Sydney Gardens Project
National Lottery Heritage Funded Park Restoration Project
December 2021
Children from the Reception Class at Bathwick St Mary's C of E Primary School in Bathwick help us plant a new Beech tree in Sydney Gardens on Monday 29 November 2021. Their teacher says they're still talking about it and excited about watching it grow over the years.
News this midwinter
The last weekend in November was the Tree Weekender. Over 450 people took part from all over the world and from across Bath in the online and on the ground programme, which celebrated our trees and all that they give us. 

On the Saturday, Storm Arwen swept through, and while it wasn't too bad in the park, we had a branch break in the Catalpa Tree, the Country Champion that stands by the Temple of Minerva, and on Wednesday we found the trunk of Tree of Heaven by the Loggia had split. By the time you read this, the tree will most likely have been taken down with just the stem left until the New Year. We are very sad to lose any tree from the park. Thankfully we have recently planted new trees in the park, in the play area and around the park, but we'll plan for a replacement for the Tree of Heaven.

We're sorry to say that the opening of the play area has been delayed until mid February. Supplies of key bits of play equipment have been delayed. We're sorry to disappoint those who were hoping to explore this winter holiday, but hopefully not long to wait. 

On the up side, the new loo in the park is open, plus the new Changing Places facility is complete and open which we're delighted about.


Happy Christmas from all of us in the project team.
Stay safe and well this midwinter,

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
We celebrated the launch of National Tree Week in Sydney Gardens with Lewis Morrison from the National Tree Council, and here below is Lewis with Gill Gazzard from the Friends of Sydney Gardens celebrating the Friends Tree Trail which now has an online mobile friendly version!
You can still explore some of the Tree Weekender activities - click through to our Linktree to find Map My Forest, which equates the rate of daily rainforest loss directly onto Bath. And listen to poetry and prose in Sydney Gardens from the Tree Writing Competition, geo-located by students from Bath Spa University.
Read all three essays by Dr Richard S White on Botany, Empire and Deep Time.

The third essay has just been published on our Medium blog. This important and insightful research and writing explores what the trees, landscape and street names can tell us about how Sydney Gardens is connected to hidden, invisible histories that connect it to other places in the world through colonialism.
Thank you to all our volunteers!
Our project wouldn't work without you!
A heartfelt thanks to all our volunteers!

To the Friends of Sydney Gardens Committee:
Jonny, Gill, Audrey, Michael, Jack, Wendy, Caroline and Cary

To the Friends Volunteer Gardeners:
Gill, Jonny, Patsy, Charles, Jennifer, Stephen, Serena, John, Brigitte and more!

To all the people who litter pick:
Bea, Jonny, Wendy, Ed, Gill, Terry, Patsy and Charles

To the Wednesday morning gardening volunteers:
Ruth, Maggie, Steph, Emmy, Brian, Pat, Jackie, and so many more!
And to Alison who created our Heritage Trail, and is now working on the boards for the historic Ironwork Loos!  To Diana for the Jane Austen in Sydney Gardens Trail.  And to our social media volunteer, Lily.

Here are some of the Friends by the newly planted Metasequoia!
Sydney Gardening
Gardening Volunteer Sessions every Wednesday (restarting mid January)
Small group gardening volunteer sessions are running every Wednesday from 10am to 11.30am, led by Mali and Matt, running through the year.

Please book in to a session here. There are different activities each week from bulb planting to clearning areas for planting. A warm welcome guaranteed in this friendly group of all ages! No experience needed. All tools provided. Risk assessed for Covid-safety. 

This week we ran a small group Christmas wreath making with volunteers - see the pic below.

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, or have any questions, please contact Mali Kedward, the Horticultural Participation Officer. 
Construction and restoration update
Our build programme has been affected and delayed by the Covid pandemic as well as other factors by around 12 months.  We have recently had permission from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to extend the project until the end of 2022 to enable us to continue to deliver the restoration project, but with no additional funding available.

The build programme is progressing well, with planting and landscaping works planned over the autumn and winter and most works are scheduled to complete by mid February 2022.  We have had to make further savings to the scheme. Read our webpage for the full update.

It maybe that further savings are required as the scheme nears competition. At the present time the canal entrance ramp and the opening up of the grounds depot have been paused while the main site works are completed and final budgets prepared. If these elements are affordable, they will proceed in the spring of 2022.
The Community Pavilion is complete. We are just fixing snagging issues, and fitting it out to make it functional for activities. It really looks beautiful and is a lovely space!
Edgars Builders are continuing to manage the construction site (except the Network Rail working area). Parsons Landscapes, Sally Strachey Associates and IronArt Bath have all been working in the Gardens over the last couple of years.

The Community Pavilion is now complete and the public toilet and adjacent Changing Places Toilet are open.

The Bothy, a meeting point for volunteers and a store for gardening tools, has now been refurbished and we have kitted it out.  The outside area around the Bothy will be gravelled and made available as an outdoor space. Until then, the temporary fencing will stay in place around the building.

The Temple of Minerva is now complete and a new bat box installed in the roof. We are waiting for the plaster to dry out ready for painting. It will have interpretation and information boards installed over the winter that will track the history of the Gardens and provide a point of orientation for the completed scheme.

IronArt have restored the Edwardian Gents Loo on site. The Grade 2 Ironwork Loos will contain interpretation about the story of public toilets that will be able to viewed through glass panels in the side. The 1920s Ladies Ironwork Loo has been restored off site and has now been re-assembled. The building will be used for pre-school aged children as a nature discovery base.

The play area is being set out and play equipment being installed, and paths being laid with tarmac and is now scheduled to open in mid February.

The petanque court is 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.
Tennis courts - the two courts at the top of the park are open for play. New solar-powered gates have been installed.

The courts now operate on a bookable and charging system through Tennis@thepark: £6 per hour for Pay and Play, with Family Membership available for £40 per year, £30 Concession. 

The lower tennis courts will re-open as two full size courts on completion of the play area.

  • Labyrinth – this will no longer be a permanent feature as proposed in the planning proposal as it was far too costly. The proposal has been replaced with an adult swing, with views of Camden Crescent and the Lansdown ridge.
  • The former allotments will only have a direct path through it (due to be widened) from the new entrance off the Warminster Road. The trim trail will not be implemented and the orchard planting postponed. We had unresolved issues with the repair of the railings above the railway and concerns from the Parks maintenance team about the ability to maintain the area due to the hazards, slopes and rough ground.
  • Other costs savings have been achieved through looking again at some of the higher quality specifications especially the amount of pennant stone paving / steps.
  • We have also been looking at the implementation of the soft planting and finding more cost effective furniture.

Network Rail are due to carry out fencing works alongside the railway as it passes through Sydney Gardens and these works are currently programmed in for early 2022. They will access the site through the Bathwick Street entrance and will have a site compound on the lower lawn overlooking the railway viewing area.
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 from 10am to 12 noon. There is a regular group of friendly people - contact Gill if you would like to join them. All tools provided and a warm welcome!
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.
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 is being 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.

2020-21: Delivery of restoration, building works and landscaping, volunteering, and designing interpretation

2022: Continued delivery of the restoration and build, interpretation, with accompanying volunteer programme, some activities and partnership events

December 2022: Closure 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
Sydney Gardens blog on Medium Sydney Gardens blog on Medium
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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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