Lowther Castle garden revamp to retain romance

Experience gained at the Lost Gardens of Heligan will assist Land Use Consultants (LUC) in creating a plan to renovate the landscape at the ruined Lowther Castle.

The firm's principal Dominic Cole, who also masterplanned the Eden Project, told HW that going to the abandoned gardens at the grade II* listed site had an "element of discovery".

LUC will develop ideas for the conservation of the 17th century gardens at the Cumbrian site over the next three months, explained Cole, having been appointed land-scape architect for the project after a year-long tender process.

The company will work closely with The Landscape Agency and Dan Pearson Studio, as well as architect Feilden Clegg Bradley, all of whom have already been involved in the scheme.

A masterplan vision for the site was produced by Dan Pearson last year. This aimed to safeguard the castle ruins and "reveal, repair and enhance" the lost gardens, rather than restoring them.

Cole explained: "There is an idea of holding Lowther in a romantic aspic. The garden is overgrown with forestry trees so it is one of those places where if you go on your own or with a couple of people there is an element of discovery."

But he added: "As soon as there are 20 people, you lose that and it is just walking down a tunnel of Sitka spruce or Rhododendron. I had been through that at the Lost Gardens of Heligan and didn't want it again."

Cole said he hopes that despite plans to attract 160,000 visitors a year to the site his renovation will retain the romantic feel.

Last year, the Northwest Regional Development Agency approved £9m funding for the scheme.

"We will be trying to work with a light hand," added Cole. "It is right up my street and I feel confident that it is a project I can do."

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