Reopening Dyrham Park’s lost terraces

Visitors to Dyrham Park near Bath can enjoy a woodland walk with new views of the house and gardens from terraces which have been restored thanks to an ongoing conservation project. The lost terraces once formed part of the 17th-century Dutch water garden.

Reviving the past

The work to open the five-acre area is part of a 10- to 15-year project to renovate this section of the park and garden using a historically accurate engraving by Dutch draughtsman Johannes Kip. Dyrham Park’s creator William Blathwayt commissioned the engraving in 1710.
 
The transformation has been possible thanks to grants of £20,000 from the Ibstock Cory Environmental Trust (ICET) and £50,000 from the Cory Environment Trust in Britain (CETB). Additional funding of £12,300 from Natural England’s Higher Level Stewardship scheme has also helped open this area of Dyrham Park’s grounds.
 

An army of volunteers

Two hundred volunteers spent a year working to restore the terraces.
 
‘It’s taken a lot of time and effort from staff, volunteers and working parties to get the area ready, but it’s been worth it,’ says volunteer Steve Holbrow. ‘It’s great to see the difference between the terraces when we first started work and how visitors see them today.’
 
The team removed huge amounts of earth and rubble and cleared thick undergrowth in order to make way for new paths. They also transported 140 tonnes of stone across the park, down a chute onto the terraces, to restore over 100m of dry stone wall.
 

Wildlife highlights

Six thousand bluebell bulbs planted by visitors and volunteers along the terraces will bloom each spring alongside a sea of wild garlic. Guilder rose, wild cherry, wild pear, spindle, hawthorn and hazel plants will also burst into life over the course of the year.
 
Visitors will be able to spot all sorts of wildlife including woodpeckers, nuthatches, wrens, mistle thrushes and creepers. More than a dozen new birdboxes and dormouse boxes have also been installed to help attract more birds and mice.
 

Reconnecting outdoor spaces

’The new terraces form an important link between the wider parkland and the formal west garden,’ says our garden and parks manager Dale Dennehy.
 
‘You can still see hints of the old terraces, including ancient pear trees and the end of terrace plateau which once enjoyed great views across Bristol. There’s still a lot of work to be done but it’s an important first step.’
 
‘I was lucky enough to visit the project with my family just as work started and could see its potential to open up a whole new dimension to Dyrham Park,’ adds Angela Haymonds, trust secretary of ICET and CETB.
 
‘The terraces are an oasis for wildlife interspersed with fascinating history, all now accessible to visitors.’