The dams project FAQs

A view down to the Palladian Bridge through luscious plant growth, the bridge is reflected in the top lake

We're sure you have lots of questions about the dams project and what it means for the garden and visitors. To help you find answers quickly, we've collected your frequently asked questions below. This page will be updated regularly, throughout the duration of the project.

What impact will there be on visitors during the work?

After the closure in the first half of 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, the garden has remained open during the rest of the work. The visitor route was adapted and access to some areas is still restricted. Currently there is no access beyond the Palladian Bridge and there are restrictions on the east side of the garden.

Will entrance fees change during the work? 

Fees are currently lower than they were in 2019 at the start of the project. As an independent conservation charity, we rely on the money earnt through entrance fees to help protect and conserve the special places we look after. National Trust places that undergo major restoration also try and incorporate the project into the experience for their visitors and the dams project will be a great chance for people to see conservation in action. 

During the dams project the Palladian Bridge will provide an excellent viewing point of the works
A family group stand on Prior Park's palladian bridge on summer's day, one of the women points out something of interest to a small child in her arms
During the dams project the Palladian Bridge will provide an excellent viewing point of the works

Will I still be able to access the Palladian Bridge? 

In a word- yes. The bridge is open to visitors, and you can see the work progressing from there.

How have you been protecting the Palladian Bridge?

All historic structures in the garden were surveyed before the work started, and we are working with a conservation engineer to review access arrangements to ensure the bridge and other historic features are fully protected throughout.

Although the tea shed will be closed, we hope to have a temporary catering stall at the top of the garden.
A home made carrot cake cut into slices, with a small chalk board sign in front of it.
Although the tea shed will be closed, we hope to have a temporary catering stall at the top of the garden.

What about the Tea Shed? 

We've installed a temporary Tea Shed in the Cabinet, at the top end of the garden, which will be open for the duration of the project. You can enjoy a cup of tea and cake in this tranquil part of the garden.

What facilities will be available for blue badge holders

Regrettably we will not be able to offer accessible parking.

 

Can I still use the lower gate?

As the lower gate falls within the contractors work site, it will not be accessible to visitors and will be closed throughout the project.

The works have been carefully planned to have minimal impact on Prior Park's wildlife.
A mature Great Tit sits in springtime branches.
The works have been carefully planned to have minimal impact on Prior Park's wildlife.

What will the work involve? 

The work involves deconstructing the middle dam and adding a new clay core faced with stone, maintaining the existing section of upstream face wall and building new wall where there are gaps. Timber edging will be added on the downstream face. The improved dam will be reprofiled to enable it to safely overtop in the event of an extreme flood event, whilst retaining its historic integrity. 

Similarly, the lower dam will also be upgraded to enable it to better manage extreme flood events. The works will also restore the historic cascade between the middle and lower lake, so that it flows freely once again. 

How long will the work take? 

The main phases of the works will take about a year, although, planting is likely to take a little longer. 

What will happen if you don't raise the extra £100,000

The dams project will still go ahead as planned, however, if funds are tight we may be unable to complete important aspects of the project that are not essential to the main works. We'd likely be unable to complete the landscaping and replanting of the garden once the engineering works are complete.

The lower lake as it currently stands, it still holds water but the banks are unstable and it is full of silt.

The dams appeal 

We have already secured £2.1 million to fund the dams project, but we're still fundraising for the final £100,000 needed to ensure we can complete the works. With your help we can restore the dams, reinstate the paths and refill the lakes, so visitors can enjoy tranquil reflections once again.