The Park - Introduction Thistlemoor Wood
The Park is to be valued both for its tremendous historical provenance and for an overall coherence in its planting tradition, which has given the landscape a predominance of oak and grass, and has warded off intrusions. The city of Peterborough beats at the gate, but is barely heard, and the contrast between Park and town is startling.
Little Thistlemoor Deer Leap Wood
The topography of the Parkland is very gentle and over the centuries has offered a challenge to the family and to the designers who have worked in it. The success of the parkland has been achieved by varying the texture in the landscape and by making the most of the incidents within the Park. Where this is working well, as with the North Lawn, the effect is near perfect. Elsewhere in the Park the design has become diluted as trees have died, leaving either empty spaces or a thin, even spread in which relatively small-scale 20th century replants, with an unduly wide range of species, sit uneasily. Our proposals broadly fall into two categories: • Proposals which are aimed at reinforcing or redefining the underlying structure of the parkland where it has become weakened, but still essentially supports the current role of the Park, as an oasis and buffer between The Park Hall and Peterborough. Recommendations to consider the removal of trees within in the parkland fall into this category.
Sta mf or d
The Old Kennels
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We have divided the Park into seven character areas. For each of these areas we have described the current character and condition of the landscape and outlined our Proposals, both for the existing trees and new planting. The new planting is shown on a series of
• Proposals that have no direct historic precedent at The Park, but which respect its spirit and address the contemporary condition of the Park.
The Park Hall
There are three major proposals for new planting:
The Game Larder
• A circle of trees is proposed for Middle Park to animate a part of the parkland that has been denuded by arable farming. • Either side of South Park Drive scattered trees are proposed to delay the first open view of the Park.
Piccadilly Circus The Mount
The Pleasure Ground
• A series of clumps and single trees that will enhance views into and out of the Park from Greenchair and Ferry Drive. Proposals for the whole park are also shown on one Figure.
BUILDINGS AND THE RIDE Some emphasis has been given to very minor buildings and structures in the park – the Game Larder (which is surprisingly prominent
The Ice House (Site of)
in views from the east, the Old Kennels in the North Park (at present tumble down), the Ice House (a hole in the ground), the Mount (which is very likely to have had a summer house on it at some time, though there is little trace of it now). The following suggestions have been made as to how work on these buildings, or on buildings on these sites, could contribute to the coherence of the park.
Crickety Park (Golf Course)
e Driv Park
Green Chair Plantation
• Thatching the roof of the Old Kennels
• Replacing a structure on the site of the Ice House • Moving the Game Larder • A new structure on the Temple Axis Within the proposals there has been created a ride around the south and east sides of the Park. This ride would move in and out of more enclosed areas, framing and emphasising particular
Fe rry D
Heronry Plantation Gothic Lodge
Ferry Hill Plantation Temple Hill
views across the Park. Eventually it will be possible to go down the Long Walk and back up again past the kennels.
Survey Information The tree survey information and the analysis of the historical development of the parkland underpin our understanding of the existing character of the parkland and have informed the development of the proposals. The trees have been mapped rapidly with a range of field techniques and recorded on GIS software. We expect the tree positions to be accurate to within 10m. In the accompanying schedule we have identified each tree, made occasional notes of condition, and ascribed it to one of seven age-based classes, as follows: 1 Pollard. These trees all have the characteristic short-bole from which many laterals break. We regard these trees as 17th century, many may be much older. 2 Standard. These may be as old as the pollards, but are timber trees. Since tenants, traditionally, were allowed to use pollards, this
strongly implies planting by and for the big estate (rather than for tenants). A planting date in the 16th century or later is likely and we would expect the majority of these trees to be 17th century.
3 1740-1790. The majority of these trees are likely to have been planted in the second half of the 18th century, contemporary with the work of Sir William Chambers and Samuel Lapidge. It is quite possible that some of these trees were in fact planted in the 1790s, and hence we regard each of the following periods to have a measure of overlap. 4 1790-1830. This is the Repton-period planting. It does include trees in the Long Walk which we know to have had its first planting
earlier (probably in the 1780s). The assumption is that there was a replant in Repton’s time. 5 1830-1890. To judge from ring-counts, the great majority of these trees were planted at the end of this period. 6 1900 – 1940. Much of this is inter-war planting, when the estate was trying to recapture its 19th century past. 7 1960-2008. More recent plantings, many of which were proposed by Percy Cane and Christopher Pound.
Where there is map or other evidence to support these datings, we have given it in the schedule. The tree survey is provided separately both digitally and as a stand alone document. Our archival search is presented as an appendix to this report.
Proposed tree and clump types Our aim at The Park is to clarify and enhance the different characters of planting.
