New lease of life for Magic Circle in Lewes

The Magic Circle, which was created in 1920, is set to become a Peace Garden
The Magic Circle, which was created in 1920, is set to become a Peace Garden

Plans to restore the so-called ‘Magic Circle’ in Lewes will be unveiled later this month.

The classical feature behind the bowling green in the Castle Precincts was created in 1920, and has for been on the shortcut down the steps and back into Castle Ditch Lane.

But in recent years it has become an overgrown and thus hidden area – the water feature was removed and vandalism damaged the parts of the original structures that remained.

Earlier this year it was described as being in a state of ‘scandalous disrepair’.

Now the Friends of Lewes Society aims to give the Magic Circle a new lease of life as a Peace Garden.

The town’s civic society has for some years been planning to do something about this area, believing it can be reinstated with a nod to its first purpose as a place to pause and reflect in pleasant surroundings.

Rebuilding the classical stonework is not realistic, but it can still be a feature on a key tourist route from the Castle Precincts back to the High Street.

The bureaucratic processes of establishing a Right of Way and ownership are now complete and the Friends say it is time to share the plan and seek support.

The original circle will be repaved and the path improved. Wooden seating of a robust nature will be provided, the shrubbery will be reduced and replanted and alongside, facing the car park, another area with a more open circular arrangement of seating will be created, with associated landscaping of the surrounding slopes.

It is planned to have this work completed by the centenary of the peace at the end of the First World War and for the whole area to be known as a Peace Garden, echoing the title of the book by its creator Frank Frankfort Moore – A Garden of Peace.

The Friends say that at present informal consultations are taking place with the various authorities concerned with the site and an archaeological survey has been commissioned as a result of this. This should pave the way for a formal planning application to be made shortly.

Full details of the project will be available at the Friends’ meeting in the Council Chamber of Lewes Town Hall at 7.30pm on September 14, when a campaign will be launched to raise funds for the project to meet the difference between the cost and what the town and district councils and any grant-making trusts are likely to contribute.

This presentation is open to all who are interested and for those who would like to view the site first there is a chance to do so immediately beforehand at 7pm prompt.