What the history books say
History books and sketches reveal fascinating elements in Staunton's landscape from the last 200 years. There's the garden, which was originally laid out in the 1820s and 1830s, with a series of specialist gardens and follies, by Sir George Staunton to accommodate his Chinese and botanical interests.
Image above: The Shell House
These are surrounded by a park dating back to the eighteenth century – re-developed by Sir George in the early nineteenth century, and later adapted.
Fast forward to the modern day
Back to current day, it's this parkland (and its key areas within Thicket Lawn and High Lawn, to the west of the gardens and on the north side of Middle Park Way) that staff and volunteers have been busy working on. They've been carrying out research on as part of a current countryside stewardship scheme we're involved in.
This work has involved a fantastic team of 12 volunteers headed by up Staunton rangers, Scott Wallbridge and Ashlea Walters. Using old maps, along with new aerial images, they've been able to gain an understanding of not only which species were popular 200 years ago (it turns out to be lime, oak and beech) but where these trees were previously in situ across Staunton's parkland so that they can make great strides to recreate it.
As a result, 17 new trees have been planted since the new year.
It's truly tree-mendous to think that these trees are not only a tribute to what was on site over the last two centuries but that the new ones will form part of a fresh chapter in Staunton's history. They'll be enjoyed by visitors for many years to come.
There will be similar conservation tasks coming up. If this appeals to you and you have a few hours to spare, email StauntonHLF@hants.gov.uk.