Historic Japanese gardens uncovered at country park

TALKING JAPANESE -- country park ranger Sue McDonald (and her three-year-old dog, Archie) in the remains of the Japanese garden
TALKING JAPANESE -- country park ranger Sue McDonald (and her three-year-old dog, Archie) in the remains of the Japanese garden

A PAINSTAKING project has uncovered spectacular Japanese gardens that date back almost a century at Bestwood Country Park.

And for the first time in decades, visitors to the picturesque park this summer will be able to see the gardens, which were planted when the site was the country estate of the Duke Of St Albans.

At the time, it was popular in Britain to reproduce Far Eastern designs in miniature.

The garden at Bestwood includes rock carvings and traditional landscaping. At the top, there is a face on a rock. Water comes out of its mouth and cascades into waterfalls.

It is understood that water once flowed through pipes. But it is still a mystery as to where the water came from.

The scheme to revive the garden has been running for two years. But real progress was made last winter with the help of volunteers.

“We hope people can appreciate it,” said Nottinghamshire community archaeologist Andy Gaunt. “It has been really, really interesting.”

Funding to help uncover the gardens has come from Notts County Council’s Local Improvement Scheme (LIS).

A model is being created in 3D using laser scanners and an appeal has been made for photos of how the gardens looked in their original state.