Work has started this week on an exciting new visitor attraction for Chorley’s Astley Park.
A Victorian-style greenhouse is being built in the Walled Garden behind the historic hall to create a more authentic visitor experience of the Walled Garden.
The £100,000 project, which will be unveiled to the public at the Chorley Flower Show on Saturday and Sunday 30 and 31 July, will also provide an educational resource for schools to use, and will give the opportunity for more produce to be grown over a longer season.
Chorley Council chief executive Gary Hall said: “This glasshouse was one of the projects that came out of the public consultation we did on Astley 2020, our five-year development plan to attract more visitors to the Astley complex.
“The Walled Garden is looked after and maintained by the Astley Walled Gardeners, a dedicated group of volunteers and this glasshouse was one of their aspirations.
“It means they’ll be able to grow a much wider range of produce, over a much longer season, and grow the types of produce that were grown during the Hall’s heyday.
“Just as importantly it can be used by schools as an educational resource and it will add to the already fantastic visitor experience that Astley offers.”
The project, due to be completed by the end of June to allow four weeks for fitting out prior to its official opening, also includes paths to ensure access for all linking in with the existing path network. Internal furniture and fittings will include the installation of blinds, staging heating and internal water storage harvested from the roof. A £14,000 grant from the Lancashire Environmental Fund will provide internal landscaping, heating, staging and some exotic specimen plants to provide an immediate impact.
The new attraction will be open to the public daily and will be promoted as an educational resource for use by local schools and community groups.
Barry Sharples from Astley Walled Gardeners said: “This is a very exciting project that we’re looking forward to getting involved in. We don’t currently have any covered space in the Walled Garden so this will complement what we do by providing much needed indoor space which will not only extend the growing season, but also mean we can grow a wider range and diversity of plants.”
Mr Hall added: “It does mean that whilst the work is ongoing, there will be limited access to the Walled Garden, but once it’s complete we will have a fantastic new facility for people to enjoy all year round and for many years to come!”