For this month’s walk we arranged to have someone from The Groundwork Trust come to talk to us about the development of Rivington Terraced Gardens. Lottery funding of £3.6 million is available in stages to develop parts of the former Leverhulme Estate. Helen and Andrew came along and met up with our group at the Great House Barn (lower barn).
The day was cool and cloudy as we set off up towards the terraced gardens and “the ravine” as it is referred to locally. This is a high and rocky waterfall passing under several bridges on its way down the side of the hill. It is entirely man made and was the vision of Lord Lever and his landscape designer Thomas Mawson. They worked together on the Rivington estate between 1905 and 1922. The ravine was cut from the original moor by a veritable army of Irish labourers who used high explosives to blast away the original rock and transport it away using a railway that was created just for this task.
Walking on up to the Japanese gardens we came to the pond where a family of 11 ducklings with mum were scooting around and squabbling over pieces of apple we threw in. The pond originally had two pagodas and a reflecting pool. The plan is to drain the pond and refurbish the banks before rebuilding the pagodas and filling the pond again. Many of the original trees are present including a golden yew and white flowering cherry tree.
Onward and up to the site of the tennis lawn, great lawn and Italian Lake. These areas have recently been cleared of undergrowth to reveal the features. Again the intention is to refurbish the lawns so events can be held there from time to time. Also to repair and refill the lake as a swimming venue. Lord Lever apparently liked to swim in it when it was first created.
Then to the site of “Roynton”, the house where Lord and Lady Lever entertained and lived from time to time. It was burnt down by a suffragette, Edith Rigby of Preston, in 1911 but much of the foundation and some flooring and walkways remain. This will be tidied up to give an impression of the grandeur in its day. Finally up to the Pigeon Tower which was built for Lady Lever to play music and spend time sewing. It will be refurbished and opened for limited public access.
After a thoroughly entertaining and interesting 3 hours of history and background discussion we all walked back down to the Rivington Bowling Club for lunch where we were able to sit outside in the sunshine. Vic
Next walk: Tuesday 13th June – The Road To Rivington. A walk with Eddie and Peter. Meet at St. Katharine’s at 9:30 to drive to Rivington Bowling Club, Horrobin Lane, Rivington, PR6 9EX to start walking at 10. Leader Eddie 07779585190
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