The beautiful landscapes created by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown have been celebrated at various events this summer across Britain and this is set to continue with a range of events in support of Heritage Open Days.
Talks, walks, performances, exhibitions and other activities are taking place with free access to the gardens and houses at a selection of renowned properties, as well as lesser known private and public secret green spaces and community gardening projects with fascinating stories to tell.
Here is a flavour of some of the 27 special events taking place to celebrate sites created by the grandfather of landscape architecture:
· Roam around 250 acres of garden at Stowe in Buckinghamshire, where Brown looked after the gardens from 1741-1751. The doors will also be thrown open to temples and monuments that are normally closed. Stowe House, Church and Gothic Temple will also be open, so you can experience a new view of Stowe.
· Discover a secret landscape with guided tours of a lost Capability Brown gem at the Woodlands Farm in Staffordshire which was part of the Fisherwick Estate – once one of his biggest projects, now the working Woodhouse Farm CIC. An 18th century Walled Garden, Cherry Orchard, a ha-ha and other elements of the original Brown landscape are just some of the areas gradually being uncovered on the site, plus something for younger ones with rare breed cattle, pigs and chickens.
· Excite your senses at Sheffield Park and Gardens, East Sussex with their ‘Playing with perspective’ trail involving mirrors, sounds and textures and see the garden from a whole new perspective. This trail, taking inspiration from Capability Brown, encourages visitors to explore the garden using all your senses and uses mirrors to replicate the reflections in the lakes to see things a little differently.
· Explore the world of 18th century gardening with a behind the scenes curator’s guided tour of rare books and artwork from the collections of the RHS Lindley Library, Vincent Square, London – the finest horticultural library in the world. Visitors will also have a chance to see the new exhibition on Capability Brown ‘A Capable Businessman’, which includes his Account Book.
· Visit Cadland Gardens in Hampshire and take a guided tour of Capability Brown’s smallest surviving pleasure garden. Exquisitely sited by Capability Brown to take advantage of the breath-taking views across the Solent towards the Isle of Wight, Cadland Gardens are his smallest surviving pleasure ground. It is a miniature landscape garden with a circular belt walk, broad vistas, intimate peeps out to sea, the delights of scent and foliage and the play of light and shade on the grass.
· Enjoy access to an 18th century Palladian mansion designed by Capability Brown for Clive of India at Claremont House in Surrey. It later became the home of Princess Charlotte and Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg. The young Queen Victoria spent many of her birthdays here and it was a favourite family home. The exiled King and Queen of the French, Louis Philippe and Marie-Amelie, lived here after the 1848 Revolution.
· Cross one of only four Palladian bridges in the world, take in sweeping views of the World Heritage City of Bath, and learn about the mysteries surrounding Capability Brown in Prior Park Landscape Garden, Somerset. There’s lots for kids to enjoy with bug hunting on the rotten trail or pick up a 50 Things to do before you before you’re 11 and 3/4 book and tick off some of the activities, such as climb a really big hill or catch a falling leaf.
· ‘Walk with Capability’ at Temple Newsam Park, in West Yorkshire and enjoy a circular stroll with Capability Brown through the landscape to see some of his grand designs for the estate.
· As a special treat for Heritage Open Days visitors, Burton Constable in Yorkshire is offering free admission to the grounds and stables with guided tours of the parkland in the county’s best docuemented landscape by Capability Brown. You will also have the opportunity to try their new limited-edition beer brewed specially by Great Newsome Brewery and aptly named ‘Incapability Brown Ale.’
Heritage Open Days are one of the Capability Brown Festival’s partners and is co-ordinated and promoted nationally by the National Trust.
For more details of these and other events at Capability Brown sites at part of Heritage Open Days visit www.heritageopendays.org.uk