Yorkshire Sculpture Park receives £500k grant to begin secret garden restoration

A secret garden in one of the UK's most visited parks is to be thrown open to visitors for the first time, after a £500,000 grant award.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park is to restore and improve areas of the surrounding Bretton Estate that have never been open to the public before. The work was made possible thanks to support from Wakefield Council and the £500,000 grant from Natural England.

The Landscape Agency drew up a historic plan of the 18th century design and set out a framework for conservation and future management of the estate.

"For the very first time this plan was able to encompass the whole 200ha Bretton Estate, which is now under the sculpture park's management," said the practice.

Work will include the restoration of 43ha of woodland nature reserve around two large lakes, historic footpaths, bridges, views, follies, a Greek-style summer house, an obelisk, stepping stones and a shell-like grotto.

The park management is intending to open historic vistas and reconnect the main house with its surroundings, said Landscape Agency managing director Patrick James. "It will open up a large area of the park the public has not seen before. The project will also reconnect areas of this landscape for the first time in more than 70 years."

Yorkshire Sculpture Park executive director Peter Murray added: "This project will reveal a whole new area of the park for our visitors to enjoy."

Margaret Nieke, Natural England's historic environment adviser, said: "The work we are doing will breathe new life into some wonderful historic features."

Restored elements of the park, which draws around 300,000 visitors a year, are due to open to the public in the summer of 2011.

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