Deputy Lieutenant Bill Biddell has officially opened a new space for people to enjoy quiet contemplation in Upper Hale.
The Chapels’ Garden is in Hale Cemetery and is on the site of two former chapels which had fallen into disuse and disrepair.
The new garden incorporates many of the chapels’ original features and has been planted with varieties of trees and plants which appear in the bible.
As Mr Biddell declared the garden open, he was watched by the mayor of Farnham, Councillor Alan Earwaker, and guests. As a former place of worship, the garden was blessed by the Rt Rev Dr Christopher Herbert.
Cllr Earwaker thanked guests for attending and paid particular tribute to the team that undertook a high-quality transformation in a sympathetic and professional way.
In the early days of the project, the Farnham Building Preservation Trust worked with Farnham Town Council to assess the condition of the chapels and to put forward suggestions for their future.
These suggestions were explored further by the Hale Chapels Trust before it was eventually concluded a community garden was the best option.
Cllr Earwaker said: “The Chapels’ Garden is a beautiful space. The designers have made a wonderful job of repurposing the site. Parts of the chapels were removed to make them safe, but the materials have been reused in many ways. If you visit the gardens, you will see how the gable windows and stone mullions have been stabilised at a lower height and how seating has been installed around the corners of the chapels and flint setts have been used to mark the boundaries.
“The sound of water from the water feature and the perfume of the garden makes this a very relaxing and peaceful space.”
After the official opening, members of the wider community were invited for a tour of the gardens and the opportunity to ask questions about the garden creation.
The garden was designed by Graduate Landscapes and constructed by multi award-winning garden landscapers Landform Consultants.