Restoring Stowe

Project

The Landscape Programme

2015 saw the start of a new phase of restoration for the gardens at Stowe. The Landscape Programme is comprised of 54 tasks to reinstate many of the lost temples and monuments that once ‘dressed’ the gardens like pieces of a theatre set whilst undertaking maintenance on structures and lakes. The project has achieved many significant milestones and has been extended to complete some of the more complex tasks. Highlights will also see the opening of parts of the gardens not currently open to the public.

The Corinthian Arch stands proud as you drive up Stowe Avenue to greet your arrival.

Download the Stowe update 

Your support has enabled significant improvements to be made at Stowe’s parkland and gardens. Find out the difference your donations are making at Stowe.

What restoration work will take place?

This project will transform the gardens of Stowe with almost another 1/3 of the existing size being added and made accessible to the public, including the reinstatement of land currently used as a nine-hole golf course.

The Western Garden

The Western Garden will see the restoration and recreation of the Queens Theatre, the installation of The Wrestlers statues, and the Wood and Spinney being revealed. In the Grecian Valley many iconic statues will be returned to their places including Hercules and Boar; Statue of the Fane of Pastoral Poetry; The Grecian Valley Urn; The Circle of the Dancing Faun.

The Elysian Fields

The Elysian Fields, in part designed by William Kent, will see the return of the Temple of Modern Virtue – deliberately built as a ruin to show the degradation of the Walpole government, the Marquess urn, the statue of Apollo and the Nine Muses as well as restoration work on the Shell Bridge.

Statues in a garden

Restoring Apollo and the Nine Muses to Stowe 

As part of a wider project to restore Stowe to its former glory, the task of reinstating Apollo and the Nine Muses is one of the National Trust's most significant pieces of work since caring for the gardens at Stowe. Read all about how the project is developing.

For everyone, for ever. How you can help

The gardens at Stowe are lovingly cared for by a team of staff and volunteers. If you care passionately about the future of Stowe and enjoy seeing it develop through restoration, it's the perfect chance for you to get involved.

As a charity we rely heavily on support from volunteers. We have roles for gardeners, Ha-ha wall restorers, bakers, administrators all of which help care for Stowe, raising funds to go back into the restoration of the gardens.

Donations

We reached over £618,132 in donations towards the Stowe appeal. Every donation gifted to the project has made a significant impact on Stowe and one that you can come back year after year and enjoy seeing it develop. 

A golden stone statue of two naked men locked in a fight stand atop a plinth, depicting the story of Sampson and the Philistine. Behind is lush green shrubbery to create a backdrop as the statue can be seen across a valley
Thank you

We couldn't have done it without you

We're no longer raising funds for this project, take a look at our other fundraising activities to see how you can support the gardens and parkland at Stowe.

Our goal

The completion of this project will have brought us considerably closer to our goal of restoring Stowe to its eighteenth-century heyday when visitors came from far and wide to marvel at their scale and splendour. Their influence began what later became known as the English landscape garden movement, which changed the face of landscapes across Europe.

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Through the lens

A photographer's dream, it's easy to find an inspiring view when you visit Stowe. From monumental temples to nature's beauty, share your snaps with us on Instagram.

Latest updates

10 Feb 20

The Muses arrive

An exciting piece of progress for the project has seen the return of the Nine Muses to the garden. Visit our new project article on Apollo and the Nine Muses to read all about how we've developed the statues with the team from Cliveden Conservation Workshop.

Statues stand surrounded by cages

15 May 19

Temple of Modern Virtue

Designed by William Kent in the 1730s and located within the Elysian Fields, the Temple of Modern Virtue is depicted in early engravings as a ruin with a headless statue. It’s designed as a juxtaposition to the Temple of Ancient Virtue (the embodiment of virtues) and ironically illustrated the less than virtuous folly of quick wins, self-interested celebrity and gain. Recent research has uncovered an account of a visit to Stowe in 1777 by Peter Oliver where he describes in detail the Temple of Modern Virtue: ‘it is a perfect Ruin, with the Pieces of a Statues scattered about the Head, with a huge curled Wig, lying one Way & the Arms, Legs & Bodies spread other Ways: this Object is curious…’. We now believe that more elements of Modern Virtue than previously thought survived into at least the late 1770s. Following earlier excavations, we’re now revisiting both the archival and archaeological evidence and have commissioned more extensive investigations. These have already uncovered new information and once completed will help to inform our understanding of this Temple and future restoration plans.

Uncovered stone in the ground.

26 Apr 19

The Temple of Friendship is open!

Designed by Gibbs and constructed in the 1730s the Temple of Friendship was used by Lord Cobham and his ‘Patriotic’ friends for political debate, social meetings and supper parties. The temple had the dedication ‘Amicitiae S.’ - Sacred to Friendship and was decorated with murals designed by Sleter symbolic of friendship, justice and liberty. Damaged by fire in the 1840s we’ve restored this ruin and are recreating a Regency style garden. Exotic plants will be introduced from around the world to compliment traditional plants and displayed in a natural way.

The large ruined temple of friendship at Stowe with four columns supporting the roof. Fences surround the temple while it is restored