Behind the parkland scenery at Hatchlands

With 400 acres of gardens and parkland to care for at Hatchlands, there's lots of essential, unsung work that goes on behind the scenes. Using these methods we ensure that the parkland runs smoothly and that we continue to have a positive impact on our environment for future generations.

The house and parkland in autumn
The house and parkland at Hatchlands Park Matt Batchelor

Conservation management plan

We commissioned the Landscape Agency to prepare a Conservation Management Plan for Hatchlands. The plan evaluates the park and its historical development and identifies a vision for its restoration, repair, conservation and management. Our low impact working methods are designed to help achieve this vision.

Newly planted trees in the park
Newly planted trees Matt Batchelor

Tree planting

We're currently undertaking a programme of tree planting. This succession planting is essential to eventually replace old trees and also helps to achieve our goal of recreating Humphry Repton's original plan for the park. We're planting Oaks, Sweet chestnut, Limes and Hornbeams. In 2011 we planted 33 new trees, a further 25 being planted in the winter of 2015.

Oak tree in woodland
An oak tree in our woodland Dan Bennett

Ancient tree survey

In association with The Woodland Trust we've undertaken an Ancient and Notable Tree Survey. This helps us to identify our oldest, most vulnerable trees as well as any unusual species and best specimens, whilst giving us a permanent record. We‘re then able to follow their progress and ensure their continued health.

A hedge in the park
Keeping hedgerows healthy Dan Bennett

Hedge laying

The successful management of our healthy hedgerows is partly achieved by hedgelaying. This is a traditional skill that allows us to rejuvenate the existing hedgerows here by encouraging new growth, improving their structure and strength. Our hedges play an essential role providing a barrier for cattle, lining our paths and providing a home for our wildlife.

Sheepwash pond at Hatchlands Park
Sheepwash pond at Hatchlands Park Matt Batchelor


We’ve recently fenced our ponds to halt damage to the banks by grazing cattle, the result is the regeneration of plant life. In partnership with a local fishing club, work is underway to keep reeds and other plants in check. Pollarding willow, cutting back Cornus and removing algal blooms are just a few of the annual tasks. We now aim to clear the north end of the pond creating a haven for smaller aquatic creatures.

Mowing our lawn
Lawnmower man Matt Batchelor

Lawn mowing

Whilst most of our lawn mowing needs in the wider park are taken care of by our low impact Dexter cattle herd, there are still around 7.5 acres of gardens and formal lawns that we have to cut ourselves. This can take one person a whole day to accomplish and at peak growing times lawns may have to be cut every other day. We also cut the wild flower meadow twice a year, and collect the clippings to encourage growth.

Composting bins
Composting bins Dan Bennett


All our grass clippings, autumn leaves, weeds and other green waste is added to our compost heaps. Autumn leaves make excellent leaf mould compost and the rest is blended together over time and turned occasionally until its ready to be used. We’re then able to use it on our formal beds and the pots and baskets in our courtyard.


Our wormery deals with vegetable waste from six households and all the shredded paper from our office. In the right conditions the wormery can deal with 7 tons of waste a year but works at different speeds depending on the outside temperature. Once the green waste and paper is added it takes 3-4 months to be processed by the worms resulting in vermicompost. We use this extra-rich compost in baskets and pots.

Flowers in the courtyard at Hatchlands Park
Flowers in the courtyard Matt Batchelor

Plant food

Along with the composting we also make our own plant food in the form of nettle tea. This organic liquid fertilizer is made from the nettles that grow in our park. They're simply chopped up, packed in a barrel and covered with water. This mixture rots down in a matter of weeks and can then be used as a boost for beds, baskets and pots.

Our plan for Hatchlands stretches many years into the future and ensures continuity in the approach to parkland management by future generations. We hope that these methods will contribute to a long and healthy future for the park and the wildlife in it.