HERITAGE PLANS: Residents may be able to access the castle for free on certain times of the year
HERITAGE PLANS: Residents may be able to access the castle for free on certain times of the year

PEOPLE are being invited to help reinvigorate the sensory garden within the walls of Barnard Castle.

If planning consent is given, English Heritage wants to transform the garden.

Explaining the idea to Barnard Castle Town Council’s partnership committee, English Heritage’s Robin Copeland said: “We have some funding allocated for the redevelopment of the existing garden in Barnard Castle to create something that is slightly more in keeping with the environment.

“What we are hoping to achieve is a community orchard with a wildflower meadow and seasonal bulbs to replace the existing garden which has become quite dated now. We would like to carry some sort of community consultation, obviously it is subject to planning getting monument consent – the site is scheduled an ancient monument as you are aware –

and we would aim to complete the work over the next year, from April and finish in the winter.”

He added that the garden is currently enclosed and rather than being a separate entity, the plan is to have the meadow flow into the castle grounds.

Included in the scheme are an access path, seating and picnic tables.

He said: “We plan to keep the existing trees and the building as well, so it will reference back to the original garden.”

Sage Wealth MPU

Cllr Judy Sutherland expressed concern that while English Heritage was keen to involve the community in the garden, they could not access the garden without paying the castle entrance fee.

Simon Bean, English Heritage’s head of projects, responded: “We would look to formalise a number of community free access days a year.”

These, he added, might take the form of fruit picking, seed sowing, bulb planting and scything days.

He added that volunteers involved with English Heritage would also have free access.

Mr Copeland said the types of fruit planted in the garden would be the same that would have been planted in the town during the art and craft movement.

Volunteer recruitment for the project was given a significant boost by Cllr Roger Peat who leads a group who sacrifice time to work in the community gardens around the town.

He said: “This is the type of thing that we would really like to get behind. To me it seems a really good idea of opening the garden which is enclosed at the minute. I am really enthusiastic and sure it will be a success.”

Cllr Sutherland added: “That sounds great. I am really glad that English Heritage is putting a bit of focus into the castle gardens.”