Staff members stood in the Gateway at the walled garden.

Restoring History: The Walled Garden Project

14 July 2023

From September 2023, Construction Students at North Notts College (part of the RNN Group) will join forces with Thoresby Park to restore its five-acre walled garden. 

Thoresby Park is a magnificent estate situated in the heart of Nottinghamshire, England, renowned for its rich heritage and beautiful landscapes. Hidden away, the once-prestigious walled garden grew exotic fruit housed in vineries and a conservatory. It previously included four green spaces, divided by walkways and centred by an elegant fountain. After years of neglect, the garden sadly fell into a state of disrepair. 

To help revive this historical site, students will work with a surveyor to restore walls, paths, and other infrastructure, including the bothies used by former garden workers. Modern building techniques will be blended with more traditional heritage skills to produce an effective and holistic approach to work onsite. Once complete, the garden will be open to the public and host many events throughout the year. 

Leading on the project is Curriculum Leader for Construction at North Notts College, Michael Cox. His responsibilities include facilitating continual student involvement with the regeneration project and ensuring that the work done meets a high standard of quality. 

He said: “This project represents a unique learning opportunity for all students involved, which will stand out on their CVs. They will learn valuable skills ranging from traditional construction and heritage conservation to project management and teamwork. We are eager to get started and see the transformation unfold.

In 2019, RNN Group declared Thoresby Park an official employer academy, but the project was delayed due to COVID and unforeseen management events. Employer academies are businesses that collaborate with colleges to identify the skills and knowledge that students will need to be successful in their chosen industries. These partnerships enable employer academies to have input on the curriculum and help shape the learning experience for a more skilled future workforce.

Interim Curriculum Manager for Construction at North Notts College, Karen Connole, spoke of her excitement for the partnership, emphasising the significance of this restoration project. 

She said: “We are thrilled to have rekindled our partnership with Thoresby Park and offer our students a truly enriching learning experience. Not only will this project preserve a piece of local history, but it will also provide valuable hands-on experience for all students involved. We look forward to continuing our collaboration for many years to come and making a positive impact on the community as a whole.”

To find out more about the courses we offer in construction, please visit:

Categories: News