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.

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

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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 £651,000. 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.

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

Give online

So far we've reached £618,132 in donations to the Stowe appeal. Your generous gifts have helped us tremendously.

Stowe Gardens' crumbling ruins

Text to donate

Help us conserve and restore Stowe's treasures like the Temple of Friendship. Help us keep the stories of Stowe alive and Text STOWE to 70123 to donate £3. This is a charity donation service. You will be charged £3, plus one message at your standard network rate. The National Trust will receive 100% of your donation. If you’d rather we didn’t contact you in future, text NOCOMMS NT to 70060. If you wish to discuss this mobile payment call 0203 282 7863. A Registered charity in England and Wales (no: 205846)

Our goal

By 2019 as we celebrate the thirtieth 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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Latest updates

11 Mar 19

Work begins to Bell Gate Lodge

When you arrive to the gardens gate after a refreshing walk down the drive, you'll see Bell Gate Lodge. Originally the gardeners of the eighteenth century would have seen visitors coming, pop out to welcome them, offer them a tour or to purchase a guide book. Since then, the Lodge was modernised with additions and alterations. We're taking the lodge back to it's original state and recreating the area to look how it did in 1800s. Clearance of hedging has already opened up the view.

A view to a white house connecting to the gardens gate at Stowe

21 Feb 19

The Grecian Urn

Originally located in the Grecian Valley between the Circle of the Dancing Faun and statue of Samson and the Philistine, the Grecian Urn was sold in the 1921 auction. Throughout the Grecian Valley the statuary tells the story or martial efforts and deeds whilst pastoral stories are woven through the wooded areas past the Circle of the Dancing Faun towards the Fane and statue of Pastoral Poetry. In the form of a funerary urn, the Grecian Urn is a reminder that even in the idyllic world there is no refuge from death. As part of the Landscape programme we’ve taken copies from the original plinth and Urn which are now located in the collection at Trent Park. We’ve been able to achieve this task thanks to your help - in 2016, £8,512 was raised from visitors purchasing raffle tickets.

A white Urn stands upon a plinth. It is large and represents death in the process of life.

05 Dec 18

New Waters

Work has begun to restore New Waters Lake which sits within the parkland. The water systems of ponds, springs and lakes across the garden were designed to create an illusion of bodies of water flowing all into one river. After restoration took place several years ago to the connecting Copper Bottom Lake, one of the final pieces to help recreate this illusion is being started. Created in the 1800s, its possible with declining money or incorrect methods, the lake was not built well and leaked. Subsequently the lining has been damaged over years of overgrowth. Clearance has been completed over the autumn and winter whilst now the gardens and parks team are doing the hard work. To repair the lining of the lake, the team have repaired dams and are filling the lake in thirds, testing which areas need repairing and which don't before completing the task.

Two men stand in the mud of the NEw Waters Lake in the parkland at Stowe to check the condition of the river lining