Our plans show: • a number of areas where we recommend a scattering of trees;
• areas where we recommend fenced clumps of plantations; • ‘lawn’ areas, largely to be kept clear of planting • clumps in Crickety Park that cannot be planted while the golf course has its present layout.
Each of the proposed areas of planting has been given a reference letter. These are not shown on the areas plans based on the aerial photograph but can be found on the plans based on the OS mapping.
The West Park (Stamford Lodge Field) We have described the section of the Park that lies to the west of the North Lawn as the West Park. Although the Stamford Lodge Drive, the shortest approach to the Hall, runs through this section it has a feeling of being quite distinct from the remainder of the Park, being separated from the North Lawn by a linear belt consisting of a reasonably dense scattering of individual trees. In the winter there are filtered views of the Hall through this belt from the approach, however in summer views of the Hall are delayed until arriving at the North Lawn. This area has similar proportions to the Park as a whole, with its long north-south axis. It is fitting that it does not compete with the adjacent North Lawn, instead the species used are by and large not oak, but a variety of species, dominated by Lime. It is also fitting that it should not be over-ornamented and that much of the planting should be in clumps. It combines the roles of buffer between the Park and the surrounding countryside, and introduction to the Park. The new Lime Avenue will in time become a significant 20th century contribution to the planting in this part of the Park and no additional planting is proposed except to close a gap in the woodland that otherwise encloses the parkland. Little Thistlemoor now curtails this part of the Park along a line reasonably continuous with the southern boundary of Thistlemoor Wood. However the two woods are not continuous and the resulting gap is visually significant. Little Thistlemoor is not shown on the 1st Edition OS which indicates continuous open fields stretching along the western edge of Thistlemoor Wood. In previous centuries there would have been a greater number of views out from the Park to the wider landscape, however the 20th Century character of the Park is of an enclosed, almost a secret landscape, located as it is so close to the urban development of Peterborough. The woodland to the north of the West Park completes the sense of enclosure and seclusion and the gap, which allows views of sky but of nothing significant, disturbs this illusion. We are therefore proposing that this gap is planted up. It would be possible to emphasise the north-south axis by building on the Temple axis just north of the woodland belt and cutting a view through, particularly because a structure here could read on the NW-SE axis of the circle proposed for the Middle Park. Summary of Proposals â€˘ Plant woodland to close gap between Little Thistlemoor and Thistlemoor Wood. â€˘ Introduce new structure on the Temple axis
The North Park The view north from the Hall - the North Lawn - currently has the bones of a perfect landscape. Above all it has an iconic quality – that is to say, one immediately grasps the simplicity of the sheer front of the Hall, the extent of level lawn, broadly symmetrical about the front of the Hall, and its loose boundary of trees, predominantly oak. It seems that there is nothing clever about it and its grandeur lies in its simplicity. From that point of view the variety of different species introduced in the 20th century may have been something of a mistake. It appears that this has been recognized and many of the new species have come and gone again. What we are left with now is a tendency for greater variety to be found closer to the Hall and this is absolutely appropriate. This gradual elimination of non-oak species away from the Hall should be continued. As a rule of thump there might be no non-native species north of the Stamford Lodge Drive, and even natives should be used cautiously, so that the general effect is overwhelmingly of oak. One should note in this context that bleeding canker is likely to take out the Horse chestnuts within the next 20 years. The effect to be sought here is forest-like, where the trees close to the Hall can be seen as single specimens, whilst those further away appear to be part of the wood. If the back-drop is all one species and if we cannot see the edge of Thistlemoor Wood from the Hall then the view will be granted infinite grandeur and indefinite extent. The ride through Thistlemoor Wood was not designed to let in a view to the north (it is too narrow), and the trees that surround the North Lawn are intended to set off the space, rather than to frame a distant view. To get a forest-like effect the fringes of the oak planting were bolstered with smaller trees (crab apple and field maple survive). The most useful tree for this role is thorn, it was a great favourite of Repton’s, and it is odd that there are so few in the Park. It would be reasonable to suppose that it was planted but rooted out at a later date. The oak planting itself we would classify as wood pasture with oak pollards. The western side of the North Lawn has a more linear profile than the eastern side, where there is a more varied edge and this sculptured edge more effectively encourages a sense of vagueness. However, planting more trees on the western side to create a more uneven edge would have the undesirable effect of narrowing the lawn. Instead, achieving a more sinuous edge should be one of the principles behind the phased removal of non-oak species. The Percy Cane