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The site originally consisted of dunes and cliff top vegetation at the southern end leading northwards into a pine plantation, planted by the Wentworth Lodge Estate. The gardens came into Bournemouth Borough Council's ownership on 15th July 1912, being purchased from the Wentworth Lodge Estate as a freehold for the sum of £5200. The Right Honourable W.H. Berkeley, Viscount Portman sold the land on the understanding that it would be used for the purpose of public walks and pleasure grounds - and maintained as such.
Landscaping was undertaken initially with the laying out of paths which followed the tracks taken by local fisherman who, during the 19th century, used this route to get to the sea. The Fisherman's Walk rest garden was originally laid out in the 1930s and included a sunken garden with formal bedding and lawns surrounded by ornamental stone walling (still in existence). The rest garden was officially opened on Sunday 13th June, 1937.
The woodland was enhanced under the Gardens of Excellence programme during the winter of 1996/97 - this included removal of selected trees and clearance of rhododendron and other overgrown shrubs. The transition between the rest garden and the woodland is planted with holm oaks, being trained to form pleached columns.
The Friends of Fishermans Walk came into existence in 2007, and have helped to bring on a number of changes. These have included the planting of native bulbs, the repainting of the bandstand, and the installation of a series of wooden sculptures created by a local artist, using oak sourced from another Bournemouth park.
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