Skip to content

Restoring Farnborough’s historic parkland

A view of the landscape garden at Farnborough Hall with open countryside, distant trees and the lake visible on the right
The landscape garden at Farnborough Hall | © National Trust Images/Chris Lacey

Farnborough Hall is a registered historic parkland and a rare example of a ferme ornée, or ornamental farm. Bequeathed to the National Trust in the 1960s, a restoration and conservation programme followed in partnership with Natural England to transform the parkland back to its 18th-century style.

A brief history

Farnborough Hall is a rare and very special example of a ferme ornée (ornamental farm), created in the 18th century by William Holbech II. The estate was passed to the Trust in 1960 with the endowment of Geoffrey Holbech.

Early 18th-century design saw the transition from rigid symmetry and formality towards a looser, more natural and informal style. However, this was also the period where the owners of smaller properties were able to make their mark and be influential.

A view of the landscape from beside the obelisk at Farnborough Hall, with long-reaching views of the countryside beyond a neat hedge, a glimpse of the obelisk visible on the right
Long-reaching views at Farnborough Hall | © National Trust Images/John Hammond

A partnership for the future

The work to restore Farnborough's parkland has been ongoing since the 1960s and we now have a Higher-Level Stewardship (HLS) agreement with Natural England.

The aim is to deliver significant environmental benefits:

  • for wildlife
  • landscape
  • the historic environment
  • resource protection

By embarking on a parkland conservation and restoration programme, it's hoped that the parkland views will be restored back to 18th-century design.

Recreating an 18th-century experience

Views and vistas are fundamental to the designed landscape at Farnborough, with framed views capturing the pastoral idyll, ornamented with garden buildings, farm buildings, temples and an obelisk.

There are circuit walks along shaded avenues (known as the terrace) and walks beside water with the pools and cascade.

The terrace walk once allowed visitors to admire wide long-distance views across the landscape; it's our ambition to provide this experience to visitors once more.

Timeline of the project

9 November 2015

Completing the work on the pools

Phase one of the project began with work on the pools, with contractors working alongside an archaeologist to strip down and rebuild the southern Sourlands Weir, stabilising the bank sides and refurbishing the pathways.

This work enabled people to walk side-by-side around the pool, as they would have done in the 18th century. To date, this has been one of the largest projects the Trust has undertaken on site.

The 14 large windows of Farnborough Hall, Warwickshire, an 18th-century house made from honey-coloured stone

Discover more at Farnborough Hall

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

Our partners

Natural England

Natural England is the government’s adviser for the natural environment in England. They help to protect and restore our natural world.

Visit website 

You might also be interested in

A sitting room at Farnborough Hall with blue walls and elegant furnishings surrounding an elaborate fireplace, including gold couches and side tables

Things to see and do at Farnborough Hall 

Explore Farnborough Hall’s grand staircase and ornamental plasterwork, before discovering the grand landscape vision of William Holbech II.

The gardens at Farnborough Hall, Warwickshire

History of Farnborough's parkland 

Farnborough is an outstanding example of the work of Sanderson Miller. Water features, walkways, hedge and tree planting were in contrast to the open and, at that time, unenclosed agricultural land of the Midlands.

Birds eye view of the kitchen garden project at Florence Court, County Fermanagh

Grants and funding 

Find out more about the funding the National Trust receives from grants, and the projects it has helped support.

A man looking down the guard around a tree sapling, in a landscape dotted with other newly planted trees

Our cause 

We believe that nature, beauty and history are for everyone. That’s why we’re supporting wildlife, protecting historic sites and more. Find out about our work.

A group of people walking along a grassy path through an avenue of trees in full leaf

For everyone, for ever: our strategy to 2025 

Read about our strategy 'For everyone, for ever' here at the National Trust, which will take the organisation through to 2025.