Project Pilgrim

Gloucester Cathedral
Gloucester Cathedral | 2017 - 2018 |

A once-in-a-lifetime regeneration project to improve and restore parts of the eleventh century cathedral

idverde was delighted to be awarded a contract with Gloucester Cathedral to deliver the soft and hard landscaping elements of a prestigious external landscaping scheme, designed and managed by New Leaf Studios.

Project Background

Part of the Cathedral’s ten-year plan – entitled ‘Project Pilgrim’ – the landscaping package transforms the external landscape surrounding the Cathedral, turning the car park in College Green into a grassed and paved public area.

Project Pilgrim is the culmination of years of planning by the Cathedral to carry out a once-in-a-lifetime regeneration project to improve and restore parts of the eleventh century building. Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and through the generosity of Trusts and individuals, Project Pilgrim is an ambitious ten-year programme of capital development, regeneration and community engagement.

Our role

The landscaping element required clearance and demolition of the existing car parks, vegetation and street furniture before excavations could begin for the new landscape.

Landscaping works included:

  • Installation of a new gravelled car park area, edged with salvaged granite setts.
  • Construction of a raised terrace area leading to the West entrance, with steps leading to it incorporating planters, constructed with imported French limestone.
  • To the south porch, building a new public open space incorporating hard and soft landscaping elements around a central spiral arrangement. Three paving bands run throughout the scheme including Scoutmoor Yorkstone and Porphyry stone, with reclaimed sandstone riven paving slabs re-laid to the outer perimeter of the scheme, adjacent to neighbouring properties.
  • Groundworks including drainage have been completed, with bespoke slot drains incorporated within the circular paving bands, to have minimal aesthetic impact on the scheme.
  • Bespoke timber and stainless steel seating installed on top of the newly created circular, limestone seating arrangements.
  • Lighting is incorporated throughout the scheme, with in-ground spotlights, wall lights, column lights and bollards installed by idverde throughout.
  • Soft landscaping works to create the detailed and unusual planting scheme specified in the design began in March 2017.


An over 1,000 year old religious site comes with a unique set of challenges for construction projects!

The works have been subject throughout to a ‘Full-time Archaeological Watching Brief’, with a team of archaeologists working side-by-side with the idverde construction team to ensure that no stone is left unturned when it comes to preserving items of religious, historical or human importance.

Throughout the first phase of demolition and subsequent excavation works, hundreds of items requiring documentation and investigation were discovered; these included over 100 finds of human or animal remains, coins, a Saxon wall predating the Cathedral and a full set of human remains half buried under the Cathedral’s foundations.

As a site of such historical and religious importance, it has been crucial for our teams to plan works sensitively. The Cathedral must remain open at all times, with designated ‘quiet times’ for religious services and other key events, when our teams must stop work or limit activity to that which does not make noise. Access has had to be maintained constantly, whilst ensuring the safety of the public and those visiting the site and its surrounding homes and businesses.

In line with this, it has been essential to carefully plan deliveries to site around quiet times and times of busy footfall, to ensure safety and minimal impact on site users.


Following the culmination of the project in 2018, idverde was delighted to receive a British Association of Landscape Industries (BALI) National Award in recognition of the high standards of workmanship delivered on this challenging regeneration project.