Sydney Gardens Project
National Lottery Heritage Funded Park Restoration Project
May 2021
Our new map for the Sydney Gardens interpretation and trails, designed and illustrated by Bea Baranowska.
What's happening in the park?
Our build project is moving forward really well with lots of activity in the park - all the contractors and sub-contractors are on site.  Some of you have been asking why there's so much soil movement going on - scroll down to the build update for the reason ...

Our new podcast about birdsong is out today with Lucy Starling, made by Bath-based sound recordist Gary Moore from BBCSpringwatch. Time to get up and listen to the Dawn Chorus before the end of May!

As we start to reopen following the pandemic restrictions, we are continuing with small group workshops and activities. We have some great opportunities this month as part of Mental Health Awareness Week, plus a 'Make a Pinhole Camera Lens Workshop' at the end of May.

If you love steam engines, then you'll be interested in the Belmond Pullman that is due to steam through Sydney Gardens on Wednesday 19 May, so our 'steam train whisperer' Robert tells us - 13.40 down, 16.55 up! Check on nearer the time. It's quite a sight and a popular viewing spot, so give everyone space!

We welcome volunteers across gardening, conservation, research, documentation and social media. Please get in touch if you're interested and we can talk about opportunities.

Best wishes,
Sue Palmer, Community Ranger
Mali Kedward, Horticultural Participation Officer
Matt Watson, Horticultural Apprentice
Keith Rowe, Project Manager

Sydney Gardens Project Team, Parks Service, B&NES Council
Supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Follow us on Facebook @SydneyGardensBath
Read our blog on Medium
Learn Birdsong - a new podcast
with Lucy Starling, made by sound recordist Gary Moore
This 18 minute podcast is all about how to learn the bird song of birds in Sydney Gardens.

At the end of April we met up with Lucy Starling who has led fantastic walks, talks and trainings in Sydney Gardens teaching us all about birdsong. The podcast was recorded and edited by wildlife sound recordist Gary Moore, a regular recordist on the BBC’s Springwatch and Autumnwatch series. We are very grateful to Gary for giving his time, expertise and birdsong recordings. Listen on our SoundCloud site.

Activities in Mental Health Awareness Week
Nature - Learn in nature, be in nature
We are hosting three special free small group activities through next week. Nature is central to our psychological and emotional health, so join us in the park - open to all! 

Gardening for wildlife - Wednesday 12 May, 2pm - 4pm.
Join our gardener Mali Kedward and wildlife educator Alison Dent to learn about how to make a garden wildlife friendly - find out more and book your place.

Mindfulness in Nature - Thursday 13 / 20 / 27 May 2021, 6pm to 7pm
A one hour session led by Huw Griffiths from Mindfulness Bath. Book here for just one or all three sessions.

Creativity Works - Intention Sticks - Thursday 13 May / Thursday 10 June, 2pm to 4pm
Creativity and wellbeing led by Samantha Hickman. Find out more.
Sydney Gardening
Gardening Volunteer Sessions every Wednesday
Small group gardening volunteer sessions are running every Wednesday from 10am to 11.30am, led by Mali and Matt. Please book a place on a session here

No experience needed. All tools provided. Risk assessed for Covid-safety.  Please contact Mali if you have questions. As a volunteer you also get first dibs on our free horticultural training programme.  If you'd like to get involved in gardening or conservation, please contact Mali Kedward, the Horticultural Participation Officer.  There's lots to do this summer!
Here's Matt star jumping! Matt did a wonderful bit of repair work on the hole in the lawn by the Rockery - you wouldn't know it had been there now - his strategy worked! And our volunteers are sowing wildflower seed on the transformed Rockery area.
a pinhole camera lens making and image creation workshop 

Bank Holiday Monday 31st May - 11am -4pm

Artists image makers Natalie Keymist and James Holcombe will show you how to build your own pinhole lens to use with your mobile phone or digital camera. Play around with image making, creating your own photos and videos using a handmade lens in this fun and experimental activity.

Explore the park creating images that will be part of a special online Cosmo-rama movie!  Book a slot on the hour - booking opens Tuesday 11th May. For ages 7yrs +. Check on social media for reminders. 

This activity is part of the Holburne Museum's event to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the museum extension.  The Cosmorama in the original Georgian Pleasure Garden was one of the most fascinating features and entertainments. Come along to the park on the day to find out more about it!

Working with Bath Spa University Publishing students
Over the lockdown, we been working with third year Bath Spa University Publishing students in their final project - creating social media content and strategy for our project to widen our audience and attract volunteers. 

Ben Sanders:  We are in the process of devising a digital content strategy, to better market and present social media content to a wider audience. So far we have created an independent TikTok (video sharing app) account to showcase the garden at its best. Additionally, I am creating a leaflet, advertising volunteer positions for anyone who fancies spending time making friends, getting some fresh air, and experiencing Bath’s historical gardens at their finest. 

Emma Moseley is designing a printed newspaper that will be out in the summer. Emma writes: As a publishing student I was given the opportunity to work with the Community Ranger, Sue Palmer who had the idea of creating a one off newspaper that could be printed and handed out to visitors in the gardens. The newspaper covers various topics looking at its heritage alongside contemporary issues. 
Nature Tots with Foxglove Forest School
Nature Tots outdoor sessions are being run in Sydney Gardens on Friday mornings from 10am - 11am by Holly Dabbs and Foxglove Forest School with Freddie the Fox!

