Where to see ‘Capability’ Brown landscapes
Lose yourself in a landscape of serpentine rivers and Gothic follies, with sweeping drives and parkland fringed by trees… Today we care for 18 places with landscapes created by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown – a pioneering 18th-century gardener, designer and entrepreneur. Here are some of his most important works.
- Ashridge Esate, Hertfordshire
- Brown visited Ashridge in 1759 on the invitation of the 3rd Duke of Bridgewater, although little is known about the work he carried out. Even so, the Golden Valley bears all the hallmarks of classic ‘Capability’ Brown, with sweeping vistas and rolling pastures fringed by woodland.Visit Ashridge’s Golden Valley
- Berrington Hall, Herefordshire
- In 1775, London banker Thomas Harley purchased the Berrington estate. To display his wealth, Harley commissioned Brown to create what would turn out to be his final landscape. Berrington is a beautiful example of Brown’s foresight, as it is only now the oak and beech trees have matured that the park truly looks as he intended – 200 years after he envisioned it.Visit Berrington Hall
- Croome, Worcestershire
- Croome was Brown’s first large-scale project, commissioned by the 6th Earl of Coventry in 1751. Up to this point the fashion had been for formal gardens, but over time Brown’s more naturalistic style changed the face of 18th-century garden design. Following the landscape designer’s death in 1783, the Earl erected a memorial by the lake at Croome to commemorate his work and ‘inimitable genius’.Visit Croome
- Dinefwr, Carmarthenshire
- In 1775 Brown was invited to Newton House – nestled within the park and grounds of Dinefwr Castle – to advise on the landscape. His suggestions included planting trees and relocating the farm and kitchen garden. It’s believed that he also designed one of the walking trails around Dinefwr Park, which makes the most of the natural vistas that frame the house.Visit Dinefwr
- Hatfield Forest, Essex
- Most of Hatfield looks like a typical medieval hunting forest, but in the centre you can find a landscaped lake, non-native trees, and the beautiful Shell House picnic shelter. It was long believed that Brown had been involved in the works, but this was only recently confirmed by researchers who found a 1757 plan for the area by Brown, and a receipt for £50 paid for his work.Visit Hatfield Forest
- Petworth, West Sussex
- When Charles Wyndham inherited the Petworth estate in 1750, he found himself the owner of gardens that were widely criticised by his contemporaries. He commissioned Brown to wipe away the now-unfashionable formal landscape, and replace it with the serpentine ponds and rolling pastures that were the hallmarks of Brown’s growing success.Visit Petworth
- Stowe, Buckinghamshire
- Brown’s time at Stowe was influential for him both professionally and personally. He began his career here in 1741 and it served as the proving ground for his future. Stowe’s ‘Grecian Valley’ is classic example of the naturalistic style that made him famous. Brown married Bridget Wayet in St Mary’s Church, and lived with her and four children in one of the Boycott Pavilions.Visit Stowe
- Wallington, Northumberland
- Born just 2 miles away, Brown’s daily walk to school in Cambo village took him through the Wallington estate. Although he left Northumberland in 1739, he returned in the 1760s to advise Wallington’s owner, Sir Walter. The extent of his work is unclear, although we know he laid out the designs for the Low Lake, and may also have been involved in the creation of the High Lake.Visit Wallington
- Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire
- Wimpole’s magnificent parkland is the work of many of the greatest names in landscape gardening, including Charles Bridgeman and Humphry Repton. However the most important element is surely Brown’s North Park. Created in the 1760s and 1770s, it provides an idyllic setting for the hall and features an extraordinary focus in the form of a picturesque Gothic folly.Visit Wimpole Estate
Brown designed landscapes that fitted in seamlessly with the surrounding countryside. So how do you spot the designs of one of the greatest gardeners of all time?
Lancelot 'Capability' Brown was one of the UK's most celebrated landscape gardeners. Find out how this Georgian gentleman created the quintessential English landscapes that we see at many of the places in our care today.
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