planting which extends a spur of oaks from Thistlemoor Wood toward the Hall appears awkward on plan and when close-to the fencing emphasizes the sense of it as a block. However when viewed from a distance, from the Hall or the road, the shape of the planting is not apparent and it is already effective in giving emphasis to the north side ride through the wood. It might be noted that this difference between the appearance on plan and on the ground can be particularly marked in flatter landscapes: where there are few natural landforms to direct the eye, geometric forms are often used, and these read much more easily on plan than on the ground. Certainly Cane’s spur at The Park reads more as a textural extension to Thistlemoor Wood than as the imposition of a rectilinear block of planting on an open space. We would recommend removal of the fencing once the trees are capable of withstanding browsing, thinning of the oaks to favour the best specimens and the removal of some trees on the western edge to create a loose funnel effect, guiding the eye to the gate into Thistlemoor Wood. The profile of Thistlemoor Wood has become homogenized in places where Poplars have become the tallest species in the wood. The removal of poplars from the wood will re-establish the more varied and dramatic horizon admired by Repton ‘We have here a very pleasing and varied line formed by the tops of the trees.’ We should look for the same sculpted sinuous line in the border of planting in front of the wood. The field immediately east of the North Lawn has a similar character to the North Lawn; ancient parkland. Although it does not perform the same function as the North Lawn, which provides the setting for and view from the Hall, the trees along its eastern edge provide the setting for the Old Kennels, which is surprisingly conspicuous in views from a number of places in the Park. If more could be made of Old Kennels (a thatched roof for example), then we would like to see this as a secondary landscape, similar, but subordinate, to the North Lawn. It is a trick that Repton played elsewhere, for example at Luscombe the Dawlish Approach runs past several beautifully planted side valleys before presenting the castle itself, which is its climax.
There is a marked difference in character between this area and the nearby Kennels Hill area, and this should be retained. The view to the north is closed by a relatively dense grouping of mature trees along the northern edge and the field beyond looks as though it was cleared out of a collection of mediaeval pollards (some of which do survive in the trees around it). We are proposing to extend the wood pasture with oak pollards into this area [A on plan]. We would advise maintaining 50% of the new trees as pollards, and this proposal should be seen as greatly extending the cycle of oaks and pollards at The Park. More than anything else single trees enrich the texture of a flat landscape. The existing planting of wood pasture with oak pollards forms the most distinctive characteristic of The Park’s parkland. One alternative way of extending the cycle is to plant young trees adjacent to the old ones. This has been done at The Park (south of the Pleasure Ground for example), but we are not certain that this is good practice. Such young trees are usually planted too close to each other and too close to the veteran oaks. The result can be a planting that adversely affects the health of the veteran trees and dilutes their visual impact, as well as growing young trees whose habits are distorted by shading from the canopies of the veterans. It is our appreciation of the character of these old trees that prompts us to recommend planting where there are no old trees left. If this means that the boundary of important planting (like the framing around the North Lawn) varies over time, then that is a small price to pay. The proposal therefore is to plant 90% single oaks with 10% smaller trees (crab, field maple and thorn) at varied densities, averaging around 30 trees/acre, across the whole field. Of these 90% we would suggest that half would be pollarded to leave no more than 14 standards per acre (as ordained by Henry VIII). The North Park: Summary of Proposals • Plant thorns, field maples and crab apples close to edge of Thistlemoor Wood • Plant single oaks to create wood pasture with pollards to the south east of Thistlemoor Wood (approximately 20 acres/ 8 ha) • Enhance Old Kennels
Existing trees / woodland • Remove poplars from Thistlemoor Wood • Gradually remove non-oak species from close to Thistlemoor Wood • Gradually try and establish sculptured edge on the western side • Thin Percy Cane’s oaks as they mature • Remove some trees from Percy Cane’s western edge to create more angled emphasis to the entrance to Thistlemoor Wood.
Middle Park Historically the north-east part of the Park has been fields with hedges or fences planted
with single trees (some of which survive). This part of the Park seems never to have
• Circle planting (approximately 2.5 acres/ 1 ha)
been ornamented, either with planting or structures of any kind. One might imagine
• Three fenced clumps (approximately 2.8 acres/ 1.1 ha)
that its fields were often put into arable rotation. However we can see little point in
• Additional woodland planting along the outer boundary of the Park
returning to this position, particularly as here the need to screen against Peterborough
• Additional woodland planting to integrate the commemorative woodland
begins to press. Currently it is blank and bleak, arable farming has removed a
• Hedge allowed to grow out
significant proportion of these trees and the woodland around it gives it a hard edge.
