The water garden fountain is restored
The original Water Garden was the work of the late Sir Francis Dashwood who dedicated it to his second wife Marcella. The white bridge is named after her and bears her monogram. It was designed by David Hicks and inspired by one at Chiswick Villa; it stands at one end of the canal with the fountain bowl at the other. It is said that the original fountain spout rose over six metres
Often referred to as ‘gin clear,’ one of the delightful features of the Park is the crystalline clarity of the chalk stream water which runs through the streams, over the cascades and into the lake.
The technicalities of restoring the fountain were taken on by Mark Oliver - a “Fountaineer” (a hybrid of Fountain Engineer - which seems apt). It has been an interesting and challenging project complicated by the fact that the little River Wye which feeds the stream to the fountain is a winterbourne stream. This means that unless there is a good deal of winter rain stored up in the chalk aquifers in the surrounding hills, all the streams that run into the park to feed the lake can run dry - as they did this winter.
Eventually, with the York stone base re-laid, fishes’ mouths and letterbox spouts opened up and with electrics, pump and sump in place, all we could do was wait for the water to appear. Hallelujah ! The stream started running again at the beginning of March 2016; the pump was switched on and a water spout shot into the air – in fact well over six metres high!
Our hope is that having the fountain up and running will kick start the restoration plan for this pretty little sylvan corner of West Wycombe Park.