Uncovering Woodchester's past
Since the discovery of a historic terraced garden at Woodchester Park a few years ago, painstaking work by archaeologists is uncovering its hidden treasures – from the remains of a temple to original paths and a water fountain.
All these had been suffocated by trees, but thanks to funding from the Gloucestershire Environmental Trust and the Linley Shaw Foundation the park’s glorious past is slowly and steadily coming to light.
The terraced gardens were created some time during the early nineteenth century and were linked to a Georgian mansion set within the grounds of the park, which was later replaced by Woodchester Mansion.
Very little is known about the garden, which had been lost under a commercial forestry plantation. But in pouring over documents dating from 1843, records have been unearthed of the terrace walks, a temple overlooking the view of the gardens below and ornamental fountains.
Terraced gardens traditionally provided raised walkways in a garden, from which to take in a particularly beautiful view. The raised pathways here would have provided well-drained, dry walking routes through the garden during wet weather, while subtly moving people from the man-made architecture of the house to the more natural landscape beyond.
The first phase of the work is complete. And in the near future we hope to open up the garden and restore the terraced walks to visitors, so they can once again be explored and enjoyed. Trees would be thinned, old gravel paths mapped and re-instated, and a new viewing platform created to take in the view.
The terraced gardens link closely with the popular family play trail and waymarked walks at Woodchester Park, and we are already reinstating the golden gravel paths that will take you from Woodchester Mansion straight into the gardens.
“This is a brilliant opportunity to carry out a project that brings the history of Woodchester Park to life for visitors, and lets them travel back in time,” said Max Dancer, National Trust ranger.