A CHARITY-OWNED stately home is looking for volunteers – to restore its gardens to their former glory.
Large areas of the once grand gardens of Beechwood, Edgerton , have become overgrown and inaccessible.
Now the home, run by charity Leonard Cheshire Disability, is looking for volunteers to carry out a three-year project to restore the grounds.
Beechwood opens to the public on July 7 (2pm to 4pm) to encourage volunteers to join the charity’s efforts.
The home, on Bryan Road, was built around 1860 as a grand residence for Huddersfield business owners.
The villa, which now houses 26 disabled adults, had gardens which were used for high society parties.
Records of wedding receptions held in Beechwood’s ground during the 1890s recall hundreds of guests before a large, heated greenhouse was added around 1911.
The home was bought by Leonard Cheshire in 1966 and the grounds were maintained by up to 25 volunteers at once.
But over the past 26 years the condition of Beechwood’s gardens has deteriorated as volunteer numbers depleted.
And while the home’s gardener manages to maintain the lawns and flowerbeds , much of the garden is now inaccessible to Beechwood residents.
Now Beechwood staff are appealing for volunteers to help with a £30,000, three-stage project to re-open and improve the villa’s gardens.
The project, part funded by Rockwood Garden Centre, Grange Moor , will firstly restore the pond, which is currently full of weeds, and its water feature.
After that, paths in the side garden will be re-levelled for wheelchair access and a boules pitch, barbecue area and bird and bat boxes will be installed.
In the final 12 months, raised vegetable patches will be installed next to the sensory garden to encourage residents to start growing their own vegetables and plants.
Beechwood activities and fundraising co-ordinator, Davinia Simpson, said: “It will make a huge difference for our residents to be able to get out and around the gardens. At the moment we’ve had to block the paths off.
“In the future we’ll be able to have more outdoor social events.”
Overgrown gardens and ponds may be bad news for Beechwood’s residents but it’s good news for wildlife.
That’s why the charity is appealing for naturalists, amateur and professional, to survey the grounds and find out what desirable species the gardens have acquired.
Ms Simpson added: “It’s not something where we can just get volunteers in to cut back the overgrowth, so we need experts to find out what’s there. There may be some important habitats in there.”
If you’d like to help email:
email@example.com or call: 01484 429626.