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Unlocking the future at Ightham Mote

IMVI Illustration | Ightham Mote
Infrastructure Project Illustration | © Colvin & Moggridge

A project is under way to redevelop the visitor infrastructure and enhance the historic setting at Ightham Mote, with initial works commencing on 22nd May 2023. These new facilities will enhance the overall setting and secure the future of this historically important and valued place.

The vision

A new visitor reception and shop building

A new, sustainable, visitor reception and shop building will be created at the southern end of the walled garden, close enough to the estate for simple orientation and ease of access, but far enough away to maintain the tranquillity around the house itself.

The new building will have a flat roof planted as a green roof to limit its visibility from outside the walled garden. It will embrace sustainable design principles including elements such as a timber frame, generous insulation, natural ventilation, passive shading and an air source heat pump for heating.

The relocated shop will enable us to interpret and present the coach house, a historic building in its own right with its own fascinating history.

A reinstated walled garden

The walled garden is an important historic feature of Ightham Mote. By freeing it from its current use as a car park, we will be able to return it to its intended purpose. This will provide a great opportunity to involve the community in its creation and longer-term maintenance.

The indicative design is a classic ‘quartered’ one, drawn from historic maps of 1769 and 1803. The detail of the garden will evolve as the project moves forward.

Infrastructure Project | Ightham Mote concept art
Infrastructure Project at Ightham Mote | © Colvin & Moggridge

A holistic site design and improved site orientation

The visitor reception and shop building will be close to the Mote Café, welcoming all visitors to the house, garden and wider estate. There will be a freely accessible, safe picnic area, away from cars, enabled by the removal of parking from the staff and volunteer car park and the relocation of the gardeners’ compound.

There will be more efficient traffic flow within the site with a small area of relocated parking shielded from view by landscape screening. The existing parking spaces retained have been carefully selected to cause the least impact to the heritage asset.

The benefits

Since acquiring Ightham Mote in 1985, the National Trust has invested heavily in the conservation and protection of the Grade I listed building and its rare surviving setting. These latest proposals result from years of site planning, in collaboration with a range of experts from many disciplines, as well as a major public consultation.

The plans are designed to provide benefits to the site and to visitors, including:

  • Relocating some of the existing parking from areas very close to the mansion and from within the walled garden
  • Restoration of the historic walled garden 
  • The creation of a new, sustainable, fully accessible visitor reception and shop 
  • Reduced congestion on local roads by improving infrastructure and traffic circulation within the site
  • Better management of visitor patterns across the year
Visitors at Ightham Mote, Kent

Discover more at Ightham Mote

Find out when Ightham Mote is open, how to get here, the things to see and do and more.

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