A forgotten Leyland oasis will open to the public for the first time after getting a £100,000 cash boost.
Work has started to transform the historic Walled Garden in Worden Park into a living museum for the community.
Exciting proposals have been drawn up to bring the garden back to life after decades of it being out-of-bounds to park visitors.
The restoration of the garden, which dates back to the 18th century and was originally part of the Worden Park stately home of the Farington family, will be undertaken by the Brothers of Charity.
Leading the project, Brothers of Charity services manager Ann Jones said: “This idea has been in the works for the last four years, and we’ve been working hard to secure funding and move things forward.
“We also run Pets’ Corner in Astley Park in Chorley, and we know that this sort of community facility is really popular and successful.
“When the opportunity arose to create something for the Walled Garden in Leyland, we thought it was a fantastic chance to bring the area back to life.”
Spaces where people can relax, picnic and learn about the history of the site will be created, and fruit trees and other plants will be planted to establish a garden ‘kitchen’.
Areas will also be provided in the potting sheds to display local talents and crafts, including drama productions and horticultural competitions.
Some of the restoration will be undertaken through young people’s charities such as The Prince’s Trust and Preston Vocational Centre, providing skills development and qualification opportunities for disadvantaged and unemployed young people.
Ann added: “This scheme will create an additional historical visitor attraction in Worden Park which can be used on a number of levels.
“Groups and organisations will be involved in maintaining the garden and developing programmes.
“It will be open throughout the year and people will be able to watch how it changes through the seasons.
“It is great to see work starting – we cannot wait to see the completed garden.”
Over the past 15 years, South Ribble Council has undertaken a number of surveys on services in Worden Park and these consultations supported the public desire for the restoration of the walled garden as a community space.
The Leyland Historical Society and the South Ribble Partnership are also backing the scheme, and The Veolia Environmental Trust has awarded the £100,000 grant through the Landfill Communities Fund. The Brothers of Charity currently runs the garden as a site for horticultural activities for people with learning difficulties.
The completed garden will also offer opportunities for volunteering, and work is expected to finish within 12 months.