• Removal of conifers when additional woodland has established
There is a striking contrast between the look of Middle Park and the North Park. There might broadly be two strategies to counteracting this effect. First is a textural planting of single trees or clumps – effectively to fill up the space. At its best however this would only replicate the effect of the North Lawn. Alternatively one might make a structural planting, attractive in its own right, bringing a certain coherence to the area as well as something new to the Park as a whole. This is the route that we recommend. The proposal [B on plan] is for planting a spiral of 50 individual limes set within a thick ring of beech. These will be divided into wedges of planting, cut through with vistas to carry various views (the entry north of Ten Acre Plantation – the Mount; Park Farm – the Kennels; Old Kennels – the entrance east of the Kennels, the south side of Ten Acre Plantation – the game larder). At the point of intersection, these sight-lines meet at angles very close to 45o, enabling the plantation to be strictly formal. Circles of planting can be found elsewhere in Repton’s work (for example Repton’s Clump at Gunton, Norfolk) and it would therefore not be out of keeping at The Park. The spiral rows of limes will then be 36’ (10.96m), and the fences for the beech should be set 3’ behind them (so that the walk itself is 42’, 12.80m, wide). The inner edge of the ring (that is, the clear circle at the centre of the design should be bounded by a circle of beech standards), while the outer edge of the circle should be set with a ring of 48 oaks so that the new planting does not contrast too strongly with the wood pasture to the west. The entry to the spiral walk will run along the vista from the Kennels, which is the most important structure in the area. Around the circle three clumps are proposed [C, D, E]. These will vary the density of the planting so that the Park does not tend towards a uniform stand of oaks at regular intervals. These clumps are so placed that they will break the line of the surrounding belts, and increase the sense of the circle of trees as something of a focal point. They will also help in screening against Peterborough. The whole planting will be something of a match for the 20th century layout in the West Park (clumps and single trees), but it will have a distinct character that will help keep the emphasis on the North Lawn, which is and should be the highlight of the landscape north of the hall. The clumps will consist of 50% Oak with 30% thorn and 20% the other smaller trees, and will have the character of brakes. The woodland screening Peterborough is narrower here than elsewhere and it is proposed that rather than encroaching further into the Park, an additional strip [Q] 90’ wide and approximately 5.1 acres (2.07 ha) should be planted on the outer edge of the existing screen. In time this will enable to the conifers in the existing mix to be thinned out. The arboretum and the hedge enclosing it sit uneasily in the boundary woodland. If it is as little visited as appears, then it might be fitting to incorporate it and its hedge into the woodland proper, at the same time visually closing the adjacent gap in the woodland.
Kennels Hill This piece runs between the Kennels and the Pleasure Ground and includes the Ice House and the Mount. The rising ground on which it stands, above the valley, gives it great prominence in views from the South Park Drive, and these are very successful (the hill looks bigger than it actually is). Its three structures also make it the most elaborate part of the parkland, but given the money that has been invested here over the centuries, the outcome is currently disappointing: the Ice House has gone, the Mount is buried in trees, only the Kennels hold their own, and even there the adjacent yards for the dogs threaten to be visually dominant. It is worth noting that although his map covers this area Repton himself did not comment on it, but only proposed planting further to conceal the Ice House. The area is now most to be valued for the views that run to it from elsewhere in the Park. The aim of the proposals is to enhance these views, by reanimating the three structures. That is, re-establishing the yews on the Mount, with the vistas that pass through them, replanting to screen the yards, and replacing a structure on the site of the Ice House. The planting here is distinguished by the use of single trees of various species, which Repton would have described as ‘cheerful’ planting. However the planting in this area has lost any sense of purpose and it may be that the judicious removal of some of the younger specimens would enhance views into and across this area. We would recommend caution however. Trees should only be identified for removal after other proposals, such as re-cutting the vistas through the yews on the Mount, have been implemented. Scrub and small trees have been allowed to develop along the deer bank and ditch which marks the southern boundary of this area. This has created a linear visual screen that detracts from views south, particularly from the Kennels Drive and from the
We have included a more detailed plan of our proposal for the Mount [MA]. This is based on a rapid field survey, which suggested that the yews were planted in a spiral (at its most apparent in tree no.s 1471-1475). If this is the case, then one would expect them to have been planted on the outer side of a spiral path – such ascents were a common treatment for Mounts for more than 200 years. Although it has been eroded, and there is a good deal of slippage on its north side, the top of the mount is a flat surface, approximately circular with a diameter of 60’. A single yew stands at its centre (1494), and five others stand in something like a circle on the edge of the platform. The best explanation that we can give for this layout is that when planted there were 12 trees around the circle, and that this was a bower (i.e. a planting of yews cut to look like a building, with a central ‘post’ to hold the roof, with a door and with windows clipped out of each face. There is one such, with the same number of yews, save for the central one, at Wotton, Bucks. The entry to the mount was from the west, and the yew hedges of the spiral would have been tall enough to prevent any view over the Mount garden (on the north and east sides of the Mount and survived by the mounds in the grassland) until the top was reached. One way to register the mount once more as a feature in the landscape would be to remove the existing fence and put a new one in just below the platform at the top of the earthwork, so that a bower could be replanted and remade there. The spiral, if such it is, could also be replanted. The two elements of the planting would require 33 trees in all. In order to bring light onto the mount for the replanting, the existing yews should be cut back to the trunk so as to reshoot, and we would suggest putting each of the yews in the spiral into guards that will keep them out of reach of the sheep and will be striking features in themselves, with something of the spirit of Jesus’ audience at the Sermon on the Mount.
