London: A secret garden locked away for 20 years will be re-opened after a £7.2 million (Dh49 million) makeover.
The 18th-century Water Gardens and Brewhouse in Bushy Park, which became so overgrown, derelict and dangerous that they were shut to the public in 1986, are to be part of a huge rebuilding and replanting project in the 1,000-acre grounds.
It is hoped the Royal Parks scheme, made possible with £4.5 million (Dh30 million) of Heritage Lottery Fund money, will see the area restored to its former beauty.
Sara Lom, director of the Royal Parks Foundation, which is responsible for raising the rest of the cash, said: "Bushy Park is the sleeping beauty of the Royal Parks and needs to be given the breath of life it deserves.
"Our visionary project will open doors to areas which have not been appreciated or cared for for more than two decades."
The Water Gardens were created in 1710 by Charles Montagu, first Earl of Halifax, before falling into disrepair.
Lom said: "They are central to the Bushy story and are of huge heritage significance. They are also one of the finest examples of their kind and include tiered basins and a thundering cascade of water."
The plans include repairing alcove walls, reconnecting the water supply to the fountain and removing thick silt in the pools. An 18th-century painting, owned by the Royal Collection, will be used as a guideline to help the restorers.
A wooden footbridge will be built over Longford River to connect the Water Gardens to the Brewhouse, which has also been shut since the Eighties. Lom said the building, designed with red brickwork, was on English Heritage's "at risk" register.