THE clock has been turned back at the historic Rivington Terraced Gardens with the reinstatement of one of its iconic feature.

And it is all thanks to the hard work of the local volunteers.

When Rivington Terraced Gardens were originally created for Lord Leverhulme in the early 1900s, a sundial had stood on the corner of the Orchestra Lawn.

Following Lord Leverhulme’s death in 1925, the lavishly beautiful gardens fell into decline and the sundial disappeared.

All that remained of the sundial was the circular stone plinth that it once sat upon ­— until now.

For as part of the ongoing work being undertaken to preserve and protect the Gardens, a new sundial based on the original design was unveiled on Saturday at 1pm, dedicated to the volunteers who have worked in all weathers on the heritage project.

Moves to reinstall a sundial has been made possible thanks to the 600-plus registered volunteers who have been working to restore the gardens to their former 1900s glory as part of a multi-million pound heritage project.

The volunteers, whose ages range from seven to 86 regularly give up their evenings and weekends to clear vegetation, restore pathways and remove rubbish from the 45-acre site.

And their hard work has not only helped to create a better environment for visitors and wildlife, but has also saved the project over £90,000 that it would have otherwise had to pay to contractors.

Groundwork Heritage Manager Andrew Suter said: “Our volunteers are an amazingly dedicated group of people and it’s thanks to their hard work that we’ve been able to fund this piece of work. The sundial doesn’t just restore an important feature from the Gardens’ history but will also be a lasting testament to the role of local volunteers in helping to safeguard their future.”

In 2016, a project to preserve and protect the gardens, which is managed by Groundwork, received £3.4M in lottery funding. The money is being used to restore and reopen its eleven Grade II listed buildings, drain and desilt its two lakes and improve signage and access routes.

The project led to the reopening of the Pigeon Tower, much loved by Lady Leverhulme, after many decades.