Preparing for the Future at Quarr Abbey
The Two Abbeys Project at Quarr on the Isle of Wight, U.K., has received a grant of £1.9M from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), for which partnership funding in excess of £200K has to be found. This will enable essential consolidation work to be carried out in the ancient abbey ruins. In the Bellot Abbey, repairs will be carried out to remedy rain penetration, as well as some other high-level repairs. In the stable yard of the Victorian country house, which was incorporated into the monastery, buildings will be adapted to form a visitor information centre and an improved bookshop. Landscaping and improved signage access and parking will also contribute to the visitor experience and understanding. At the time of writing tenders for the work have been received and a contractor will be appointed shortly.
The plans for these works have been drawn up with great care to ensure that the foreseen increase in visitors does not impinge on the contemplative life of the community. Attention has also been given to minimise the impact of the works on the ecological diversity of the site. Plans are now being implemented to enhance the extensive woodlands, pastures, and wetlands at Quarr so that the red squirrel and other protected species can continue to flourish.
The HLF grant covers only the part of the monastery open to the public. Extensive surveys and considerable thought and consultation have made it possible to produce plans for the next ten years to safeguard the future of the rest of the monastic buildings and the economic viability of the monastic community at Quarr.
Apart from the four hundred years of its pre-Reformation existence, Quarr Abbey has been a place of solace and spiritual help for the island, and indeed for the wider community, for over a hundred years. The present community has greatly extended the area accessible to the public, as well as the facilities available, in the hope of making it possible for more people to benefit from the peace it offers.