Work is currently underway to stabilise the ruins of the Temple of Friendship. A key moment within the restoration programme, visitors will be able to explore the ruins for the first time in decades. The temple was originally designed by James Gibbs for the use of Lord Cobham with his political guests on their visits to the gardens. A lot of the original temple was destroyed by fire in the nineteenth century. Rather than re-build the temple, we're keeping the ruined facade and making it safe for visitors to explore once again.
Restoring Stowe 2015-2019
The Landscape Programme
2015 saw the start of a new phase of restoration for the gardens at Stowe. The Landscape Programme comprises of 54 tasks taking place over five years 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. Highlights will also see the opening of parts of the gardens not currently open to the public.
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 9-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.
Forever for everyone, how you can help restore Stowe?
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.
Ways to donate
Another way to get involved would be to make a charitable donation for our current restoration work, we are currently looking to raise vital funds of £648,000. Every donation will help make a significant impact on Stowe over the next five years and one that you can come back year after year and enjoy seeing it develop.
By 2019 as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the gardens, 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.
Follow our progress
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13 Nov 16
Temple of Friendship
04 Nov 16
Lamport Garden pond
Over the past few weeks, a team of volunteers have been working hard to excavate one of the old ponds in the Lamport Garden. The secluded area hidden away behind the Chinese House was previously the location of the lost village of Lamport, which was destroyed in order to expand the gardens and parkland. We're working to restore the area to which was badly neglected over recent decades.
15 Sep 16
Return of the Dancing Faun
After months of waiting, the Dancing Faun has returned, taking pride of place on the Saxon Altar. He will soon to be surrounded by the shepherds which are still being cast and painted