small pond. From these locations the rising ground south of Canal Piece is somewhat obscured. We would recommend that there is some selective removal of the young trees and scrub along the ditch. By opening up views to the south this would make the most of the rising ground; it would also make more of the earthwork itself, which is impressive and large in scale. It is also proposed to create a much wider belt of planting [F, AA] along the east side of the Park, where it is most vulnerable to incursions from Peterborough. This planting would have bays and recesses and will leave open the good view to the roofs and outbuildings of the Kennels from the Park entrance NNE of the Kennels, while sheltering the Kennels from the north [AF], approx. 0.44 acres/0.18ha] and screening an unsightly view of them from the Ten Acre Plantation. Following our discussions on site the shape of the proposed planting [F, approx. 4.57 acres/1.85ha] has been amended to frame views from this area towards the north-west and leave the remaining pollard oaks prominently in view. The planting north of the Kennels [AF], will be of 50% Sweet Chestnut, over 30% Hazel and 20% Yew. The new belt [F, AA] will be planted in a style comparable with the Long Walk, with monospecific drifts of trees within a matrix of Oak over Hazel. This will provide variety within the woodland, as well as a dense screen. Species should include Scots Pine, Sweet Chestnut, Ash, Lime, Yew, Hazel, Holly, with a group of Cedar of Lebanon at the edge of the belt [F] where it projects east of the Kennels. We recommend beech for screening the yards [R, approx. 0.32 acres/0.13ha]; not least for the emphasis it will bring to the rising ground on the north side of the valley. This wider belt would be continued south of the deer park ditch (see South Park).
Summary of Proposals • Re-cut views through the yews on the mount • Replant and re-fence the mount • Plant to screen yards • Replace structure on site of the Ice House • Possible selective removal of recent individual specimens • Selective removal of young trees and scrub on ditch • Fenced woodland planting along eastern boundary
The South Park (including Canal Piece) Although an outlying part of the parkland, this area is much more used than the northeast, and consequently it has more significance. It also potentially has more interest – the Gothic Lodge, the valley and the Thorpe Waterings, as well as views to other areas (Kennels Hill, and Greenchair). However it has a slightly uneasy character: the Waterings are hardly in the Park, and would not be visible from the south Park Drive, even if they were not surrounded with Poplars; North Heronry Plantation (called Wild Wood on the 1st Edition OS), which was once on the Park boundary, is so no longer, and in consequence, the Gothic Lodge is neither in the middle of the Park, nor on the edge of it, but looks half in and half out. This is what time and changes of plan do to landscape, and it need not be a great concern, but it remains the case that the burst to the north as one comes past the lodge, and the approach itself are curiously anti-climactic. What one is looking for here is a much greater sense of definition to give a greater sense of arrival. The patches of planting (the poplars around the Waterings, the single trees along the drive, and the loose groups of recent planting elsewhere) do not give much sense that there is a coherent plan for the area. It does seem appropriate however that this part of the parkland should not be dominated by Oak, and indeed there is a definite increase in the number of oaks as one approaches the pleasure ground (a characteristic of the landscape at The Park). The wider belt proposed for Kennels Hill [F] will be continued south of the deer park ditch [G and H], but with single trees rather than fenced woodland as there are already a number of good standards here. The planting here is intended to set off the Thorpe Waterings, once the poplars have been taken down, and to make the most of the excellent views from the east side of the water. H will be a drift, planted with 100% Beech, G will be a more open planting of 30 Oak with a knot of 8 Lime embedded within it. We would recommend the removal of the poplars around Thorpe Watering and along the canal; they no longer contribute to the character of the Park. Instead we propose planting around the north end of the water with a brake of thorn [AD] of 1/10 acre (400m2), and a loose planting of 6 Oak [AB] to frame the views from the proposed burst on the South Park Drive towards the Kennels, and down the valley from the east side of the Thorpe Waterings. This will come into its own when the Poplars around the Waterings are felled. The willows along the canal could also be taken out (they evoke municipal parks rather than untamed countryside), and instead we propose a loose planting of 8 oak, 5 thorn and 3 crab apple [AK] to extend the existing wood pasture and steer South Park Drive to the bridge, and by narrowing the reach of grass it runs through, encourage a sense of drama as one crosses the bridge and rises towards Chauffeur’s Lodge. However the main proposal for this area relates to the experience of entering the Park. Repton would have lavished the greatest care on the view from his approach on entering the Park (north of the Gothic Lodge). This view is now poor, because many trees were lost when the Park was ploughed. The proposal is to delay the view until the best possible moment by loose planting on the north side of the Lodge and to the north of the Heronry. This would include thinning out the plantation to the north of the Lodge and planting individual trees in the grass [J, K, L, M] – the mature effect to reflect the spacing of the tree planting between the Lodge and Heronry. The whole planting will be surrounded by a ring of 30 Oak at intervals of approximately 50’ (15m), in the tradition of the Reptonian Ring Planting. Within that ring, the trees in K and M, west of the approach, will be ‘light’ coloured, 30 Beech and 6 Lime, respectively, the erect form of the Limes announcing the entry to the park, the lighter coloured trees giving a cheerful effect. In K there should also be 6 Field Maple in a brake for their natural character.
