Early 19th Century gardening journals told us that steps existed from near the entrance down to the grotto but we had not been able to establish the location to any degree of certainty. There were two or three slopes that might have provided a route that matched the description but in January 2018 Ann and Becca started excavating one of the rock slopes. Over the course of a few working parties they began to uncover concrete blocks that looked as though they could have been risers to a staircase, and there the (stair)case rested – until October 2022.
Alan Bishop & Associates returned to Danesbury Fernery in October 2022 to reconstruct the steps on the South Bank that had been excavated in 2018 as part of the site clearance, but not restored.
With moneys ‘left over’ from recent Pulhamite Repair Funding from the National Lottery, and a Community Grant from the Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council, volunteers Harry, Alan and Colin led a Project to bring Alan Bishop & Associates back on-site to restore the steps to their likely original Pulhamite quality.
To meet the costs of so-doing it was necessary for the volunteers themselves to prepare the site in advance by clearing away rubble, recovering several unused large stones from around the site to create a platform half way down and constructing footings and step risers ready for Alan Bishop’s arrival.
Alan Bishop and Jules then moved in and spent 4x days demonstrating once again their amazing skills in constructing a flight of steps that Pulhams themselves would have been proud of in 1860.