This is the fifth year Renishaw has been open to raise money for local charities and for the NGS, which last year raised pounds 1.6m from the opening of gardens in England and Wales. Charities benefiting from the NGS are the Cancer Relief Macmillan Fund - which has received over pounds 3m from the scheme in the last decade; the Gardeners' Royal Benevolent Society; the Royal Gardeners' Orphan Fund; the Queen's Nursing Institute; the Nurses Welfare Service; and the National Trust's Gardens Fund.
The paired marble figures, with their backs to the house, are Diana and Neptune; on either side of the central lawn, inside two smaller square lawns, there are candle fountains made of Veronese marble. To the west there is an avenue of limes, planted in the 17th century, and a Gothic temple. Tulips, azaleas and magnolias are all in flower at this time of year. A woodland walk leads to an avenue of camellias, then to a classical temple, caves and lakes.
Renishaw will be open again on 29-30 May, and on 28-29 August. This year over 3,500 gardens will open under the scheme; information about them is published in the NGS's 'yellow' guide book, priced pounds 3 and available at most bookshops. For further information, contact: the National Gardens Scheme, Hatchlands Park, East Clandon, Guildford, Surrey GU4 7RT, telephone 0483 211535.
Alston Town Hall Trustees, a charity based in Alston, Cumbria, is appealing to raise pounds 75,000 to repair its Victorian town hall and develop it into a multi-purpose centre for visitors. The building, which is Grade 2 listed, was built in the 19th century when the town and the surrounding area were the centre of a lead-mining industry. When the work is complete, the town hall will become a social centre for the local community and an information point for visitors.
The Parish Clerk, Sun House, Alston, Cumbria CA9 3HX, telephone 0434 381586.