Extending the planting in this area will have the effect of heightening the sense of anticipation and delaying the burst until the best possible moment. It would thus restore some sense that one enters the park proper at the Gothic Lodge. It would also give greater definition to the land west of the South Park Drive. This area has been affected both by tree losses due to arable farming and by recent ‘filling in’ planting (intended as a buffer against the A47) which has resulted in a marked hardening of the woodland edge. To remedy this we recommend softening the south-eastern edge of the woodland with 50% Oak, 40% Hazel, 10% Field Maple [AN], and with a clump of 50% Oak over 50% Hazel [AJ] within the field further north. In addition, to encourage a more undulating woodland edge to Ferry Hill Plantation, the fence could be set back into the woodland, leaving single trees in the grass in front of it. The fence that runs north from the corner of the plantation marks quite sharply what would once have been a much more gradual change from single trees in the east to more distinct clumps and groups further west. Whilst many of the clumps and groups remain, the single trees have been mostly lost under the arable regime. The softer edge that would result from taking back the Ferry Hill Plantation could be extended by removal of this fence, the trees to the west would then define the open ground to the east. That said, the fence is a temporary structure in the life of the Park and this option could be considered for a time when the fence no longer had a practical function in the Park. Summary of Proposals • Scattered tree planting either side of the South Park Drive. • Two fenced clumps, one at the south eastern end of Ferry Hill Plantation and one further north towards the edge of the field. • Remove poplars around the Thorpe Waterings. • Taking back the fenced edge of the woodland and choosing specimens to encourage as single trees. • Long term removal of fence.
Greenchair and Ferry Drive The Ferry Drive (once known as the London Approach) passes though a number of different character types and is the most immediately attractive part of the Park today, with views to the south over the Nene Valley and north into the parkland. On both this drive and the South Park Drive, the best feature of the Park is the slightly rising ground on the north side of the canal, or the valley as Repton calls it. East of this drive the landscaping is very much influenced by Repton and shows what can be done in the way of making a series of views to the Park structures come and go, by carefully positioning clumps and single trees. In this area in particular, the planting includes Ring Planting - clumps in which trees of one species are surrounded by a ring of Oak. Examples of this are given in our tree schedule. Our proposals are intended to make the most of the views, in both directions. Travelling north the proposals would achieve the following: • enable the land around the Ferry House to read almost as a little park for the house; • settle Greenchair Lodge (currently rather stark in appearance) into its surroundings by adding 6 cedar of Lebanon to extend the ‘cedar lawn’ across the drive [AH]. This lodge will then appear later than it does at present, as one travels north along Ferry Drive, and will be seen set within its own arc of cedar trees. • delay any open view north into the parkland until one has got to the top of the slope, from which, further to our discussions on site, a view to the east would be framed. • emphasise the view along the edge of Greenchair Plantation to the Orangery. This would be done by some crown lifting. In addition the edge of the plantation here would be taken back by clearing the undergrowth and clearing /clipping the yews to give prominence to mature trees currently just within the woodland. The sequence of views as one travels north will then run as follows: Ferry House, settled into a crook of the slope and dominating its surroundings; from which one climbs to a view of Greenchair Lodge, having the character of a woodman’s cottage, sunk into the edge of an evergreen glade; diving into the trees at Greenchair Plantation [N], one emerges to a more rapid series of open sunny views over the Parkland itself to the east a distinct group of oaks, with Heronry Plantation and the proposed planting along South Park Drive beyond [J, K, L, M] and a still longer view down towards the south eastern corner of the Parkland; to the Orangery; and then in the distance to the loosely scattered trees on rising ground, with the Kennels visible beyond them. These views will all be broken by groves of veteran oaks. A glimpse of the Gothic Lodge could also be revealed by the removal of few trees - originally the Gothic Lodge was on the edge of the park and only intended to be seen from the public road. Now that is within the park it would be quite fitting for it to feature more in views within the park. As the view of the Parkland would be delayed when travelling north so also would the view over the Nene Valley when travelling south. Currently when approaching the brow of the hill from the north, there is a slightly uneasy horizon before the view over the Nene Valley appears. The proposal is to close the horizon with woodland at this point in order to delay both the view and the expectation of a view, until the best possible point, and then to frame it with planting [AG, P]. The frame planting will also contain the parkland around Ferry House and will delay views of Greenchair Lodge when travelling from the south. As regards the choice of species, the planting on the shoulder of land opposite Ferry House [AG] should have a knot of 3 limes at its north end, the rest being made up with 10 loosely spaced oak, apparently spreading forward from the belt. The plantation at N (0.63 acres/ 0.26 ha) should have broadly the same mix as the older
