Just a short post with my latest images showing progress with our Heritage Lottery Funded project to re-view the landscape at Compton Verney.
Physical activity around the site is evident from the moment visitors arrive, with a rather large building site dominating the space. This is the location of our new visitor welcome building, and once we start to think about the required sewage works, pipe work, cabling, machinery and of course the build itself – it soon becomes obvious why the area is so large.
Visitor Welcome Building
With Croft Conservation leading the way, building work is flying along and as you may see in the images, the floor, metal frame work and roof shape are all visible.
Back (West) Lawn Footpaths
Elsewhere on site, and since early October, another contracting team called ELC (Environmental, Landscape and Countryside,) have been busy restoring a footpath route. Dating from the time when Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown landscaped Compton Verney the path now, as then, serves as a main route up to the chapel, and onwards around the back lawn.
Following a summer of garden archaeology, the new path route was able to follow much of the original path. The old route as it turned out was simply levelled and grassed over, but with its substantial structure still in place, we were able to ‘simply’ sheet the area and build directly above.
In some places however, we needed to move the path alignment to allow for tree root protection, and worked to a no-dig specification as designed by our landscape consultants BEA. The image shows the back lawn path complete, with its new Breedon Gravel surface, a self binding natural limestone.
Some time ago we became a ‘Local Wildlife Site’ and as you’d expect take our wildlife very seriously. Across the middle pool, and in an area previously tucked away from main visitor areas is a place we’re now calling the Wilderness Area.
We’ve big plans here to harness the powers of nature, and will be installing a pond dipping platform in the shallow, edge-of-pool area, along with a bird hide – both having magnificent views out across the lake.
ELC have again been busy in this respect, carrying out a small scale dredging operation to improve flow from a nearby culvert. The timber structures mentioned above will be reached via a new board-walk, and following completion the area will be planted to re-establish the site as a wildlife haven.
Ice House Coppice Paths
The above image shows one of the final path sections to receive restoration, with a path that will flow smoothly from the new welcome centre (visible in the distance,) to the Adam Bridge. Here you can also see an archaeologist checking the clearing works, recording path details and searching for finds.
Wave Wall Fence
One last image to show some of our new estate railing. This style fence has been installed in various areas of importance, here creating a new, more appropriate barrier down near the busy roadside.
And last but certainly not least, we’ve been busy working up our new interpretation – sign boards, interpretation panels and a new interior for the welcome building. For this we’ve been lucky enough to secure the help of PLB, who are guiding us through the options and working up an impressive new range of information – it is all looking fabulous and I can’t wait to see it installed in both the landscape and buildings!
Don’t forget we’re still open throughout the works mentioned above, just park up and head for the gallery, or catch a lift in our new shuttle bus!
Gary Webb, Head of Landscape & Gardens.