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Living Landscapes Restores Grounds of St Peter’s Church, Walworth

Grounds of 190-year-old church, the best preserved of Sir John Soane’s churches, to be revitalised by award-winning team

Living Landscapes has been chosen to carry out the restoration of the forecourt (and hopefully the garden) of St Peter’s Church, Walworth, a church designed by Sir John Soane. Work will begin on February 10.

This is an exciting project for the team, headed up by Director Tecwyn Evans. He says, “It’s an honour to have the chance to restore the grounds of this church, which has a long heritage at the heart of the community.”

It is hoped that, once the forecourt is completed, the team will move on to revive the garden, which has been a much-loved community treasure (with a great story – read on for more info) for 120 years.

News on charity funding for the garden landscaping is awaited.

If it gets the green light, Living Landscapes will team up with garden designer Peter Reader, following their award-winning collaboration at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, where their ‘Four Corners’ garden scooped a Silver Gilt Medal and People’s Choice Award.

The Forecourt

The forecourt works have become urgent following flooding at the main entrance to the church from the road. Tarmac laid in the 1970s has seen better days and a new surface, with adequate drainage, is needed.

Living Landscapes will use CEDA gravel retention, a gravel stabilisation system, laid onto a prepared base. This allows for gravel of a certain size to fill a honeycombed pattern and create a very robust, permeable forecourt.

To complete the transformation, there will be a full restoration of the original metal work surrounding the forecourt, including railings and a magnificent gate, which is almost 200 years old. Highly skilled specialists from The Iron Works will carry out the metal work.

The Garden (AKA the ‘Monkey Park’)

Living Landscapes and Peter Reader’s goal with the garden at St Peter’s is to complement the striking architecture of Soane’s church and create a richly textured and vibrant outdoor space that is sympathetic to its story…

In 1895, St Peter’s priest, Father Horsley, cleared the graves and converted the graveyard to a public garden. He established a small zoo, nicknamed the ‘Monkey Park’, which was well loved by the local children.

This story is at the heart of the plans for restoring the garden: the design maintains the relaxed, slightly wild feel of the park, and respects its role as a space to be enjoyed by parishioners, particularly the young.

An old pergola will be restored, a central seating area will create a space for relaxation, twisting paths will carve through beds of flowers and grasses, and there will be areas provided for the community to plant and garden.

The west end of the park, which contains a monkey statue, will be abundantly planted with hardy dwarf palm trees, large leaved shrubs and tall, feathery grasses to create a ‘jungle feel’, a nod to the history of the zoo.

The team is hopeful that this vision will be realised as soon as the forecourt is complete. We’ll keep you posted!



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