A NEW visitor centre has opened at Rivington Terraced Gardens with an array of festive gifts and Christmas trees on offer.
This comes after volunteers spent months renovating the historic building on Rivington Lane, next to The Great House Barn and Go Ape.
They had been working as part of the ongoing Squarea campaign, which seeks to restore the historic gardens to their former glory.
Gardens heritage projects manager Andrew Suter said: “The efforts of our wonderful volunteers has made this project possible. Now visitors can come along, view exhibits, learn more about the gardens and buy responsibly-sourced trees and special gifts for Christmas.
“Our website offers all the information visitors need to know when planning their trip.”
So far, the Squarea campaign has raised more than £12,000 and hopes to raise a similar amount over the coming year.
The campaign aims to give supporters the chance to sponsor a 10 square metre plot of land there, with certificates available to anyone pledging £20 to help fund the upkeep of the Japanese Gardens, lawns, Italian lake and woodland areas across the 45-acre hillside site.
Supporters include celebrities such as Dave Spikey, Sammy Winward, Mark Radcliffe, Tess Daly and Vernon Kay and Steve Royle. As well as volunteers and celebrity supporters the renovation efforts have also benefited from the support of The National Lottery Heritage Fund.
The project has already restored six miles of footpaths and 40,000 square metres of vegetation along with 300 metres of lost original footpaths.
The visitor centre makes up a key part of the renovation and along with festive gifts such as Rivington Chocolates, Flowersmiths and Let it Bee Honey, there are crafts made by volunteers on-site like bird houses, jigsaws, Christmas cards, handcrafted resin jewellery and hand-knitted bobble hats.
The centre also sells calendars, prints and landscape photographs by Jonathan Ellison, alongside walking guides and aids.