RHS Garden Bridgewater celebrates first anniversary

RHS Bridgewater marks a spectacular first year with almost half a million visitors

Since opening in May 2021, RHS Bridgewater, a unique garden designed to be at the heart of the local community, has welcomed more than 7,000 visits from young people from across Greater Manchester for educational visits and 18,000 Salford residents as part of the Free Salford Tuesdays scheme, now extended to May 2023.

To celebrate the garden’s first anniversary, the 500,000th visitor to RHS Garden Bridgewater will receive an RHS Life Membership, so they can enjoy days out at the garden for many years to come.

Whether inspiring the next generation of gardeners, helping local groups to enjoy the health benefits of gardening, creating great days out for our visitors or even being the setting for marriage proposals; Bridgewater has had a truly memorable first year.

RHS Bridgewater in numbers: 

  • More than 482,000 visitors
  • 18,160 free tickets issued to Salford Residents
  • 162 jobs created with more than 30 more planned for 2022
  • Engaged with 539 young people and 425 local people on our Community Outreach projects
  • Community Garden plots, support, tools and seeds supplied to 10 local groups
  • 51 weekly wellbeing sessions provided to service users, carers groups and health care teams (since September 2021)
  • 147 volunteers across 13 different roles.
  • 263,000 plants, including over 1,800 trees, more than 85,000 bulbs and 10,000 aquatic plants
  • Free educational visits for 7,300 young people from 155 schools from all 10 Greater Manchester Boroughs
  • Zero single use plastics used in the Bridgewater Café, saving 78,000 plastic bottles from landfill.
  • 109,000 cakes and over 141,000 cups of coffee served in the Bridgewater Café
  • 20,000 house plants, over 150,000 garden plants and over 25,000 packets of seeds purchased in the Garden Centre

A memorable first year

Richard Green, Head of RHS Garden Bridgewater, said: “A big thank you to all our partners, supporters, volunteers, team and visitors who have helped the garden exceed all expectations in its first year. It’s been great to see that as well as being a place of beauty, the garden is delivering tangible benefits to the region and supporting the local community through our education and community outreach programmes, social prescribing and free wellbeing activities.”

A word from our stakeholders

Paul Dennett, Salford City Mayor, said: “My congratulations to RHS Garden Bridgewater for what has been a spectacularly successful first year with record visitor numbers and thousands of Salford residents benefiting from free access and volunteering opportunities.

“We knew bringing the garden to Salford would have huge benefits for our local economy through visitor spend and job creation. We’ve already seen 162 jobs created and another 30 in the pipeline with more to come. Just under half of the staff live in Salford and 56 per cent of them live within five miles so this truly is benefitting local people.

“I’m also pleased to see five apprentices have been able to start their journey into an exciting career and three people have been given special horticultural placements to develop their skills. We very much wanted to – pardon the pun – grow the next generation of talented plant specialists and they are learning from some of the best in the business right here in Salford. 

“I wish them and RHS Garden Bridgewater every success for the coming years.”

Steven Underwood, Chief Executive of The Peel Group said: “The Peel Group are incredibly proud to be a Founding Partner of RHS Garden Bridgewater, and we are absolutely thrilled to hear how successful the RHS’ fifth and largest horticultural garden has been in its first year, attracting visitors from the local community, the region and beyond. 

“It is testament to the dedication, hard work and enthusiasm of the RHS Garden Bridgewater team, to learn that over 7,000 young people from across 155 schools in Greater Manchester have visited the garden.

“By working in partnership with the RHS Garden Bridgewater team, we have had the opportunity to create the Peel Learning Garden, which is a space dedicated to life-long learning and teaching all-ages about the benefits of wildlife and how we can work together to look after nature.

“Following an incredible first year of success, we send our warmest congratulations to the team at the RHS Garden Bridgewater. We look forward to continuing our partnership with RHS Garden Bridgewater and Salford City Council to welcome many more schools, young people and communities to enjoy, explore and feel inspired by this magnificent garden located in the heart of Salford”.

Bridgewater was made possible by Salford City Council and The Peel Group. Salford City Council invested £19 million into the project which will bring substantial economic and tourism benefits to the city, its communities and the north west region. The Peel Group are custodians of the former Worsley New Hall estate where the garden has been created.

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The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.