Dudley scheme to restore an 18th century garden layout

Listed gardens under subject of long-term restoration

The Leasowes landscaped gardens near Dudley, in the West Midlands, has a Graded I listing from English Heritage and is the subject of a long-term restoration project. Eighteenth-century poet William Shenstone created the garden from arable farmland and, unlike many others of his time, he chose not to make it formal and geometric. In 1997, the Heritage Lottery Fund awarded £1.3 million towards restoration of the garden. Further funding came from Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council. It is an ongoing project with some work starting back in 1999 when Beechwood Pool in Virgil’s Grove was restored and the area around it was replanted. Last year, intensive archaeological investigations were carried out to discover the structure of the Leasowes Lane Dam and cascade, and the lower end of the grove. Much of the Leasowes has been designated a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation. As many of the plants would struggle if disturbed a survey was carried out and plants, bulbs, rhizomes and ferns are being translocated. A seed collection has also been set up. The main restoration starts this summer and is expected to finish next year.

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