We've officially named our new site Charlecote Avenue, the most popular suggestion by far from our volunteers. Following permission from Stratford District Council we've been able to begin work on removing ugly conifers and intrusive stands of bamboo which have encroached on the trees of the ancient avenue.
Restoring the avenue
2016 saw the acquisition of eight acres of land next to our car park from private owners, giving us an exciting opportunity to re-incorporate the site back into the Charlecote estate, opening up the old view.
Our Research Team of staff and volunteers are searching through historic records to uncover the stories of the land. You can see from the old aerial black-and-white view that the tree-lined avenue was once a truly significant part of the Lucy family estate, continuing across the road from the blue gates at the top of the drive.
We've set up a small plant-sales area here for now, selling peat-free plants. Every plant you buy will be helping fund the work we are carrying out.
Mindful of our green credentials, the shop fittings have been acquired from another property where they were surplus to requirements. The plant benches have been constructed by National Trust carpenters at Dudmaston using timber from their own woodland.
08 Mar 17
Revealing the avenue
01 Feb 17
Clearing the site
Surveyors are brought in for a detailed look at the site's infrastructure. One building is declared to be too unsafe to use and the electrics and drainage will need to be overhauled. At the annual Volunteers' Meetings we ask for ideas to name the new site and as usual, our volunteers have lots of great ideas - more news to follow! Our team of garden volunteers move on to the site to get it cleared ready for a small plant sales area to open in the middle of February. The retail team start to look for lovely new plants to sell, how to keep shop staff and volunteers warm and how to get everything set up with only a tiny budget to do so.
09 Jan 17
Getting the keys
As soon as we had the keys to the site, the project team went to explore. Difficult decisions have to be made about what to keep and what will need replacing as budget restraints are at the forefront of discussions. It's hard to disguise the excitement though, as so many ideas and opportunities become apparent. The impact on the whole Charlecote estate begins to take shape as we look at new prospects for retail, catering, storage and car parking.