Elvaston’s landscape is recognised nationally, extensively for the work of William Barron under the patronage of the 4th Earl of Harrington. This is reflected by the Elvaston Estate having a Grade II* listing on Historic England’s Register of Historic Parks and Gardens.
It is hoped that the recently commissioned Gardens Maintenance Management Plan (GMMP) will re-profile existing garden resources to maintain the gardens to minimise any further loss of its historic significance.
Even with the GMMP in place there are a number of challenges that the gardens and parkland face, the most pressing of which is the hydrology of the site, including the lake.
Phase two will lead on from the success of phase one and the work undertaken as part of the GMMP. However, there are a number of elements that will require a significant capital investment. These include:
- Lake restoration including works to the clay liner and the removal of contaminated silt
- Restoring and enhancing drainage across the site
- Restoration of rock work including the Grade II listed Grotto and Sunken Garden
- Reinterpretation of some of Barron’s early yew planting where original planting is beyond retraining but the design intention will be lost without some new planting
In addition to this, it may be desirable to recreate some of Barron’s lost designs such as the ‘Mon Plaisir’ and the ‘Alhambra’ gardens. Both of these are in the Core Pleasure Gardens. As the condition of these gardens improves and more floral displays are incorporated, charging an entry fee may be considered for area 8.
It is expected that the moving of the main visitor car park as part of phase one will alleviate some of the immediate pressure being placed upon the Grade II listed Grotto to the north of the lake and root compaction caused by footfall along the East Avenue, enabling the restoration and long-term conservation of these important historic features.
At the height of Barron’s tenure as Head Gardener at Elvaston there were over 100 gardeners working on the Estate. In undertaking a restoration of the grounds of the Elvaston Estate, an understanding of the resource available to maintain it after completion needs to be kept in mind. It is not the intention to restore the grounds to a point where their maintenance is beyond the available resource. The ambition is to get them in to sustainable ’good-heart’ where the significance of William Barron’s and the 4th Earl of Harrington’s designs are clearly appreciable for generations to come.