A secret Swiss Garden in Shuttleworth has been restored to its former glory after a £3.6m project.
The Garden, created in the early 1800s, which has now been saved from decay, consists of 13 listed buildings.
You can now go and see the quirky, newly-restored buildings, bridges and ornamental structures, with a two-storey Swiss cottage at its heart, from 9:30am to 5pm daily.
The buildings act as focal points in the garden, with vistas from woodland paths and grassy glades opened up and flower beds re-planted.
Una Watts, General Manager of the site, said: “We have been able to reverse the fortunes of this remarkably rare garden.
“With the help of local volunteers and apprentices, we aim to keep it looking pristine.
“With its magical charm and lovely natural setting we expect it to become as much of a draw as the aircraft museum in the future.”
The centre-piece cottage has been re-thatched and 4,300 panes of glass have been replaced in the Grotto and Fernery.
Over 25,600 shrubs and 8,400 bulbs have been planted in 53 beds, while 340 metres of path has been laid using 300 tonnes of gravel.
Its makeover has transported the nine-acre garden back to its Regency appearance, when the creator, Lord Robert Henley Ongley dropped this ‘alpine’ landscape into its unlikely Bedfordshire setting.
However, in the 1870s, the site was purchased by the industrialist Joseph Shuttleworth who made several changes to the landscape, introducing new plants and creating a formal terrace and broadwalk to host elaborate garden parties and pageants.
With the original layout of the Swiss Garden so intact, it is the best surviving Regency garden in the county – and a unique example of the ‘Swiss Picturesque’ style.
Maggie Appleton, Heritage Lottery Fund East of England Committee Member, said: “The hard work has paid off.
“It looks wonderful and thanks to a significant investment of both time and money, its distinctive features will continue to delight visitors.”
Admission to the Swiss Garden is £8 for adults and £7 for seniors with children under 16 free.
For more information regarding the Swiss Garden call 01767 627927 or visit www.shuttleworth.org/swiss-garden