Brown was employed at Trentham from 1759 to 1780 during which he extended the mile long lake and made it integral to the surrounding woods and parkland which he retained and refined. Over the centuries these features had become obscured so The Trentham Estate is now involved in one of the biggest parklands projects in Britain, aimed at rediscovering Capability’s lost landscape. The project has made significant progress on the ground with the removal of inappropriate woodland planting which once obscured the connection between Brown’s lake and the adjacent parkland. This has immediately reconnected the park with the lake and exposed the veteran trees. The transformation will be enhanced by introducing stunning contemporary woodland and meadow plantings through the length of Brown’s lakeside walk which will be created by the renowned specialist Nigel Dunnett and his colleagues at the University of Sheffield.
Anyone interested in learning more can join the Trentham Estate team for a Capability Brown Landscape Tour, which is scheduled for Sunday February 8th starting at 1.30pm. The tour is free for annual ticket holders, and included in the price of day visitors buying the winter admission ticket.
As well as hearing about the major restoration project, walkers will also learn about Brown’s enormous impact at the Trentham Estate, from enlarging the lake to creating parkland. The tour will explore the restored connection between Kings Wood and the lake, point-out a number of Brownian aged trees and visit the recently revealed Victorian Red Woods. Future plans - including the introduction of grazing, and the opportunity to reinvigorate some of the present-day lakeside attractions - will also be highlighted. The tour will take in the remains of Trentham Hall, the discovery of the once forgotten Ice House and the location of the world’s second oldest cast iron bridge, constructed in 1779.
The ongoing project, which is explained to Trentham’s current-day visitors via a series of interpretation panels and guided tours, is also helping to better identify the line of a former Ha-ha (a sunken fence which prevented grazing livestock from entering the gardens without obstructing the views), a Georgian triple tunnel boat house, and the location of the Georgian Ice House.
The Trentham Estate re-opened to the public just over a decade ago, and has won one of Europe’s top awards for its restoration work. Famous for its historic Italian Gardens, and for Piet Oudolf’s Rivers of Grass, Trentham Gardens is currently in the running for the BBC Countryfile Magazine Garden of the Year award and you can vote for them to win until 31st January.
- About the author: Grant Mantle, Marketing Assistant, Trentham Estate www.trentham.co.uk.