Investigating the mystery of the lost gardens of Fairhaven Lake

Fylde Borough Council are hoping to win a grant to uncover and renovate the 'lost gardens' next to Fairhaven Lake in Ansdell.'Workers Stuart Bimpson (right) and John Musson in an area of the gardens.  PIC BY ROB LOCK'17-11-2014
Fylde Borough Council are hoping to win a grant to uncover and renovate the 'lost gardens' next to Fairhaven Lake in Ansdell.'Workers Stuart Bimpson (right) and John Musson in an area of the gardens. PIC BY ROB LOCK'17-11-2014

Parks workers will turn detectives as they try to solve the mystery of lost gardens.

Time teams plan to dig to uncover the truth of the long-lost Japanese Lagoon and Gardens at Fairhaven Lake.

Fylde Borough Council are hoping to win a grant to uncover and renovate the 'lost gardens' next to Fairhaven Lake in Ansdell.'Workers Stuart Bimpson (left) and John Musson in an area of the gardens.  PIC BY ROB LOCK'17-11-2014

Fylde Borough Council are hoping to win a grant to uncover and renovate the 'lost gardens' next to Fairhaven Lake in Ansdell.'Workers Stuart Bimpson (left) and John Musson in an area of the gardens. PIC BY ROB LOCK'17-11-2014

Darren Bell, Head of Leisure and Cultural Services at Fylde Council, said: “The ground is depressed in parts and there are some stones protruding through the grass which may be evidence that such a feature existed.”

Council staff have also discovered an old Thomas Mawson drawing of a Japanese garden which may –or may not – have been built.

But the renowned gardens designer was known for having many ideas above the budget of projects, with features often left out of schemes. The original plan for Fairhaven Lake was for it to extend all the way to the Promenade Gardens in St Annes.

Mr Bell said: “The drawing shows a lagoon connected to the lake with stepping stones and a bridge over the top.

“In those days, Japanese Water gardens were very fashionable for the super-rich but there is little evidence that there were ever many in public parks.”

The project is part of a wider aim as civic leaders prepare a £2m bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund to revamp the ageing tourist attraction and restore it to its former glory.

Restoring a lost feature such as a stunning Japanese Garden would play a significant part in obtaining funds from the Heritage Lottery.

Coun Sue Fazackerley, Fylde Council’s leisure chief and interim leader, said: “Thousands, possibly millions, of Lancashire residents have had happy memories of Fairhaven over the past 90 years – but we believe it can be made better. We believe our plans will put the lake and gardens on a firm footing for the next 90 years, but we need to show that the Fylde public is behind the plans.”

Fylde Council must bid for the grant by the end of February next year, with the outcome known in June.

The council must demonstrate as much community involvement as possible to win Lottery funding for the project. Readers can email coastandcountrysideteam@fylde.gov.uk and visit www.fylde.gov.uk/fairhavenfuture to see plans and leave comments.