Botanic Garden gets ready to grow
(12 August 2005)
One of the North of England’s premier gardens and home to hundreds of species from all corners of the globe is set for a makeover as part of a £110,000 project designed to attract more visitors.
Durham University Botanic Garden, which receives up to 80,000 visitors every year, has been awarded the grant by the County Durham Environmental Trust (CDENT) as part of a project to improve public access.
The 18-acre garden is one of the region’s most interesting public gardens and houses a range of exotic collections from Japan, South Africa, Australia, the Himalayas and the tropics to name but a few.
With CDENT’s support, access to the garden will be improved through the development of a new gateway and footpath linking the site with Durham County Council’s park-and-ride scheme from South Road to the town centre.
Besides upgrading access to and from the garden, several footpaths within the garden will also be improved and a covered kiosk developed at the entrance where visitors can purchase tickets.
Work has begun on the site and is due to be completed by the end of September 2005.
“We want more people to have an opportunity to enjoy and learn about the garden,” explains Liesl Elder, Director of Development and Communications at Durham University. “It’s a fabulous resource and this will make it easier for people to enjoy and explore what’s on offer.
“In the past, access was limited to Hollingside Lane, which wasn’t very suitable for large groups as parking was limited. Now that the garden will be linked to the park-and-ride scheme, it’s much better for school groups and users of wheelchairs.”
The CDENT support was warmly welcomed on behalf of the Friends of the Botanic Garden by their President, Lady Anne Calman. She said: "This is a wonderful step forward that recognises the importance of the Garden and the unique contribution it makes, not only to the University, but to all Durham residents and visitors to the city."
John Wearmouth, CDENT chairman, added: “Durham’s Botanic Garden is not as well known as it deserves to be and we hope our grant will enable more visitors to enjoy the experience.
“We’re always keen to support projects which care for the environment, particularly ones which do it in such an innovative and educational way as this.”
CDENT was formed over eight years ago and has allocated funds of £8.5 million – received under the government’s Landfill Tax Credit Scheme – to a host of projects that benefit the local environment and the people who live, work and visit County Durham, Darlington, Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland.
Information on projects in the CDENT strategy of operation and other schemes funded by CDENT, under the Landfill Tax Scheme can be viewed on the website at www.cdent.co.uk