In May 2006 Reading Borough Council was successful in securing funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to support the restoration of Caversham Court.
The main attraction of Caversham Court is its beautiful garden and historic features such as the riverside gazebo and ancient yew, and these have helped to make it a charming public open space in an attractive riverside position.
Caversham Court is listed in the English Heritage Gardens Register of Parks and Gardens of Historic Interest, which means that it is considered as being of national importance. It has listed buildings (all Grade II), and is located in a conservation area.
Feedback from a survey of visitors to Caversham Court is that an on-site gardener would be a benefit to the garden. Using part of the funding, the council will employ someone to manage the garden, to be involved in the development of the detailed restoration plans, and to begin to upgrade the standard of horticulture in Caversham Court.
A large amount of the funding will be used to restore the 17th and 19th century features of the garden, including the gazebo and its causeway, the crinkle-crankle retaining wall, and the ancient yew family and hedge. Some historic features that have been removed over the years will be replaced, like the ornamental Pugin-designed gateway. The planting will also be restored to recreate the intimacy of the private garden with its flower borders and riverside walk.
Proposals have also been made that include a tea garden run for the benefit of charity, and a boat landing stage. The gardens will be a base for horticultural training of staff, apprentices and volunteers, as well as an educational resource for schools
The project will cost an estimated £1.6million, with £1.2 million grant support. For full details of the application to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) visit the links below.