ON A recent visit, the Bishop of Blackburn, the
Rt Revd Julian Henderson, took the opportunity to thank the group
of volunteer gardeners for their dedication in looking after the
gardens of Whalley Abbey, in the Ribble Valley.
The diocesan retreat and conference house is set in the lovely
gardens of the ruined Cistercian monastery, and the women from the
Whalley in Bloom Community Group, who like to call themselves the
"Lavender Ladies", meet there twice a month to tend the gardens and
help the full-time gardener. They do everything from the
kitchen-garden borders to maintaining the hanging baskets to keep
the place looking its best.
The abbey is owned and managed by the diocesan board of finance,
and the house is not only used as a retreat and conference centre,
but also hosts business events and weddings. There is "four-star
bed and breakfast accommodation" for those wishing to stay
overnight or longer, and the grounds and ruins are also open to the
public for a small fee.