The South Terrace at Cliveden
After 350 years of use, time had taken its toll on Cliveden's South Terrace. Five years and six million pounds later, the conservation project has now restored the terrace to its former glory.
In the 1670s the Duke of Buckingham embarked on a major project to build the first house at Cliveden. However, before he could start on the house, he had to level the hill top creating the Parterre and build the Terrace that rises above. Since then the Terrace has provided the foundations for three mansions and is the perfect spot from which to admire the views that Buckingham fell in love with.
Significant alterations were made to the terrace façade and stair as part of Charles Barry’s 1851 designs, which were drawn up for the Duke and Duchess of Sutherland after the second fire at Cliveden destroyed the majority of the house above. Barry intended the sweeping design to make the gardens feel like an additional room in the great house, and for the owners and their guests a central part of the Cliveden experience, as the gardens are today.
Saving the South Terrace
The South Terrace is thought to be the oldest surviving structure at Cliveden. With alterations and repairs along the way, it's survived two fires and over three centuries of Cliveden wind and rain. But sadly, the damage to the Terrace became more and more obvious as the years went by. Faulty drainage meant significant water damage caused water to soak into the stone, accelerating the decay. The original balustrade was also showing its age. The 17th-century stonework was barely being held together as the crumbling masonry began to wither.
A labour of love
Work on the Terrace included painstakingly taking up the Terrace flagstones, reparing the cracks, and then re-laying them in their original formation. The defective drainage system, which caused some of the deterioration to the Terrace itself, was also replaced.
On the western side of the terrace, where the Cockerell Pavilion sits, some much needed repairs were made to the brickwork, securing the structure of the building.
The Souding Chamber
Below the South Terrace is the Sounding Chamber, which, with its cave like structure, has been a shelter for families of bats looking to stay dry. All bat species, their breeding sites and resting places are fully protected by law, therefore any work on the South Terrace had to come to a screeching hault whenever the bats decided to cosy up in the Terrace Ferneries.
Ornate iron gates and grilles
Gates to the Sounding Chamber are curently being guilded by a repair specialist and a blacksmith is working on the Ferneries.
Thank you to all our visitors and donors for their continued support and donations throughout this huge project. We are delighted to be able to invite you back and show you how we have brought back the elegance of Cliveden's south Terrace.