Worksop students and apprentices are hoping to return walled garden at Thoresby Estate to its 'former glory'

The project is a collaboration with North Notts College and the Thoresby estate
The project is a collaboration with North Notts College and the Thoresby estate

Students and staff from North Notts College have been celebrating their partnership with Thoresby Estate at the launch of their project to restore the Estate’s five acre Victorian walled garden.

Attended by Thoresby Estate, Notts County Council and students and staff from North Notts College, the event was hosted by Thoresby Estate and included a guided tour of the Victorian walled garden and an opportunity to hear from those involved.

With the help of North Notts College construction students, the Walled Garden Project will revitalise the Estate’s 5-acre Victorian walled garden. North Notts College students aim to restore the central fountain, surrounding walls, walkways and steps.

There are also plans to fit the imposing main gateway with an ironwork design inspired by the local area’s heritage.

The scope of the project is to last 10 to 15 years and will provide new prospects for Thoresby Estate and real life hands on experience for the North Notts College students involved.

North Notts College construction apprentices will also have the opportunity to gain and apply valuable industry relevant knowledge and skills in restoring the site to its former glory.

Modern building techniques will be blended with more traditional heritage skills by the construction students to produce an effective and holistic approach to work onsite.

Several subject areas across North Notts College will have the opportunity to help restore different sections of the five acre garden over the project’s full timeline.

Martin Lane, ​North Notts College construction subject area team leader, has been acting as a project coordinator for the partnership between the college and Thoresby Estate.

Martin said: “We aim to provide our students with brilliant hands-on experience.

"To be involved with every aspect of restoring this historic piece of the local area’s heritage is a fantastic opportunity; this will help them build the skillsets in demand by employers across the country.

“I’m very proud that we’re in a long-term partnership with such a treasured organisation as Thoresby Estate.”

Owned by the Pierrepont family since 1633, Thoresby Park is steeped in a rich history.

The estate has more than 4,000 acres of listed parkland including the Grade II Thoresby courtyard, the Roundhouse, Thoresby Hall Hotel and the fiive acre walled garden.

Created in Victorian times, the garden grew exotic fruit housed in vineries and a conservatory. This area was accessed by carefully-constructed small sets of steps lining a gentle slope toward the back of the garden.

The geometrically symmetrical garden was entered through the existing large gateways in the imposing brick wall perimeter. The garden also previously included four green spaces, divided by walkways and centred by an elegant fountain.

Steve Cole who is a Level 1 Diploma in Bricklaying student has begun work on excavating the Victorian fountain.

Steve said: “I enjoy everything about being part of this project. Working on digging out the Victorian fountain is exciting; you don’t know what treasures you may find.

“This whole project is good work experience for me and looks great on my CV.”

Angela ​Adams, North Notts College assistant principal, said: “We are really pleased to have formed this partnership with Thoresby Estate to both renovate this impressive Victorian Walled Garden, a treasure within our local community, and to provide our students with hands-on experience taking key skills learnt in the workshop and applying this to real-life scenarios.”

Thoresby Estate Executive Director Harvey Glenn has been working closely with Martin Lane to help facilitate student involvement in the Estate’s renovation project.

Harvey said: “Owned by the Pierrepont family since 1633, Thoresby Park is steeped in a rich history. The Estate has over 4,000 acres of listed parkland including the Grade II Thoresby courtyard, the Roundhouse and the 5-acre walled garden.

“Created in Victorian times, the garden grew exotic fruit housed in vineries and a conservatory. It previously included four green spaces, divided by walkways and centred by an elegant fountain.

“As part of our drive to engage with our local communities, we approached North Notts College. We appreciate the students here can help us realise our ambitious aims by applying their useful skills to restoring this site to its’ former prestige.

“We look forward to seeing all the exciting developments take shape and to see how more of the subjects from the college get involved in the future.”

To find out more about the Walled Garden Project visit www.nnc.ac.uk/thoresby/ or to learn more about Construction Courses delivered at North Notts College, visit www.nnc.ac.uk/courses/construction or call 01909 504500.