Restoring Bridgeman's landscape at Lodge Park
The landscape at Lodge Park was designed by Charles Bridgeman in the 1720s and 1730s, commissioned by Sir John Dutton. Unfortunately, it was never 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 and worked on Royal residences.
He worked on Hampton Court and Kensington palaces, as well as on the landscapes of private houses such as Stowe, and public areas including Hyde Park.
Bridgeman's influence on gardening
Bridgeman had a critical and influential role in the transition from formal, geometric layouts of gardens to the freer, more ‘natural’ style gardens designs.
It's unknown how many of Bridgeman’s landscapes remain, but we do know that many have been changed. It showed the status of Lodge Park's owner Sir John Dutton that he employed a gardener of such importance.
Researching Lodge Park's past
The Conservation Management Plan at Lodge Park 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.
Results of the survey
From the survey it's known that a lot of the tree planting that Bridgeman planned was implemented, and quite a few areas remain today.
It's also known 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.
How we're restoring Lodge Park
The first 102 trees were planted in January 2021 and include both lime and elm trees. Historically 14,000 elms were planted in the landscape, but none have survived due to diseases such as Dutch elm disease.
The elms that 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.
Although much of the original landscape at Lodge Park has now been lost, there are still plenty of clues as to what may have looked like in the past. The designs, created by the gardener Charles Bridgeman, was considered revolutionary at the time.
Sherborne estate is a great place for a walk throughout all seasons. It is also a haven for wildlife, so bring along your binoculars and see what you can spot.
We’ve introduced wildlife corridors and water meadows to the Sherborne Estate so that farmers in the Windrush Valley can live in greater harmony with nature while still growing crops and raising livestock.
Find out more about the funding the National Trust receives from grants, and the projects it has helped support.