Restoration of the Bridgeman landscape
The landscape was designed by Charles Bridgeman in the 1720s-30s, commissioned by Sir John Dutton. Unfortunately it wasn't completed. Now almost 300 years later work has begun to restore the design.
Who was Charles Bridgeman?
Charles Bridgeman was an important gardener in the 18th century. He was appointed Royal Gardener to George II, working on Royal residences including Hampton Court and Kensington Palace, as well as on the landscapes of private houses such as Stowe, and public areas including Hyde Park.
Bridgeman had a critical and influential role in the transition from very formal, geometric layouts of gardens to the freer, more ‘natural’ style gardens designs. It is unknown how many of Bridgeman’s landscapes remain, but we do know that many have been changed.
It shows the status of Sir John Dutton that he was employing a gardener of such importance.
How much was completed?
Our Conservation Management Plan used a variety of techniques to find out how far the landscape was planted. Tree surveys were conducted to look at how many, and which, trees are contemporary with the design. A LiDAR survey, taken from a plane using lasers showed tree pits in places where trees no longer survive, but which existed on earlier plans.
From this we know that a lot of the tree planting that Bridgeman planned was implemented, and quite a few areas still remain today. We also know that the serpentine canal he planned was never realised, but that it may have influenced the development of The Serpentine in Hyde Park, also by Bridgeman, five years later.
What happens now?
The first 102 trees were planted in January, and include both lime and elm trees. Historically 14,000 elms were planted in the landscape, however none have survived due to diseases such as Dutch elm disease.
The elms which have now been planted are disease-resistant Ulmus 'New Horizon' elms.
The trees have been planted by the Cotswold Voluntary Wardens, as part of their 50th anniversary celebrations, as well as National Trust staff and volunteers.
The next phase of tree planting will begin in the autumn.
Wander through Lodge Park's unique landscape on this informative guided walk. The guide will talk about the landscape and it's history, as well as the plans to restore it.
Walks last 30 - 45 minutes, covering about 1 mile.