Chiswick House & Gardens has shown off plans to restore an overgrown 17th century walled garden into a fruit garden, and develop underused ‘back of house’ areas to create new facilities for the local community.

Cedar Yards, a new creative and community campus at the heart of Chiswick House & Gardens, will support the Trust’s volunteering and community activities. The Creative Campus will convert the currently underused historic back sheds and stables to create affordable workspaces for up to a hundred local artists and craftspeople.

These will offer a new source of income for the Trust, alongside a programme for schools and new spaces for community hire.

Sketch of the new Learning Hub (c) Chiswick House and Gardens Trust

A third of the project cost has been raised, underpinned by initial funding provided by Hounslow vouncil, through its recent Strategic Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) grants, as well as funds from the Thriving Communities and Creative Enterprise Zone Grants obtained last year. The rest of the funds are being raised from charitable and private sources.

The funding will support the creation of a new Learning Hub, an indoor space enabling horticultural and creative learning activities for 7000+ participants annually, alongside office and social space for staff, gardeners, and volunteers. An external spill out space will bring historic horticultural working areas back into use as a new outdoor learning and activity space.

They will also transform a currently unused and overgrown late 17th century ‘secret’ walled garden to provide a new garden for local groups, schools, and families to participate in horticulture-themed activities throughout the year.

The walled garden is hidden in a corner of the estate and is a remaining part of Sir Stephen Fox’s (c.1682), and later Lord Wilmington’s, gardens at Chiswick. At some point, someone locked the door to the garden, and until recently, no one had been inside.

As part of the plans, the historic wall around the Fruit Garden will be reinstated and new planting will increase biodiversity, whilst referencing its historic use.

The overgrown garden in May 2023 (c) ianVisits

As the birthplace of the English Landscape movement, Grade-I listed Chiswick House & Gardens is internationally recognised as significant in architectural and garden history. The proposals have been submitted to London Borough of Hounslow’s Planning Department and the Trust says it hopes to obtain planning permission by early summer.


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