Berrington’s embarking on community participation

Students walking away from stepping stones

At Berrington we are embracing the Berrington Garden Project as an opportunity to get the community to benefit from this special place. We are beginning partnerships with local groups and learning more about how we can all work together to keep this special place here forever, for everyone.

In 2017 we embarked on the Berrington Garden Project. This project’s initial aim was to restore and conserve the walled garden and pleasure grounds, which we discovered were ‘Capability’ Brown’s final design, as well as only one of two in the country to be shaped by Brown into a unique curved design.

From this primary aim, the project has now developed and another core goal has come to light. In order to help Berrington’s walled garden and pleasure grounds thrive, the team is forging community partnerships, which offer various different groups within the community a chance to use Berrington in a way that is meaningful to them.

1887 Sales Particulars Map revealing Brown's perfect design
An original map of the designs of the grounds of berrington
1887 Sales Particulars Map revealing Brown's perfect design

This is being done in order to get people from all walks of life to respond to Berrington’s garden in their own way and make personal connections with it. We hope this will encourage different groups within the community to engage with Berrington and find help it last for ever, for everyone.

One partnership that has been formed is between Berrington and SHYPP (Supported Housing for Young People project). SHYPP is an award winning project that works to inspire young people to dream more, learn more, do more and become more. They aim to help young people get through tough periods and make a positive transition into an independent thriving lifestyle.

Shypp’s visit to Berrington has offered the young people who were involved to come and respond to the walled garden in their own creative way. Discover the short film that they produced as their response to Berrington below.

There are other successful partnerships which have been forged, such as our work with the Hereford College of Arts. So far our work with the college has allowed students to come and engage with the space in a way that was relevant and meaningful to them, as well as us. Projects like these enable us to gather how people in the county respond and feel about Berrington and we are using this information to shape and inform the Berrington Garden Project so we can be more relevant to the people on our doorstep.

In 2017 students from Hereford College of Arts took part in a ‘Picking and participation project’ in which a group of 30 young adults assisted the Head Gardener in picking the apples in the orchard. Within one day they did two weeks’ worth of work. This partnership has continued throughout 2018, with projects such as ‘Patina’, an outdoor exhibition throughout the gardens at Berrington. You can read even more about this exhibition below.

Come and see what pieces of 'Patina' young can discover
A piece of wood painted bright red taken from below with the sun shining down onto it
Come and see what pieces of 'Patina' young can discover

We are constantly looking for ways to develop the garden and restore it to be enjoyed, as Thomas Harley and ‘Capability’ Brown intended when they designed it. It is for this reason that we will continue to try and establish connections within the community throughout the project and beyond, in order to help others use this space in a way that is meaningful to them.