The Cascade is the much-loved Grade I water feature central to Chatsworth’s garden and has amazed, delighted and awed visitors since its inception in 1696.

It is now one of the UK’s most important surviving early 18th century water features, and one of the few remaining early parts of Chatsworth’s formal gardens.

While the rest of its surroundings have changed in line with new aspirations, uses and tastes, the Cascade would be just as familiar to a visitor of 1724 as one of 2024.

Over the centuries the design of the Cascade has been modified significantly and almost doubled in length. In 1830 a tunnel was built underneath it to transport coal to the Great Conservatory, and this intervention significantly weakened its structure. Despite regular maintenance, the Cascade is now in need of fundamental and urgent repair to ensure its future sustainability:

  • The lack of water running over its steps indicates the severity of the leakage and water ingress is undermining its structure.
  • It is now too dangerous to access the tunnel that runs underneath it and sink holes are appearing near the feature.
  • For public safety, areas need to be closed off and the Cascade can only be operated at limited times, this is resulting in a very visible and psychological impact for our visitors.

Without essential restoration work there is a risk of irreversible damage to the Cascade and the destruction of the tunnel, wider landscape and environment, with increasing long-term reconstruction costs.

‘The volume of water escaping the structure has notably increased and further exacerbated the displacement of the masonry vault of the tunnel. The rate of deterioration is visibly accelerating.’

A major restoration project

The Celebrating the Cascade project, will carry out the essential restoration and repair work that is urgently required to save the Grade I listed Cascade and enable it to be understood and enjoyed for generations to come.

Through the project we will work with our visitors and communities, inviting them to see themselves as part of the 500-year story of Chatsworth that continues to this day.

Sharing heritage stories of engineering and innovation

The project will tell visitors the whole Cascade story - how it sits as the centrepiece of a complex ‘water artery’ running from the moors, lakes and to the Derwent river – and share the associated engineering, environmental and built heritage stories.

Increasing skills and improving wellbeing

A co-produced activity programme focussed on developing STEAM skills and using the natural heritage landscape to improve health and wellbeing in response to the needs identified by our communities.

A major fundraising campaign

The total costs of the project are estimated to be over £7 million and we are now in the Development phase of this project following a successful first round award from The National Lottery Heritage Fund and funding of £422,000 to kick start the project.

We now need to raise around £2.5 million to be able to submit a second-stage application to The National Lottery Heritage Fund which, if successful, will release a further grant award of almost £5 million to fund the project delivery and enable us to:

  • Undertake the essential, specialist restoration/conservation work to ensure that the Cascade can operate sustainably, safeguarding it for future generations.
  • Interpret the Cascade within the house and gardens enabling a greater understanding of the significance of the heritage and its innovative hydraulic engineering, for our staff, volunteers, schools, community groups, visitors and digital audiences, linking to themes of water conservation and environmental sustainability.
  • Enable more people to see and experience Chatsworth as a place for them to enjoy
  • Work with community groups and schools to co-create an accessible activity programme focussed on developing STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths) skills and using the natural heritage landscape to improve health and wellbeing.

75% of our current garden visitors say the Cascade is very important to their visit.

This really is a major project of national significance and we would like to invite you to play a part in something important, beautiful and lasting … we hope for another 300 years.

Please help to save the Cascade for future generations to enjoy by making a donation:


Learn more...

About The National Lottery Heritage Fund

The National Lottery Heritage Fund is the largest funder for the UK’s heritage. Using money raised by National Lottery players we support projects that connect people and communities to heritage. Our vision is for heritage to be valued, cared for and sustained for everyone, now and in the future.

From historic buildings, our industrial legacy and the natural environment, to collections, traditions, stories and more. Heritage can be anything from the past that people value and want to pass on to future generations. We believe in the power of heritage to ignite the imagination, offer joy and inspiration, and to build pride in place and connection to the past.

Main image credit - aerial view of the Cascade at Chatsworth by Peter Landers

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