Lottery boost for Leeds’s “one-of-a-kind” small garden

York Gate. Picture by John Whitaker.
York Gate. Picture by John Whitaker.
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A permanent exhibition for visitors to one of the world’s best small gardens, in Leeds, is to be created after volunteers received a share of £250,000 in lottery funding devoted to heritage projects in the region.

York Gate, described as a “hidden gem” despite being just one acre in area, was created in the second half of the 20th century and laid out as a number of garden ‘rooms’ by the Spencer family that lived in the house.

One of the sites in Sheffield that will benefit from lottery funding

One of the sites in Sheffield that will benefit from lottery funding

Perennial, formerly The Gardeners’ Royal Benevolent Society, has now received a £84,200 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund for a volunteer-led project to research the garden’s history and create a permanent exhibition for visitors.

It is part of a drive to increase public awareness and help sustain the garden, credited as the only one of its type in the north of England.

More than a quarter of a million pounds from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) will allow people across Yorkshire to unearth the fascinating and surprising range of undiscovered natural heritage in the county.

After being given more than a quarter of a million pounds by the Heritage Lottery Fund, projects in Sheffield, Leeds, York and Ryedale will create new habitats, improve facilities for wildlife watchers and “explore the untold stories behind a local park and gardens”.

Cropton Forest, near Pickering, which will get a funding boost

Cropton Forest, near Pickering, which will get a funding boost

Fiona Spiers, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “These four latest projects vary in size and location but what they all have in common is a celebration of the region’s wealth of beautiful parks, gardens and wildlife sites.

“It’s thanks to National Lottery players that we can continue to raise awareness of such biodiversity and help local people protect it for future generations.”

Richard Capewell, Chief Executive of Perennial, said: “This award is a tremendous help in realising our long term ambition to preserve this wonderful garden, involving the community and volunteers, and capturing the history of the creation of this exceptional space.

In other projects funded by the HLF, the Froglife Trust has been granted £92,700 to improve seven heathland sites around Sheffield.

Meanwood Park

Meanwood Park

Seven existing ponds will be restored and four new ponds created, more than six hectares of heathland will be restored and two hectares of new heathland created, securing habitats for amphibians and reptiles among other species.

Volunteers will be recruited and trained in a range of skills and support groups formed for three sites that currently don’t have them.

Kathy Wormald, Chief Executive of the Froglife Trust, said: “Froglife is delighted that HLF is supporting the Sheffield Living Water project. This project is a perfect combination of enriching our natural environment and educating younger generations about the importance of wildlife in an engaging and fun manner”.

Leeds-based organisation A Quiet Word will use a £9,800 grant from the HLF to train volunteers so they can interview older members of the community and gather their memories of Meanwood Park.

And the Forestry Commission Yorkshire Forest District has received a £76,100 grant to replace the dilapidated wildlife hide in Cropton Forest, near Pickering in North Yorkshire, giving a wider range of people the opportunity to view, and discover more, about forest species.

The new hide will be accessible to wheelchairs, it will be insulated to prevent noise from enthusiastic children from disturbing nearby birds and animals, and glazed to reduce disturbance from lights, movement and camera flash.

Alan Eves, from the Forestry Commission, said: “We are delighted that funding for this project has been approved.

“This new purpose built facility will enable more people to get up really close to wildlife in the forest and will support Jane Payne and the Friends of Dalby Forest with their plans to host wildlife watching events with a range of community groups”.