Arts and Heritage Minister Lord Parkinson sees conservation and revival work carried out at Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens
He met with some of the garden volunteers and marked his visit by planting a tree with apprentice gardener Antonia Azocar-Nevin.
English Heritage carried out the ‘Belsay Awakes’ work at the site to conserve the hall, castle and coach house, and rejuvenate the renowned historic gardens.
Thanks to a grant of £3.4million from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, support from Garfield Weston Foundation and The Foyle Foundation, and other generous donations, there are also new family-friendly spaces and a children’s woodland play-and-learn area with an outdoor classroom and new interpretation across the site.
The hall’s original roof – which caused damp issues for more than two hundred years – has been replaced, the castle’s medieval stonework has been repaired and the gardens have been brought back to their glorious best by landscape designer and gardener Dan Pearson.
In addition, the old coach house building has been restored and transformed into a welcoming new café with its own renewable energy and rainwater harvesting.
Mark Douglas, English Heritage’s properties curator, said: “Although a remarkable architectural feat, Belsay Hall’s concealed gutters proved, over the next 200 years, to be its downfall – it appears that Sir Charles Monck (who owned the site from 1795 to 1867) hadn’t accounted for Northumberland’s harsh winters.
“It has been such a relief to finally banish the damp from the hall and safeguard Belsay for future generations.”