The pigeon tower at Rivington

Rivington Terraced Gardens is a magical place of hidden paths, caves, structures and lakes covering 45 acres of hillside.

The Gardens were originally created for soap magnate Lord Leverhulme as a spectacular venue for him to relax in and entertain. Situated on the hillside below Rivington Pike, the Gardens were designed by noted landscape designer Thomas Mawson between 1905-1922.

Rivington Terraced Gardens are totally unique, with iconic structures like the Pigeon Tower, the Seven Arch Bridge, the Summer Houses and Loggia. There’s also the Pulham rock faces around the pathways and the lakes. The Italian Lake is where Leverhulme used to take his morning swim and the beautiful Japanese Lake was once looked upon from glamorous oriental pagoda-style tea houses.

There’s always something happening at the Gardens, with lots to do and activities for people of all ages and abilities. You can attend one of the fun events, get involved in the conservation and repair project, join the garden and research team, or just come with the family for a great day out. (See things to see and do – below)

The History

Following Lord Leverhulme’s death in 1925, the property was sold and the gardens began to fall into disrepair. The houses were demolished after World War II, and Rivington Terraced Gardens were left to the forces of nature. Sixty years later, United Utilities now own the land and a project to repair and conserve the Gardens is well underway.

In 2016 £3.4Million in funding was secured from the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of a £4Million restoration package. The plans are being driven forward by a partnership of the Rivington Heritage Trust, Groundwork Cheshire Lancashire and Merseyside and United Utilities. 

Conserving and protecting the gardens

Work is underway to stabilise and consolidate the decaying structures within the Gardens, so that they can be enjoyed by generations to come. Access to and around the Gardens is also being improved so that more people can visit.

As the project progresses and more of the shrubs, self-seeded trees and mud are cleared away, the original shape of Lord Leverhulme’s garden is becoming more visible. New paths are being discovered, new stairways uncovered, and visitors to the gardens are beginning to see how it once might have been.

We don’t plan to restore the Gardens to their original plans as this would be far too costly to create and maintain. People have also grown to enjoy the Gardens in their current wooded state. The improvements to the Gardens will also mean they are better managed in the future, safeguarding their heritage for generations to come.

A programme of skills development and volunteering have already helped to establish it as a living and vibrant resource for local people to become involved and improve their skills.

Things to see and do
  • Garden and history enthusiasts will delight in stories about Thomas Mawson – the world’s first “landscape gardener”, James Pulham – a landscape gardener specialising in rock gardens and grottoes, and Edith Rigby – the suffragette who burned down Lever’s original house in the Gardens.
  • Families and children will love exploring the paths, finding caves and exploring the foundation remains of the Bungalow.
  • Walkers and runners love the steps, inclines and hills and this majestic entrance to the West Pennine Moors.
  • Wildlife and nature enthusiasts will enjoy the interesting plants that have survived from the oriental gardens, the vast variety of fungi, and the many birds and animals that live here. Will you spot some of our roe deer as you explore the myriad of pathways?

Stop by at the Visitor Centre and pick up a map to help you on your journey of discovery.


Rivington Terraced Gardens sit on layers of terraces on the western side of Winter Hill, just below Rivington Pike. The hill is steep with uneven paths. It is not accessible to wheelchairs, and even the most ruggedly built pram would struggle. There are a lot of steps. Sensible footwear is advised.


Car parking
There are quite a few Car Parks dotted around the base of the Gardens, and visitors also tend to park around the lanes.

Food and Drink
The area is well-served for tea rooms and cafes in the village of Rivington, at the base of the hill.

There are well-maintained public toilets below the Visitor Centre, at the base of the hill.

Great House Visitor Centre
As well as finding maps, walking guides and books here at the Visitor Centre, you will also find exhibits about the local area – the reservoirs, Rivington Village and Liverpool Castle.

Great House Visitor Centre
Rivington Lane

For more information

Heritage Projects Manager: Andrew Suter 

Development Officer: Liam Roche 

Education Officer: Briony.Jolley    E:

You can read more about the project on the Rivington Heritage Trust website.

You can also get the latest updates about progress and activities at the Gardens via social media:

Facebook: Rivington Terraced Gardens

Twitter: @RivingtonTG

This project is delivered in partnership by:

Logos from Groundwork, United Utilities, Heritage Lottery Fund, Lancashire County Council and Chorley Council.