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Plans to restore historic parkland move to a Higher Level

31 January 2014

The Trentham Estate’s long-term aim to become a major part in the tercentenary celebrations of Lancelot “Capability” Brown, in 2016, has taken another giant step forward with news of a historic 10-year agreement with Natural England.

The agreement has placed Trentham Estate’s North Park, as well as much of its woodland, parkland and wetland, into “Higher Level Stewardship”.

“This is a significant development and will support both the continued ecological conservation management, as well as the landscape conservation management, over much of this historic estate,” explains the Head of Trentham Estate and Gardens, Michael Walker.

The news comes at a significant point in Trentham Estate’s long and illustrious history.  Plans are already under way to celebrate the 10th anniversary, in 2014, of the reopening of Trentham Gardens.  And the decade ahead looks likely to give visitors and locals alike the opportunity to enjoy yet another natural landscape at Trentham.

As a project, it will also coincide with the build-up to one of the most important horticultural celebrations of recent times - the tercentenary of Capability Brown.

Described as everything from “the most famous of England’s landscape gardeners” to “England’s greatest gardener", Brown remains a household name to this day - thanks to the fact that we are all still visiting some of the 170 parklands he designed and created in the 18th century and has become known as “the natural style”.

And The Trentham Estate is in that wonderful position of not only having been deeply associated with Brown, but also being currently involved in a major project to rediscover the landscape which he created here, in the heartland of Staffordshire.

Another vital element to revealing the hidden woodland around Browns iconic mile long lake will be the removal of the invasive wild Rhododendron from around the lake and woodland.  This is a major undertaking that is being supported by the Forestry Commission over the next two years which will significantly support the ecological and landscape conservation of the estate by providing opportunities for natural regeneration, new planting and to reveal a more open character through the lakeside trees is believed to be as Brown envisaged.

“We are also investigating new opportunities to demonstrate the highest standard of contemporary conservation management which would enable the historic landscape to be presented in a way that is both imaginative and up to date,” continues Michael Walker, adding that this is all part of the plan to celebrate the Tercentenary of Capability Browns birth in 2016.

Brown was first commissioned to work at Trentham in 1759, where he was consulted on developing the body of water that would be transformed into a mile-long lake.  He was commissioned on two further occasions, and maintained a lengthy engagement at Trentham until 1780.  Like many other parklands of Britain however the Brownian landscape, though still clearly visible in many respects, gradually lost its shape and styling over the next 150 years.

Visitors to the parkland are already able to not only see a vision from the past, but also the shape of things to come.

“For us, Brown’s Tercentenary in 2016 will - we hope - be a celebration of what we’ll have already revealed of ‘the genius of Mr Brown’ and many of the other great designers that have helped shape Trentham’s historic landscape over past 300 years “ says Michael Walker.  “We have only just begun to rediscover what an immensely special place Trentham really is.”

The parkland is accessed from either within the garden, or from the labyrinth of estate footpaths, and the long-distance Two Saints Way Trail which connects the Estate and Stoke-on-Trent to both Chester and Lichfield.  Over the past 10 years, the Trentham Estate has itself become one of the UKs leading visitor attractions.

For full details of all Trentham’s attractions, events, opening times and prices visit


For all media information, photo-opportunities and images, please contact:

Michael Walker             Tel: 01782-657341        E-mail:

Notes to editors:

The Higher Level Stewardship scheme will include:

-Restoration of Lowland Heath in North Park.

-Both the area of Heathland and the majority of parkland within the North Park will grazed by native breed cattle.

-Plans to reveal and restore the landscape character of much of the estate including within North Park and Monument Hill.

-Restoration of Woodland and Wood Pasture including the control of invasive species and bracken.

-Restoration of the Traditional Water Meadow and wetland adjacent to Strongford Bridge.

-Replacement of the 2.1m tall Zebex security fencing around the reservoir in North Park with traditional metal parkland cattle fencing.  (Along with the installation of the same parkland fencing around the small pond in North Park).

The Trentham Estate, on the edge of Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, offers one of the UK’s most diverse days out with a range of leisure activities for all ages.  It is one of the country’s top leisure destinations, attracting more than 3m visitors per year and was Highly Commended by VisitEngland in the Large Visitor Attraction category in their Awards for Excellence 2012.  The fabulous restored Trentham Gardens at the heart of the Estate attracted 430,000 paying visitors in 2013 - making them one of the most visited Gardens in the UK.  Owned by St. Modwen Properties PLC, the UK’s leading regeneration specialist, the 725-acre Estate - which was previously owned for over 400 years by the Dukes of Sutherland - has undergone a massive regeneration programme since 2003.  It boasts the famous Trentham Gardens, including the very important Italianate Gardens designed by Charles Barry in the 1830s that have been lovingly restored using top landscape designers. The gardens feature the UK’s first ‘barefoot’ walk, a great children’s adventure play area and maze and a beautiful walk around the mile long lake; the Trentham Garden Centre and Shopping Village, an eclectic mix of shops and eateries; Trentham Monkey Forest - home to 140 endangered Barbary Macaques; Aerial Extreme, an exhilarating treetop high rope adventure course, and a 119 bedroom Premier Inn hotel.

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