Building conservation safeguards Great Dixter

A NEW restoration project will protect Northiam’s Great Dixter House and gardens for generations to come.

Great Dixter, home of the late gardening innovator Christopher Lloyd, attracts visitors from all over the world.

Work will be carried out to the Grade 1 listed house, the core of which was built between 1440 and 1454; and the Grade 2 listed Great Barn and Oast House.

The project includes the creation of a new garden shop, which will be situated in an oak-framed, timber clad building on the position of the existing glass greenhouse.

The shop will include new toilet facilities for visitors.

Important conservation repairs will be carried out to the Great Barn and Oast House while a new stair case will allow public access to the first floor of the southern end of the barn where the old hop press is situated. Visitors will be able to learn about the methodology of drying hops.

A lost external stair will be re-instated to create a circular visitor route.

The work is being carried out by Hawkhurst based Davis Builders. Contract manager Sajeesh Nair said: “We work extensively on listed and period properties requiring lot of careful repairs and restoration of the structure and fabric of the building whilst preserving the character of the buildings.

“We have worked closely with National Trust and English Heritage over the last few years on various projects in and around Kent.”

The work is environmentally friendly with a woodchip fired biomass boiler and a new rainwater harvesting storage tank.

The medieval house at Great Dixter was added to in 1910 by Lutyens, working for the new owner Nathaniel Lloyd, Christopher Lloyd’s father.

The estate is now owned and operated by a private charitable trust established by Christopher Lloyd before his death. It provides opportunities and bursaries for young and innovative gardeners to study.