Temple Water Project - Restoring a Hidden Gem

Temple at Temple Water

The remarkable man-made landscape of the Temple Water area, designed by the Ward family, is one of the most important late 17th and early 18th century gardens to survive in Ireland.

Over the years the design of the landscape has become obscured by self-seeded trees, poor drainage and other changes.

Restoration Plans

Features planned for restoration include the crumbling stone sides of the Temple Water which have been weakened by tree roots over the years. The Temple will also be refurbished and the original paths will be reinstated, creating a picturesque route around the Temple with amazing viewpoints.

Historic paths will be reinstated along Lime Tree Walk and visitors will be able to grace the reinstated historic steps on the Yew Tree Terraces.  The viewing Mound and early 18th century Ward family home – the Green House will both be revealed and interpreted.  The Walled Garden will be levelled and a planting design scheme started. It will also be opened for public viewing.

Improvements will also be made to access around the lake by reinstalling former pathways and steps, repairing drains, creating pockets of natural biodiversity, removing some inappropriate trees, pruning others and planting new trees in locations based on early demesne maps.

Keep up to date with the latest information on our social media channels or alternatively follow our project timeline below.

Latest updates

06 Mar 17

South Down team take a tour of the project

After National Trust South Down's 'Start of Season' meeting, staff from Castle Ward and Murlough National Nature Reserve gets the opportunity to hear about the project from Castle Ward's Head Ranger. The tour takes in all aspects of the project and development to date and gives great insight into the importance of this area.

Castle Ward

08 Feb 17

Work slows as bird nesting season arrives

The return of the swans to Temple Water is a fantastic sight. You can hear a much missed buzz around the property as birds begin to chirp and mark out their territory for nesting season. This also means the project moves into a new phase and work slows so that there is no interference with birds nesting. It's a great time to see how far the project has moved in its first few months.

Castle Ward bird nesting temple water

29 Jan 17

Temple Water Drained

Temple Water has been drained so surveys can be conducted and the base can start to be dredged. There is some water still in Temple Water as it sits below the water basin. The picture shows that the canal itself is very shallow with a depth of below one metre. Temple Water is actually about 2 metres deep, but silt and sediment over the years has built up and created a false bottom. The majority of this will be removed creating a great habitat for wildlife.

Castle Ward TWP drained