Garden archives provide detail for £1.3m parkland renovation

A landscape created in the 18th century from farmland is being restored with a £1.3m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Historic park The Leasowes in Dudley, West Midlands - which was created by William Shenstone between 1743 and 1763 - will benefit from extensive research into how the garden used to look.

Despite a lack of original drawings, the Virgil's Grove section of the Grade I-registered park will be given a new lease of life.

With its tree-covered valleys and views down to pools, flowing streams and cascades, Virgil's Grove epitomised Shenstone's philosophy of gardening.

Staff from Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council have been researching the site using archive material, including Shenstone's own paintings and archaeological investigations, in order to match the restoration plans to the original design of the Grove.

The council's head of economic regeneration, Rupert Dugdale, said: "This project is very challenging and complex as we are trying to recreate an 18th-century landscape to 21st-century standards."

The work is due to be completed by February 2009.

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