trees in Greenchair Plantation (40% oak, 40% beech, 20% yew) however there is also scope here for planting 6 holm oak to darken the drive and give emphasis to the views out. The proposed clump at P already has 6 well-established red oak, and here we recommend adding 100% holm oak. This will add to the drama of the views out, and reflect the discrete character of Ferry House and its setting. Summary of Proposals • Fenced clumps close to Ferry House and opposite Greenchair Plantation • Scattered planting of cedars to the south Greenchair Lodge • Crown lift mature trees on the edge of Greenchair Plantation and take back the fenceline.
Crickety Park It is ironic that that Crickety Park, which was the most private and elaborate part of the parkland at The Park, with the Long Walk, the Temple, no lodges or farms, but a wide variety of views to the house, should now be the least private. The golf course that currently occupies it has the merit of being different from the rest of the Park, and it is instructive to work out exactly what is unsatisfactory about it. We would list the following: 1. The planting does not respect the Hall or any other topographical feature 2. The planting is relatively equally spread across the whole course, so that there is little spatial diversity. 3. The planting is very varied, but the variation itself is consistent over the course: one does not move between, for example, evergreens, exotic broad-leaves, natives, coppice woodland. 4. The planting has no direction: it does not define a space (like the North Lawn), nor does it lead the eye on with the suggestion of further reaches of parkland, nor does it do anything to promote the illusion that the ground itself is more hilly than it actually is. In fact these are the four leading aesthetic uses of parkland planting, and it may be said to fail in each respect. This does not mean that there can be no point of agreement between the interests of golf and those of the estate, and it is our intention to improve the look of the golf course in the short term, and to embed within its planting the trees that will in the long term enable the re-establishment of an appropriate parkland setting for The Park Hall. The Long Walk was intended to provide a series of designed views across the Park which are identified in the historic analysis. Although these views are now lost due to the golf course our proposals are consistent with their re-establishment if the golf course were to be reintegrated into the Park. In our first suggestions for the park we established a large egg-shaped open area in the heart of it, and proposed retaining or refurbishing some of the golf course roughs around the area, so as to be able to put the design in very quickly, should the course ever leave The Park. This design was rejected as an unnecessary compromise with the golf course design. Our new proposal still includes a provision for retaining or replanting roughs where these happen to occupy ground that we would like to see planted in the longer term. However the new design now begins with the views from the house. By planting a number of clumps with mixed species in the park [CA-CJ, CL, CM], we will be able to pick out two much longer views [Z], one to the south-south-west, past the end of the park wall, and out to the horizon [CY], and a second, running more to the south, to pick up a sense of the little valley that has the old site of the Temple on its south side. It is on this little valley that we are relying to give the view some sense of movement – a sense of going somewhere. These clumps need not be fenced where they are to be planted on the existing roughs – if they are planted now they will only need rabbit guards. Those shown in yellow are to be planted on the fairways and may not get planted unless the golf course closes. They will then have to be fenced. However the ultimate density for all these plantings should be around 20 trees/acre. To divide the two main views from the house we propose planting one clump [CC] directly in front of it, though at about 350m distance from it, with a second, larger clump [CH, CJ] at a similar distance behind it. Four of the clumps [CA, CB, CE, CF, CG, CL] will stand 30m or so inside the Long Walk so as to break up its over-linear character. These will have a planting style that reflects the sections of the Long Walk to which they are