18th-century garden feature restoration at Studley

This phase of the project is due for completion in spring 2013 © Steve Tomlinson

This phase of the project is due for completion in spring 2013

In spring 2012 we embarked on a 30-year phase of a restoration project in the Water Garden at Studley Royal, part of the World Heritage Site near Ripon in North Yorkshire.

We’re restoring an 18th-century garden feature, known as a bosquet. This element of garden design was a key feature in the Aislabie’s landscape and was used extensively as a structural component, encircling large plantations.

What is a bosquet?
A bosquet is a group of hedges or trees planted in a straight line or geometric shape, often surrounded by hedges or paths of gravel. Influenced by late 17th-century French fashions, English yew were used as the hedging plant throughout the garden at Studley Royal. 

Why is Studley Royal so special?
The landscape at Studley Royal is a very rare example showing the development of the ‘English’ garden style throughout the 18th century, which influenced the rest of Europe. The combination of the formal and naturalistic styles created by John and William Aislabie between 1693 and 1781 is the primary reason for the estate’s World Heritage Site status.

Over time, the original bosquets have become overgrown and unstable, and it's almost impossible to recognise the striking structured planting.

How will we restore the bosquet and culverts?
Our plan is to start work on the section of the bosquet along the canalside and progress into other areas of the garden. This will be a lengthy process as the new yew trees will take several years to grow to their planting height of two metres.

The overgrown yews will be removed to make way for new planting in spring 2013. We’ll take the opportunity to work on another garden conservation project - repairing the damaged 18th-century culverts - while the ground is clear.  

The culverts have been damaged over time by heavy water flow and flooding. Access to carry out repairs is only possible while the trees are removed.

We’re looking forward to seeing the results of the project; we’ve seen from our work on the Lake in 2010 the dramatic difference our restoration can make in recreating the Aislabie’s spectacular garden.