johnson has spent nearly a decade restoring the grounds of the mansion near Leatherhead, Surrey. When Johnson first told planners of his aims, he was met with disbelief. He said: “It was controversial. A businessman had once tried to get permission to build a golf course on it. So when we said we would like to put it back to how it was, with wild flowers and sheep in the woodland, they thought we had an ulterior motive. They’ve since apologised.” The garden’s stone terraces, pavilions, stone grotto, Italianate garden, wild flower meadows, walnut orchard and woodland walks have all been renovated. As the Beaverbrook Foundation-funded project nears completion, the newly landscaped gardens will be open to visitors from 1 April.

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