adjacent. On the east side of the park, against Greenchair Plantation, we have recommended more planting [CK – CZ) to give greater presence to this division, which protects Crickety Park. Should the golf course ever close, this protection will be more valued. Again the planting will get more bulky as it gets further from the house. All the planting shown here will, additionally, set off the historic views from the Long Walk. The following are proposals for each of the clumps. There is scope here for a wider range of species than proposed for the rest of the park. CA (approx 0.3 acres/ 0.12 ha). The surviving planting (590-592 and 610, 611) provides a template for the clumps CA – CD, with a mix of species in drifts. At the north end of each, to set off the views from the house, we recommend one or two cedars of Lebanon. These will lead the eye out from the house and (in theory) should have the two further effects, of distancing the parkland beyond in views from the house, and so making it seem bigger (the repoussoir effect), and setting off the house in views towards it from the south. CA and CB will be planted to make a single group, of which CA will have 5 oaks, 4 sweet chestnut and 2 cedar of Lebanon on the side facing the house. The oak and sweet chestnut are to be planted in drifts on a north-south axis (i.e. more or less parallel to the boundary of Long Walk). CB (approx 0.17 acres/ 0.07 ha). This clump will be planted to match CA, with 3 oak and
2 sweet chestnut. CC (approx 0.12 acres/ 0.05 ha). The small clump at point blank will have a Cedar at its north end, backed by a group of 4 oaks. CD (approx 0.3 acres/ 0.12 ha). The grouping of the surviving oak and thorn (610, 611) will be replicated 6 oak, 8 thorn, 3 field maple. CE (approx 0.04 acres/ 0.02 ha). This will have two Sycamores to bulk up the existing (575, 576). CF (approx 0.2 acres/ 0.09 ha). This will be planted with 10 Beech, set off with 2 Field Maple towards its eastern edge. CG (approx 0.2 acres/ 0.08 ha). This will be planted as CF with 8 Beech, set off with 2 Field Maple and 1 Crab towards its eastern edge CH (approx 0.27 acres/ 0.11 ha). CH and CJ comprise the dominant central clump in Crickety Park. In order that it should stand out we recommend making the planting relatively dense, and using solely sweet chestnut. CH will therefore have 10 sweet chestnut. CJ (approx 0.71 acres/ 0.29 ha). This will have 40 sweet chestnut. CK (approx 0.5 acres/ 0.2 ha). This will be a grove of 30 standard oaks, effectively linking Greenchair Plantation with the oaks at the ha-ha (615, 650) CL (approx 0.09 acres/ 0.04 ha). This is the southernmost of the four clumps running outside Long Walk. We recommend a planting of 4 Lime that will run up to the proposed cedars (CY). CM (approx 0.08 acres/ 0.03 ha). There is room here for 2 oak to bulk up the impact of the existing trees (506, 507) and frame the peep from the old site of the Temple back to the house. CN (approx 0.3 acres/ 0.12 ha). The proposed plantings [CN – CX] have a number of roles to fulfill. They are to fill out the central mass of woodland around Greenchair Plantation; to screen out unsightly views of Ferry House from the north and to introduce a more wild character to this part of the parkland, by using small trees such as thorn. Planting intervals should reduce as one moves east, towards Greenchair Plantation. CN will require 4 oak. CO (approx 0.82 acres/ 0.33 ha). This group will take drifts of 15 oak and 10 beech, the oak should be on the east side of the area, against Greenchair Plantation. CP (approx 0.36 acres/ 0.15 ha). This is a piece of roughish ground and there are already cedars growing here. We would recommend retaining these, and adding a further 6 so as to give them greater prominence. Cedars seem to have been planted on rough ground in the park (around 1072 for example). CQ (approx 0.3 acres/ 0.12 ha). As above. We recommend adding 3 Cedars and establishing a 25 thorn as a brake here. CR (approx 0.2 acres/ 0.08 ha). We recommend this as a grove of 6 beech, to contrast with the cedars. CS (approx 0.07 acres/ 0.03 ha). This should then be a planting of 3 more beech, to link with the above. CT (approx 0.06 acres/ 0.02 ha). This will then be part of the central thorn brake in the area, to be planted with 10 thorn. CU (approx 0.089 acres/ 0.036 ha). This will also be a thorn brake, to be planted with 15 thorn. CV (approx 0.04 acres/ 0.02 ha). This will also be a thorn brake, to be planted with 10 thorn. CW (approx 0.49 acres/ 0.2 ha). We recommend this as a grove of 20 beech, to run on from CO to the south. CX (approx 0.77 acres/ 0.3 ha). We recommend this as a grove of 40 oak, to run on from CO to the south. CY. We recommend lining the view SSW from the house with 12 cedars, to make a vista 90’ wide, and bring some sense of the dominance of the house back to the far reaches of its parkland.
Legend Proposal plants
Areas to be kept open
Ordnance Survey Plan with Reference Letters for Proposed Planting
Legend Proposal plants
Areas to be kept open
Ordnance Survey Plan with Reference Letters for Proposed Planting - Crickety Park
Proposals without Analysis