A ROCK garden dating back to just before the outbreak of the First World War is being restored to its former glory.

The garden, at Newby Hall and Gardens, is the focus of a major five-year restoration plan being undertaken by the newly-appointed head gardener Phil Cormie.

Mr Cormie recently joined the Newby Hall team from the Himalayan Garden and Sculpture Park in Ripon and has replaced Mark Jackson, who had been with Newby for 25-years.

He now has the task of rejuvenating the rock garden which is famed for its collection of trees and a 172-metre-long double herbaceous border.

Newby Hall ledgers show that major work was done creating a rockery in the grounds in 1913 and 1914 but due to the outbreak of the war it was largely left to fend for itself.

Records show that by the date when the rockery was completed, August 27 1914, three of the Newby Hall gardening team had already signed up for Kitchener's Army.

Many did not return, and for those that did, there were few gardening jobs.

Maintenance of the gardens was thus reduced to weed control.

In the ensuing decades the rock garden has not had major work done to as rock gardens fell out of fashion.

That is all set to change over the next five years as the garden will be restored by Mr Cormie and his team who will be guided by research that has shed light on how it would have looked back in 1914.