The pleasure grounds at Hughenden

The formal gardens give way to the pleasure grounds which were established to enjoy the wider views across the 18th century parkland. Created in the wilderness gardening style fashionable at the time, it is a managed, natural space that features an arboretum of around 80 specimen trees. Shrubs and ground planting combine with a mixture of evergreen and deciduous trees including yew, lime, sweet chestnut and sycamore.

Saunter through the trees                                                                    

The Disraelis shared a love of nature and a passion for trees and spent hours enjoying the gardens, strolling through the pleasure grounds to enjoy its vistas over the Chiltern Hills and the season’s changing views.

Take a shaded walk on a summer’s day under the soft canopy of trees, witness the dramatic autumn colours and enjoy the naturalised bulbs in the spring just as they did.

“I have a passion for books and trees. When I come to Hughenden I pass the first week sauntering about examining the trees, and then I saunter in the library and survey the books.” Benjamin Disraeli

Landscape frames

Walk around to the east side of the gardens and here you will see the landscape window created by Mary Anne Disraeli.  The tall straight trunk of the Atlas cedar trees either side, with the ha-ha below, act as a picture frame for the view of the parkland and across the valley to the hills beyond.

View from Pleasure garden towards park

Conservation in action

As much as 40% of the planting was lost during the storms of 1987 and 1990, many of the specimens were planted during Disraeli’s time. Our garden team is out every day working to restore the garden landscape and to protect the trees, helping to alleviate compaction of the roots, damage from squirrels and deer and the threat from competitive species.

There are three old yew trees in the pleasure grounds that appear on tithe maps from the early 1700s, before the original manor was built. Protecting these ancient trees is a key part of our garden team’s work to ensure they are able to reach their full potential; they can live for up to 2,500 years.

By visiting Hughenden, you are helping to preserve the gardens and parkland, helping to keep these special trees healthy for future generations to enjoy.