St. Modwen is embarking on a major landscape restoration of historic parkland at the Trentham Estate in North Staffordshire to plant about 10,000 trees with the re-creation of the 18th Century landscape character of the North Park which will also improve ecology and enhance public enjoyment. The North Park was a key feature of the Estate which was owned by the Duke of Sutherland family from the 1540s to 1979.
The essence of the restoration works is to reveal the hidden character of the 18th Century parkland landscape attributed to garden designer Charles Bridgeman, who worked at Trentham from 1719 – 1725, and incorporated into the more naturalistic scheme for Trentham designed by the pre-eminent landscape architect, Lancelot “Capability” Brown during 1759 – 1780. One of the significant features of this area of the Park is the Patte d’oie, (foot of the goose), three grand avenues of lime trees, radiating from the original main entrance of Trentham Hall. Several of these historic trees still remain but have become hidden over the years.
The project will also allow the re-establishment of the heathland and native oak woodland lost under modern planting over the last 50 years or so. Around 10,000 native trees, primarily Sessile oaks, the same native species found in the adjacent Kings Wood will be planted alongside the revealed veteran trees to create the new woodland. It is hoped that a key feature will be to replant the “Seven Sisters”, believed to have been a cluster of beech trees, which were once a prominent landmark at the top of the Trentham ridge. The Trentham Estate has taken advice from and will continue to work with Natural England, English Heritage, Stafford Borough Council and others throughout the project.
Alan Taylor from English Heritage commented, “Trentham has proposed another excellent scheme and English Heritage are pleased to support this major improvement to the historic landscape. I am looking forward to continuing to work with the team through the restoration process.”
The first stage of work will start on Monday 20 February. The coniferous forest of pine trees that were planted about 50 years ago as a commercial crop will be removed to prepare the area for the heathland restoration and planting of the Sessile oaks. For safety reasons, access through the North Park will be temporarily restricted to the public footpath.
St. Modwen is keen to involve as many members of the community as possible in the project and is inviting people to sign up to the North Park Restoration Project page at www.trentham.co.uk for regular updates and to join a new group to help design, plant and care for the restored North Park. Young people from schools and colleges will also be invited to plant trees.
Mike Herbert, North Staffordshire Regional Director for St. Modwen, said the exciting restoration project plays a vital part in the heritage of the Trentham Estate and Staffordshire:
“The North Park deteriorated significantly in the period from the Sutherland family’s demolition of Trentham Hall in 1911 up to 1996 when St Modwen took over stewardship of the Estate. Inappropriate coniferous plantations, abuse of the landscape by four wheel drive pursuits, quarrying to supply gravels used in the construction of the M6 motorway, etc have all contributed to an area much in need of restoration.
“This project will restore North Park back to its 18th Century glory, revealing a beautiful landscape for everyone to enjoy. The current pine and larch trees will be replaced by native trees that will support a much wider ecology and create a far more suitable landscape for the historic estate. The new wood will also enhance the adjacent Kings Wood, which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
“This is another major phase of the long term programme of conservation and landscape restoration throughout the Trentham Estate which has most recently included the clearing of the area immediately around the 1834 Monument to the 1st Duke of Sutherland in the south of the Estate.
St Modwen embarked on the massive project to restore and regenerate the very important and historic 725 acre Trentham Gardens and Estate in 2004 after extensive masterplanning and consultation. The initial phases concentrated on the primary and most derelict areas of the Gardens and Lake, with leading landscape architects and designers, Tom Stuart-Smith, Piet Oudolf and Dominic Cole guiding the restoration of the most famous gardens. The North Park restoration is a major element of the Landscape Restoration Plan set out by leading landscape advisors, Land Use Consultants in 2003. The restored Gardens have now become one of the UK’s most visited Garden attractions with over 400,000 visitors in the whole of 2011.
Anyone who would like to know more, or are interested in helping to establish a local community group to help design, plant and care for this beautiful area of the Trentham Estate, please visit the North Park Restoration page at www.trentham.co.uk
Alternatively, visit Michael Walker, the Garden and Estate Manager, at the information cabin in the North Park from 10am – 12noon Monday to Friday or via the Trentham Management Suite. Details are also available by calling 01782 657341 (9am – 5.30pm Monday to Friday) / emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org