Restoring the 'Picturesque' in Croft's Fishpool Valley

The old pump house in Fishpool Valley at Croft Castle in Herefordshire

This year, we're embarking on a project to restore Croft's 'Picturesque' Fishpool Valley.

Fishpool Valley was landscaped in the late eighteenth century in the 'Picturesque' style. The stream was dammed to form a chain of artificial pools and the valley sides were carefully planted with a mixture of Oak, Ash, Willow, Poplar and Evergreen species to suggest the 'bold roughness of nature'.

Today, the valley looks very different. A decline in landscape management means the area is now in need of some tender loving care and restoration. The original dams are in desperate need of repair along with tree management and sensitive woodland clearance to encourage biodiversity and native wildlife to flourish.

Fishpool Valley as it looks today
A wooded walk in Fishpool Valley at Croft Castle

Part of Fishpool Valley is also a Site of Special Scientific Interest and contains a lot of important archaeology, including some original features, such as a lime kiln, charcoal pits and a grotto for admiring the view and painting in.

A view from inside the grotto in Fishpool Valley
A view from inside the grotto looking out at Croft Castle in Herefordshire

Using a conservation management plan and archaeology and wildlife reports we’re embarking on an ambitious project to begin restoring this tranquil area.

General Manager, David Bailey, is enthusiastic about the project: "Thanks to funds raised by our supporters we’re able to restore this almost forgotten valley. It’s a fascinating site which in its heyday would have been a working valley. We’re keen to see the dams repaired, the woodland and its wildlife brought into better condition and some of the original features brought back to life so visitors can experience it as it would have been nearly 200 years ago."