A rainbow of colours including pale pastels, mauves, yellows, whites, rich pinks and purples will greet visitors to a County Durham town's newest attraction.

The Northern Echo was granted a privileged first look at the new historic walled garden set to open in Bishop Auckland this Saturday, the culmination of a ten-year rejuvenation project.

Andy Nesbitt, head curator of parks, gardens and landscapes at The Auckland Project, had the honour of cutting the ribbon to officially open the re-developed gardens in front of a specially invited audience yesterday (Thursday, May 23).

The Northern Echo: Andy Nesbitt Head Curator of Parks, Gardens & Landscapes at The Auckland Project officially opens

The seeds have been planted and, although the flowers aren’t quite yet in bloom, it's clear that the garden is going to be beautiful when in its full glory.

Located next to the project's recently opened Faith Museum, the garden has been returned to its former 17th Century glory, with an array of beautiful flowers and fresh produce that can be enjoyed in the project's cafes and restaurants.

Lying on a steep slope in a sun-soaked and sheltered spot, the walled garden was historically used by the Prince Bishops for cultivating vegetables.

One of the most impressive features in the garden is the Glasshouse, at the top of the site, which measures 23 metres long, six metres tall and five-and-a-half metres wide.

The Northern Echo: Gardener Joseph Bushby pictured in the Glass House of the re-developed Walled Garden at Auckland

The building is the starting point for every single plant, vegetable, fruit and herb before they are grown within the grounds of the garden.

Guests of all ages will be able to walk the length of the glasshouse, examining the wide variety of fruit and vegetables that will start their life there.

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From unusual varieties of tomatoes - including banana leg tomatoes - to different varieties of cucumbers, carrots, lemons and oranges, it will be a hive of activity with the gardening team, its volunteers, community-led events and visits from schools.

The Northern Echo: The Food & Beverage team and gardeners at the opening of the re-developed Walled Garden at Auckland

The Wilderness Garden features sycamores, beech and evergreens, replanted to shape the view and guide visitors’ eyes along the undulating parkland and landscape.

To encourage biodiversity and native insects, birds, mammals and reptiles to the garden, the team has planted more than 12,000 spring bulbs and used more than three-and-a half kilograms of wildflower mix, creating a rustic, wild and natural feel to the garden that will mature to its full potential over the coming years.

The garden has been designed by Pip Morrison, whose previous work includes the reimagined Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace, London, which surrounds the commentative statue of Princess Diana.  

The Northern Echo: The opening of the re-developed Walled Garden at Auckland Castle

She said: "We've designed a garden that responded to the history of the site as the productive garden of the Bishops of Durham but also created something visually appealing to visitors.

"The project is designed to be sympathetic to Auckland Castle’s architecture and was a consideration when developing the designs, planting, and textures."

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It is hoped the garden will become a must-see visitor attraction, bringing in thousands more people to Bishop Auckland.

The Auckland Project’s 17th century Walled Garden at Auckland Castle is due to open to the public for the first time this Saturday (May 25) at 10.30am.

An unlimited pass or general admissions ticket is required for access to the garden, which can be booked here: www.aucklandproject.org