New additions for Astley’s Walled Garden

24 September 2015

THE WALLED Garden in Chorley’s Astley Park is set for two new additions after plans were approved to install a green stage for live performances and a glass house to entice even more people to visit.

Chorley Council is looking to develop Astley’s picturesque Walled Garden to improve the offer to visitors and provide a dedicated space for small outdoor concerts and theatrical productions.

The green stage will be designed to blend into its surroundings while providing an elevated platform for acts and performers.

On the far side of the Walled Garden, the glass house, which is subject to funding, will act as a visitor experience and information centre, enabling people to learn more about the history of the site and the many fruit and vegetables that are grown there by the Astley Walled Gardeners.

It will be reminiscent of the glass houses that used to be located on the site over 10 years ago and will be located against the south facing wall on the northern side of the Walled Garden.

Councillor Bev Murray  who oversees the Astley complex said: “Over the last few years, Astley Hall, Coach House and Park has undergone a complete evolution with the council determined to preserve and reinstate as many original features and attractions as possible while also adding to the overall visitor offer.

“The Walled Garden is a beautiful space that is used by so many people for different purposes and we want to build on that. 

“This summer alone, over 600 people watched our Theatre in the Park performances and introducing a stage will enable us to create even more memorable performances and events.

“Many people still remember the glass or green houses that used to be in the Walled Garden and it is important that we continue to recognise the history of the site. 

“The Astley Walled Gardeners do a fantastic job in growing some amazing food and plants but the glass house will enable them to do even more and will provide more opportunities for visitors to get involved in the experience.

“With other recent renovations and additions such as the transformation of Astley Farmhouse into a history research and exhibition area, the opening of the destination play area, the conservation of Astley Hall and the Chorley Remembers Experience in the Coach House, the Astley complex has so much to offer and we hope it will attract even more people to the area.”

The transformation of Astley Park began nearly ten years ago when Chorley Council secured Heritage Lottery funding to renovate the park and its facilities.

Since then the original Coach House, stable block and courtyard has undergone a complete refurbishment, providing a new café, exhibition, gallery space and education room.  A pavilion has been built at the other end of the park providing a new Pets Corner and kiosk.

Three new play areas have been installed including the specialist Royalists and Roundheads themed destination play area.  The sensory garden has had a complete overhaul, dedicated trails have been added through the woods, the cenotaph and memorial arch have been refurbished and there is an ongoing programme to improve the ecology of the River Chor.

Furthermore, Astley Hall is now attracting some high profile exhibitions with the noted children’s illustrator, Axel Scheffler, exhibiting his work in the Hall’s art gallery from Sunday 20 September and the park continues to host some high profile events including Picnic in the Park, the Chorley Flower Show and Astley Illuminated.

“The Astley Complex recently won another Trip Advisor excellence award for continually getting excellent reviews from visitors.  We want that to continue and we want people to enjoy this magnificent attraction for many years to come, so it important that we continue to invest in and develop this much-loved attraction”, added Coun Murray.

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