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Re-Discovering Walmer’s Lost Pleasure Grounds

In a £2.3m project now completed at Walmer Castle, gardens begun by William Pitt the Younger, assisted by his niece Lady Hester Stanhope, have been revived and reunited.
 
The wild flower meadow known as the Paddock and the planted former chalk quarry called the Glen were once part of a delightful 19th-century garden landscape that nature, over time, partially reclaimed such that both were inaccessible.
 
Had this deterioration continued, an important element of William Pitt’s legacy and a major part of Walmer Castle’s evolution from coastal fort to stately home would have become undetectable, and the story of the pleasure grounds disconnected from the story of the castle. Urgent intervention was needed, and thanks to the support English Heritage  received, it became possible to halt the deterioration and revive this wonderful historic landscape.
 
In addition to the rejuvenation of the historic pleasure grounds, the project afforded an excellent opportunity to improve visitor facilities and a summary of the work undertaken is detailed below.
 
Paths throughout the woodland have been restored according to historic plans, the natural flora, fauna and habitats have been reclaimed, vulnerable and distinct chalk grassland fauna and flora have been managed in the meadow.
 
A new Glasshouse Café has been created, allowing visitors to enjoy refreshments in the beautiful setting of the Kitchen Garden. New tactile interpretation panels have been installed and a free family trail leaflet,  updated multimedia guide, volunteer led tours and new toilet facilities are all now available.
 
To find out more about the project and the history of Walmer’s Gardens visit the website