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Boys Join Rivington Terraced Gardens Conservation Project

Monday, 06 July 2015

The Year 10 boys recently began some community action work at Rivington Gardens as part of the School’s bi-weekly SPACE Programme. SPACE aims to broaden boys’ experiences beyond curriculum requirements: over the course of the year, they are involved with various activities, including working together across age groups for one half-term. Virtually the only constant of the programme is Year 10’s Community Action: the boys in this year group work on four community-based activities throughout the year via a rota system.

The boys begin their fortnightly SPACE afternoon at 1pm and return to School in time to head for home at 4pm, so they have to work quite hard to make a difference in the short space of time! However, they find the work is very rewarding, despite the effort and diligence required. With the Music department, boys tutor primary pupils in guitar and percussion. Twelve boys head off to Darcy Lever Gravel Pits to help with conservation and some building projects. A team of six get to help with building and decorative work at a Residential Care home: Bowstone Rise this year, following the success of working with Pocket Nook last year. A further team of six recently completed work for the Lancashire Wildlife Trust on The Hive at Moss Bank Park.

When the project with the Lancashire Wildlife Trust ended, it was an ideal opportunity to start working with the Rivington Heritage Trust and Groundwork Cheshire, Lancashire and Merseyside.

Last summer, the Trust began a process of seeking access to Heritage Lottery funds to help them towards conserving the famous Rivington Terraced Gardens, built by Lord Leverhulme around his Rivington residences. The house is now long gone, but the magic of the view and the peace of the woodland deserves a wider audience, and with RHT and Groundwork making sure that public access is safe that experience should have a wide appeal.

As Lord Leverhulme was responsible for re-founding the School in 1915 and thus creating the Bolton School Foundation as it exists today, this was a fantastic opportunity to make a connection between the School and the Gardens. By helping to look after the Terraced Gardens for the benefit of future generations, the boys who are beneficiaries of Leverhulme’s legacy are able to better understand his connection to the local area.

Ben Williams is the Project Manager for the Rivington Terraced Gardens and is very pleased with the boys’ efforts so far: “It’s already made an enormous impact in terms of the amount of light and air circulation in the area. This sort of task is really important for the Gardens – there’s no worse enemy to historic structures than damp, and clearances like this will allow the stonework to dry out and ‘breathe’ as it was designed to. It’s also bringing some lines of sight back into that area so that visitors can begin to appreciate the structures as they were planned once more.”

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The boys carrying equipment to the Terraced Gardens

The boys carrying equipment to the Terraced Gardens

Cutting back overgrown and overhanging vegetation

Cutting back overgrown and overhanging vegetation

Hard at work clearing some of the many steps in the Gardens

Hard at work clearing some of the many steps in the Gardens