Bankfield Mansion Gardens (not to be confused with Bankfield Day Services gardens, Bankfield Cottage), and woodlands have been adopted by a passionate team of volunteers, affectionately known as the ‘Wednesday Wombles’.
The original mansion, the home of the local ironmasters, Messrs Kirk and Vallentine was built in 1876, but before its sad demise and subsequent demolition in 1980, it had been home to the Iredale family, the War Department and National Coal Board to name a few.
Many organisations have worked towards maintaining and refurbishing the gardens and woodlands since then, but recent work recommenced in July 2019, to restore and restock the raised beds in the Italianate styled sunken gardens. This has been a long haul, as the site has been regularly targeted by vandals and unsympathetic visitors.
Funding from the Get Cumbria Buzzing project has allowed for wild daffodils and snowdrops to be planted amongst the extensive stock of seasonal wild garlic, whilst work is ongoing to create a wildflower meadow on the central island, where the mansion once stood.
Meandering paths were mown through the wildflowers for visiting nature explorers late spring/ early summer 2020, and the first wild orchid was spotted in an area colonised by ox-eye daisies.
The seasonal task of mowing and raking the meadow will take place in the late summer months to remove excess nutrients, whilst woody stemmed plants such as common hogweed, are cleared once seed heads appear, to prevent infestation.
Tree packs donated through the Woodland Trust have allowed us to plant a native hedge close to the local school boundary fence, (rowan, black thorn, dog rose and hazel), whilst the woodlands remain one of the best naturalised bluebell locations in the Workington area.
Due to the continued commitment of the WNP Wombles, and initiatives including the National Citizen Service, to improve the area, the gardens have because a destination place for many families with young children, dog walkers, and local people taking their daily exercise.
Additionally, due to its central location, the site provides a natural stepping stone in the wildlife corridor, between Hall Park, Banklands and, Ellerbeck/ Harrington Nature Reserve.
Access is free all year round.
The easiest way to access the gardens is to turn off Newlands Lane, just past Amathea Care Home. Once parked, make your way towards the back of the area and down the steps to the gardens.
Parking is free.