Scarborough clifftop gardens and Jane Austen’s maze win the lottery

South Cliff Gardens in Scarborough, one of six parks sharing 13.8 million in National Lottery funding for renovation works.
South Cliff Gardens in Scarborough, one of six parks sharing 13.8 million in National Lottery funding for renovation works.
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Scarborough’s South Cliff Gardens, perched above the south bay, are among six parks that will share in £13.8m of lottery funding, it will be announced today.

The list also includes the UK’s only surviving Georgian pleasure gardens, which are in Bath and were beloved by the young Jane Austen.

South Cliff Gardens in Scarborough, one of six parks sharing 13.8 million in National Lottery funding for renovation works.

South Cliff Gardens in Scarborough, one of six parks sharing 13.8 million in National Lottery funding for renovation works.

The landscaped cliffs of Scarborough, which are on the Heritage at Risk register and include the Spa Gardens, Prince of Wales Gardens, the Rose Garden, Holbeck Gardens, Shuttleworth Gardens and the Italian Gardens, will get £4.66m to reverse their decline.

The ‘Italian steps’ designed by Sir Joseph Paxton, the clock tower, railings, fencing and footpaths will be restored, while planting and habitats for wildlife will be improved and a new family hub area created.

A lottery bid was launched in 2016, when Scarborough Council said the gardens were gardens were in a “fragile condition”.

In the west country of Miss Austen’s youth, Sydney Gardens had a maze which afforded the opportunity to socialise with minimal supervision and even find a potential partner.

South Cliff Gardens in Scarborough, one of six parks sharing 13.8 million in National Lottery funding for renovation works.

South Cliff Gardens in Scarborough, one of six parks sharing 13.8 million in National Lottery funding for renovation works.

Just before she moved within sight of them in 1801, she wrote: “It would be very pleasant to be near Sydney Gardens. We might go to the Labyrinth every day.”.

The Grade II listed park has fallen into decline but £2.74m of funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund will help restore it, the organisations said.

Ros Kerslake, Heritage Lottery Fund’s chief executive, said: “The health and wellbeing benefits of local green spaces were well known in Jane Austen’s time and remain true today.

“Over £950m of National Lottery money has been invested in regenerating public parks and urban green spaces so far and they remain a priority.”