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A Victorian garden reborn

During the 20th century the Garden gradually fell into decline, and by the 1970s parts had become overgrown. Buildings and garden ornaments had been vandalised and were in poor repair.  People were becoming concerned for the future of the much-loved garden.

John Bosworth at Uttlesford District Council was involved in getting the Hedge Maze replanted in 1984.  The photo below shows John with members of the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers, who helped clear the site of the Maze for replanting.

Restoration work at Bridge End Garden

By the mid-1990s it was clear that much more was needed to preserve the site for future generations. Local groups came together and in 1998 The Friends of Bridge End Gardens held an initial meeting to support the restoration of the Garden and further its development. It became a registered charity in 2000.

John Bosworth in Bridge End Garden

John Bosworth (pictured above) championed the restoration work. The Council pledged funds, salaries and equipment and embarked on an extensive fund-raising programme. Landscape Architects Liz Lake Associates created a restoration and management report based on the 1877 plan of the Garden.

The Dutch Garden in 2003 and in 2012

Large-scale restoration, including the Dutch Garden, took place between 2003 and 2005.  This was made possible by major grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Linbury Trust, with other generous donations and community support. 

The Wilderness in 2003 and during restoration

Volunteers planting up the Long Border and at work

in the Rose Garden

The Walled Garden pre-restoration

In 2007-2008 the Walled Garden (above) was restored.  Much of the preparation work was carried out in-house by gardeners, local pupils and volunteers, bringing a sense of inclusion and community spirit to the project.

Volunteers continue to help with the upkeep and development of the Garden today.  The construction of the Visitor Centre was a major project, a joint venture between Saffron Walden Town Council and The Friends of Bridge End Gardens, completed in September 2015.


The toilet block which was converted into the Visitor Centre

The former toilet (above) that was converted into a fabulous Visitor Centre (below)

The Visitor Centre

With thanks to Uttlesford District Council and Historic England for supplying some of the images on this page.

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