GUARDIANS of a popular beauty spot are hoping to bring a currently-closed area of the site back into public use.

The Friends of St Ives have the chance to buy the lease on a small, walled garden area and an adjacent presently-overgrown plot.

But the group needs to raise £30,000 and there is a limited timespan to acquire the sites, currently in the ownership of a private company.

Friends’ chairman, Pam Laking, says the acquisition would be a “fantastic opportunity” for the Harden estate – which attracts thousands of visitors, of all ages, every year.

And she hopes a local company or individual benefactor may be willing to help fund the move.

“The Friends have recently been granted charitable status but due to the time constraints for buying the lease we wouldn’t be able to go through the prolonged procedure of identifying potential sources of funding and applying for grants,” said Mrs Laking.

“Our hope is that there is a generous benefactor out there or a firm that loves St Ives as much as we do and would like to see these areas back in public hands and providing a wonderful space for people to enjoy for years to come.

“We would name the garden area after the donator.

“We realise we’re asking a lot, but this is a huge and quite amazing chance and we would be massively grateful to anyone who feels able to give their support.”

The walled garden is adjacent to what was the history garden.

Features such as scrub would be retained, but there would also be grassed space and benches.

“It’s a secure site where people will be able to sit and enjoy the surroundings and learn about the abundance of plants and wildlife,” said Mrs Laking.

“The other area we’re seeking to acquire the lease on is adjacent and stretches down to the picnic site.

“It’s very overgrown at the moment and there’s no public access, but we will look at ideas on how we could utilise it.

“There would be a connecting gate between the two areas”

If the Friends are successful in buying the lease, volunteers would help see to the upkeep of the sites.

“The estate is enjoyed by so many people but currently a lot of it is in private hands,” added Mrs Laking.

“It would be wonderful if we could bring these areas, which are potentially a huge asset to St Ives and what we can provide for our visitors, into everybody’s ownership.

“We could have a 100-year lease, or seek an extension beyond that.”

Mrs Laking said she would be happy to meet any potential benefactors at the estate and show them the areas concerned. She can be contacted on 07958 780391 or

For more about the estate, visit