The restoration of Achamore Gardens
Achamore Gardens are owned and managed by the Isle of Gigha Heritage Trust on behalf of the islanders of the Isle of Gigha. One of the first things that the Trust did on taking possession of the island was to commission a Conservation and Development Plan for the Designed Landscape at Achamore Gardens. The final report of the Conservation and Development Plan was produced in June 2005 and it confirmed Achamore Gardens to be of National Importance as a designed landscape. this supports the view of Historic Scotland, stated in their inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes in Scotland 1989.The report considered the gardens to be the main asset of the island, with the potential to attract a substantial number of visitors.
It also confirmed that tourism is the mainstay of the island economy and that the tourist industry on the island needed a substantial and on-going investment. The Trust initiated a Restoration Plan for the gardens using the Conservation and Development Plan as a blueprint for the success central to the continued economic regeneration of Gigha.
The aim of the restoration
Is to "preserve the integrity of the Horlick plant collection and simultaneously achieve garden design enhancements to facilitate access and understanding and to create new areas of interest related to different horticultural themes and visitor facilities." This allows us not to recreate the past, but provide scope for modernisation and improvement of the gardens.
The first restoration phase
It was an exciting time for the gardens when the first phase started in 2006 with funding available from:
- The Heritage Lottary Fund
- National Trust for Scotland
- Scottish National Heritage
- European Regional Development Fund
- Private donations
- The people of the Isle of Gigha
Funding and this phase was over by June 2008 and along with the new Business Manager for the Heritage Trust who started June 2009, we are preparing for the 2nd phase of the ongoing restoration of the gardens.
The second Phase
With funding proving very difficult, we have drafted a conservation/development plan for the entire gardens. With this in mind, the Business Manager is hoping to seek new funders to help with this next phase.
The main areas we are tackling as areas of importance not only to the visitor but to the security of the plant collections they hold.
We have started border restoration on the Hugh/Islay Border, South Walled Garden wall borders and are at present restoring the borders in the North Walled Garden.
(Updated by Micky Little May 2011)