Looking to the future by uncovering Berrington's Georgian secrets

'Capability' Brown designed a garden that was functional but also to be enjoyed. Over the years however, some particular parts of Berrington's design have been changed, been neglected or taken over by nature. Now we are trying to rediscover them using the latest technology. Who knows what we may find?

In the 1770's 'Capability' Brown was busy in his study, designing the landscape that was to become his final masterpiece. With the building in place and the surrounding Herefordshire countryside looking promising, he got to work on what would become Berrington Hall's gardens.

Trying to rediscover any hidden treasures in the Walled Garden
To archeologists assessing the Walled Garden

Over the last 200 years some elements of his design have stood the tests of time. Other parts of his plans however, have gone into hiding below the ground. This year we are trying to discover these original Brownian plans so that we can restore them in the future.

To do this we needed the help of the archaeological experts, Wessex Archaeology. They joined us here at Berrington from Monday 9 to Friday 13 January 2017. The week was filled with various different archaeological tests, including brickwork and RADAR surveys. 

The tests covered a whole host of areas across Berrington's grounds
The archeologists in the landscape searching for evidence

The investigation was carried out using a 'ground penetrating radar (GPR) survey'. This works by sending pulses of energy into the ground. They then record how strong and how long it takes for any reflected signals to return to them. These reflections can then be used to map subsurface archaeological features and provide estimates of the depth of these features.

There were several areas that had these tests done to them. Among them was the Walled Garden and the visible remains of the original stables.

So far the surveys have revealed that there is a very visible structure, and internal features, of the building labelled ‘Conservatory’ on the 1887 map of Berrington.

A map of Berrington from 1815
An original map of Berrington from 1815

Unfortunately the fruit and vegetable patches prevented the RADAR technology from collecting certain data. Despite this they have been able to fill in the gaps from the 2007 geophysics report. With this is mind, it seems that there is evidence of further structures running through the vegetable patches and at the end of the potting shed.

These updates are incredibly exciting, and we are looking forward to seeing more results from these surveys. Hopefully soon we will uncover these lost pieces of Berrington's past. Keep your eyes peeled for further updates.