The current sessions are fully booked, but a new block of 6 sessions starts on Friday 11 June. Bookings open on Monday 17 May.

We offer a limited number of bursary places for those on UC / low income.  Please get in touch with Holly by email if you are interested in a bursary place.
Construction and restoration update
Our build programme has been affected and delayed by the Covid pandemic and the lockdown by around 9 months.  Currently, we are still planning to complete the restoration project by March 2022.  
Soil movements in the play area - Keith Rowe, Project Manager is here with the answer:
A few months ago we found some soil contamination at very low levels in the play area - nothing serious thankfully, but enough that we need to deal with it to meet health and safety requirements.  We’ve had expert advice and input from the appropriate external organisations to approve and sign off on the approach. We needed to avoid transporting the contaminated soil off site - it is bad practice (pushing your problem elsewhere!) - very costly to transport and even more costly to treat.
As the contamination is at very low levels, we’ve been allowed to keep it on site and the Materials Management Plan specifies exactly how this is done. The whole site has been divided into 4m grid squares and the soil from each grid / layer is tested and then placed either in a pile of ‘clean soil’ or ‘contaminated soil’. A hole is then dug to place the contaminated soil and ensure that there is at least 600mm of clean material above it. We have an orange mesh that defines the transition between the two layer, so anyone digging down in the future will know when then have hit the contaminated layer. We are also monitoring the air around the digging area to ensure that there are no issues with airborne contaminates, and thankfully because of the nature of the material, there are no air borne contamination issues.
Roman 'Boundary Wall'?

The consequence of digging holes is that we are hitting the Roman ground. There are archaeological investigations going on currently in the area as we have found a Roman wall with some associated Roman finds. More news on this when we have it from our archaeological team.


The petanque courts are finished. You are welcome to use them for a game. The landscape works continue to be set out in this area so please take care and avoid fenced off areas.

The Community Pavilion and Public Loos, with new Changing Places facility is progressing very well.

The tennis courts at the top of the park have had their final coat of paint and you can use them for play. New gates will be installed at some point in the summer.
Conservation works - Sally Strachey Historic Conservation are on site and working on the Ruin in the former depot. The Loggia at the top of the park is being underpinned plus drainage works too. The Temple of Minerva will be closed and scaffolded soon. They are also restoring the old Kiosk by the Bathwick Street entrance.

IronArt are restoring the Edwardian Grade II Listed Loos inside this giant tent! The 1920s Ironwork Ladies has been restored offsite and is due to return soon to the park, to be re-ected in a new site behind the Gardener's Lodge.

The Friends of Sydney Gardens
The Friends of Sydney Gardens is a community organisation formed in 2013 to promote awareness of the gardens, gather community feedback on improvements and developments and to foster the gardens' care and maintenance.

The Friends run a volunteer gardening session on the second Sunday of the month. They have a regular group of friendly volunteers - contact Gill if you're interested in going along.
The Friends also run much needed weekend litter picks.

Can you spare an hour to help?

Please help support your local green space - contact Gill Gazzard at the Friends. 

Please join the Friends to support Sydney Gardens now and in the future.

There has been an increase in litter across all parks recently. With so many people using parks including Sydney Gardens, it is even more important to care for our green spaces.

If the litter bins are full, take it home with you!

Thank you to all the wonderful volunteers from the Friends of Sydney Gardens who litter pick in the park every weekend - Jonny, Bea, Wendy, Ed, Sam, Patsy, Charles, Gill and Terry - you make Sydney Gardens so much better!


The Sydney Gardens Tree Trail has been created by the Friends of Sydney Gardens in partnership with the Sydney Gardens Project. The Friends are currently working on tree labels for a selection of trees - we'll let you know when they are up!

Access the Sydney Gardens Tree Trail online - download the PDF on your computer or phone, or pick up a printed leaflet from the perspex box by the notice board at the park entrance behind the Holburne. We're restocking it as often as we can ...

The tree trail is being trialled before we make a final version later in 2021 so do give us feedback!

Sydney Gardens National Lottery Heritage Funded Project
Sydney Gardens is one of Britain’s best remaining Georgian Pleasure Gardens.
Find out more about Sydney Gardens in the past.

The National Lottery Heritage Funding will be used to restore historic buildings, invest in landscape works and garden restoration, and create new play areas for all ages.
Find out more about Sydney Gardens

Alongside the works, a programme of events and activities is being run: learning, arts, nature, horticulture, wildlife, play, sport, archaeology and history. The project will celebrate the fascinating history of the Gardens, with its Cosmorama, Labyrinth, Merlins Swing, Concerts, Public Breakfasts, Galas and Illuminations.

What's happening:

Our project started the 'Delivery Phase' on 1st February 2019:
2019: Detailed technical design, programming of works, with public events, activities, training and volunteering.
2020: Delivery of restoration, building works and landscaping, volunteering and training programme, and designing interpretation
2021: Continued delivery of the restoration and build with accompanying volunteer and training programme, activities and partnership events
2022: Completion of the project

Read about our National Lottery Heritage Funding

Sydney Gardens, Bath Sydney Gardens, Bath
Sue Palmer, Sydney Gardens Community Ranger Sue Palmer, Sydney Gardens Community Ranger
@BathnesParks @BathnesParks
@SydneyGardensBath/ @SydneyGardensBath/
@BathnesParks @BathnesParks
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Sydney Gardens Parks for People Project · Parks and Green Spaces · Lewis House, Manvers Street · Bath, Bath and North East Somerset BA1 1JG · United Kingdom

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