Calvary Pond Set to Open in 2022
The historical Calvary pond at Mount Stuart is being carefully restored for the public to enjoy this summer.
The Calvary Pond restoration project started in 2019, with the removal of the commercial forestry around the site. Since then, initial work was undertaken in 2021 to replant the area with tree species as similar to the original design for this site in 1896 by renowned landscape designer, Thomas Mawson. Since all drawings and plans pertaining to the original Calvary design have been lost over the years, early ordnance survey maps, and an extensive series of letters between Mawson and the 4th Marquess of Bute (who commissioned the original project) held in the Bute Collection archives at Mount Stuart have helped to inform the restoration team of the Marquess' original plans and ideas.
Following completion of the works in 2021, the project has been extended to take on a further two phases over 2022 and 2023. This year will see the clearing of the top pond, the restoration of the middle pond, the repairing of the waterfall and the clearing of the ponds down to the back drive entering the Wee Garden.
The Calvary restoration project has been a huge undertaking for the Trust, as the Gardens team at Mount Stuart endeavour to plant over 4,000 new trees in the area.
To date, the team have planted around 1,500, all of which are native and North American hardwood species. The Gardens team have also received help from the local community, including pupils from Bute's primary schools, and the SAWA English language learners.
As part of the planting this year, the Trust are also planting 63 rowan trees at the Calvary pond to commemorate the life of Johnny Bute, 7th Marquess of Bute. The Rowan tree was the 7th Marquess' favourite tree, and 63 of these have been planted by family and friends to celebrate each year of his life.
Phase 3, due to commence in 2023, will see the continuation of the work done by the 6th Marquess of Bute in 1965, which developed the area east of the forty-five down to the Beech Avenue and on towards the shore. It will reopen a path which has not been used for 20 years, and hopefully recreate an early summerhouse (known as a fog house) as found in documentation dating back to 1879 from the archives.
Once complete we will have a fantastic new visitor attraction, opening late summer 2022, with areas for pond dipping, picnic tables, and relaxing, helping to add to the attractions of the Mount Stuart Gardens and continuing to develop the historical link with the 4th Marquess.