Westminster pool at Coughton Court

Reflections on Westminster Pool, Coughton Court, Warwickshire

Conservation work has taken place along Gentleman's walk by the Westminster pool.

As part of our long term conservation we have recently carried out works to ensure the long term usability of this footpath. You can see see what was involved in the article below. One of the aims was to keep it looking as natural as possible.

The Westminster Pool

We are carrying out a lot of conservation work to preserve the banks
Reflections on Westminster Pool at Coughton Court, Warwickshire
We are carrying out a lot of conservation work to preserve the banks


Coughton’s beautiful gardens, designed by the historic Throckmorton family, are arranged around the medieval pools and watercourses that once provided the fish for their banquets and meals. Whilst the Chelsea Award winning Christina Williams’ peaceful Bog garden, bursting with its aquatic plants, sits within the smaller of the two main pools the larger Tudor pool continues as a small lake. Now known as the Westminster Pool this charming little lake is still an important habitat for fish, birds, voles and countless other insect species as well as being one of the most popular short garden walks at Coughton.

Lakeside Erosion

We will return the banks to their original condition
Westminster Pool bank erosion at Coughton Court, Warwickshire
We will return the banks to their original condition


Over recent years the main path along the lakeside has lost a number of mature trees and as these mighty Oaks have fallen their roots have pulled large areas of the bank loose. Erosion by the lake water means that the embankment that holds the water in above the riverside meadow has narrowed considerably and now threatens to cut across the main pathway itself. 

This will be closed for a while whilst the banks are repaired
Gentleman's walk by the Westminster lake, Coughton Court, Warwickshire
This will be closed for a while whilst the banks are repaired

What are we doing?


Following two years of careful consideration and planning the National Trust and Throckmorton Estates have developed an ecologically friendly solution to restore the eroded bank and protect the Westminster Pool’s stability for the long term. In September and October 2019 the pathway will be closed whilst large coir rolls are staked into the waters edge before the eroded areas are backfilled. The two meter coir tubes have been pre planted with appropriate species of plants that will grow and further strengthen the new embankment. 

Why are we doing this now?


We have chosen the autumn months to complete the work to ensure that we don’t upset the various living creatures that live in the water, lake edge or reeds during their different breeding seasons. The work involves lots of wading about in the water and does need reasonably dry conditions so that the rolls can be staked securely in place so we could not complete the work during our usual closed period in the winter months.

Progress

Good progress is being made. Many of the stakes are in position. It requires a double row to secure the coir rolls which are here and being installed. Following that stone chippings are being placed behind the rolls and then covered with top soil. It sounds complicated. I hope the photos will make it clearer.

Stage 1

 Get the stakes and fit in position.

Stage 1
Stakes to conserve the pool
Stage 1
Fitted stakes
Stakes fitted in Westminster Pool
Fitted stakes

Stage 2

Fit the pre-planted coir roll.

All rolled up and ready to go
Coir rolls at Coughton Court, Warwickshire
All rolled up and ready to go
Fitted in place
Coir rolls fitted at Coughton Court, Warwickshire
Fitted in place

Stage 3

Fill behind the coir rolls and cover with topsoil.

Filled and covered
Filled and covered to restored bank line at Coughton Court, Warwickshire
Filled and covered

Did you know?


All of the gardens at Coughton, including the Westminster Pool, are within the Scheduled Ancient Monument at Coughton. This means that any work carried out along the bank needs permission from specialists such as Historic England to make sure all of the archaeology from the medieval period is protected as much as possible.