Elizabethan moats restored at Lyveden

Lyveden New Bield's Elizabethan moats being restored
Lyveden New Bield's Elizabethan moats being restored

A three-month project to restore the Elizabethan moats at Lyveden has been completed.

The garden at Lyveden, which is a National Trust property, is one of the oldest in England, created by Sir Thomas Tresham between 1595 and his death in 1605.

For centuries the garden lay undiscovered and abandoned following the family involvement in the Gunpowder Plot.

But after many years of work to clear years of scrub, the restoration of the moats is the latest project to reveal the historic garden.

The project was carried out by the National Trust and supported by WREN Recycling Group and Natural England.

Property manager Mark Bradshaw said: “Formal moats were an essential part of Elizabethan gardens, created to show off the designer’s ingenuity, to offer fun for boats and provide food for the table.

“Archaeology of the moats during the restoration work has uncovered evidence of Elizabethan plants and the original shape of the moats dug 400 years ago with wooden spades and buckets.

“It is tremendous to once again appreciate the full scale of the moated garden.”

The garden at Lyveden extends over five hectares and includes the intriguing garden lodge, known as Lyveden New Bield.

The lodge formed just the end point of a garden which is more than half a mile in length.

Over recent years, the orchards have been re-created with more than 300 trees.

The original earthworks of terraces and viewing mounts have also been uncovered and visitors today can explore the grounds with an audio tour or volunteer-led tours every Saturday and Sunday from May.

Mr Bradshaw added: “The £50,000 project would not have been possible without funding support of WREN and Natural England.

“As a charity the National Trust is extremely grateful for support on projects which have such a direct benefit to special places like Lyveden.”

WREN awards grants to environmental and heritage projects across the UK and has supported more than 5,500 projects since 1988.

Natural England supported the project as part of a 10-year Environmental Stewardship project to enhance the historic importance of Lyveden and the surrounding landscape.

Lyveden is open to the public at weekends from February and open daily from May until October.

For more information about the project contact Mark Bradshaw at mark.bradshaw@nationaltrust.org.uk or call 07860 734717.