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Hereford Cathedral Close & Lady Arbour Garden

Adding a new chapter to a site’s complex story

Cathedral Close is one of the few green public spaces in the centre of Hereford, as well as an important historic site where the sacred and secular meet. It has always been a popular place to sit and relax, and a well-used walking route across the city, but before our new design, it had been suffering from a period of neglect and had become a focus for antisocial behaviour, particularly at night.

We were commissioned by the Dean and Chapter of Hereford Cathedral to produce a detailed landscape masterplan for the Close and the Lady Arbour Garden, following our successful redesign of the Chapter House Garden a few years before. 

Our design transformed and revitalised the public spaces around the cathedral, and included a new, stone-paved space at the west front, restored railings, realigned and resurfaced paths, planting of semi-mature trees, the re-siting of Elgar’s statue and a tranquil new garden in the Lady Arbour Cloisters. In addition, it created a much improved setting for the Cathedral, enhanced wayfinding and provided a series of practical spaces that draw on the rich history of the site in their robust but elegant detailing.

The project was part financed by the Heritage Lottery Fund and involved collaboration with local and national artists, as well as consultation with local groups and statutory bodies.

The design involved the use of local materials throughout. Seats were made from locally grown oak, donated by Herefordshire landowners and carved by Jim Partridge.

“… a space of which we can be truly proud – placing the jewel of the cathedral in a worthy setting and providing a welcome to residents, pilgrims and visitors alike!” 

Michael Tavinor, Dean of Hereford Cathedral