Motcombe Gardens improvements unveiled


The landscape around the Dovecote at Motcombe Gardens has been significantly improved following an archaeological dig.

The changes were made possible after funding from various groups including Old Town ward councillors, The National Lottery Heritage Fund and John Jackson Charitable Trust.

The excavation uncovered a previously unseen well and two water troughs from a farmyard, which experts think date back to 1870 or earlier.

Builders have created a fabrication of the walls which would have been in place at that time and new steps have been built around a previously inaccessible side of the Dovecote. In addition, some of the troughs have been planted with flowers and temporary fencing has gone up in preparation for more seed planting in the spring.

The sloping chalky ground will be planted with mowings brought in from a downland reserve to create an authentic look of days gone by.

Old Town councillors Jonathan Dow, Peter Diplock and Amanda Morris supported the excavation using a £4,000 grant from the devolved budget, which is a fund set aside to help community causes.

Councillor Dow said: “We were happy to help fund this project, which has been important in telling us more about our local history. The dig has exposed structures that haven’t been seen in 150 years or more and it’s so interesting to be able to see how it would have looked in the past. I now look forward to seeing the result of the springtime planting, helping to make it look even more authentic.”

Chris Searle, Chair of the Friends of Motcombe Gardens, said: “We estimate that 2,000 people came down to see what we were up to during the excavation and we had 60 volunteers either digging, pot cleaning or stewarding. The interest in this was phenomenal and we’d like to thank the councillors for their contribution, as well as all our other generous financial supporters as we couldn’t have undertaken the project without their help.”


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