Restoring water garden back to its former glory

The moon pond of the water garden of Studley Royal in front of the Temple of Piety. (S)
The moon pond of the water garden of Studley Royal in front of the Temple of Piety. (S)

WORK is about to get under way to restore the garden at Studley Royal estate, near Ripon, to its former 18th century glory.

The project at the National Trust World Heritage Site will see the garden transformed to its 1781 heyday to reflect the works of the former owner John Aislabie as well as the later additions of his son, William.

Michael Ridsdale, head of landscape, said: “I’m really looking forward to seeing this project develop. We know this part of the garden won’t be looking at its best over the coming months, but it’s a great opportunity for people to come and see garden restoration work in action. The end result will look fantastic and it will be another step towards fulfilling our World Heritage Site plan objectives.”

As part of the work, an 18th century garden feature known as a bosquet – which is a group of trees planted in a straight line or geometric shape – will be restored.

The bosquet design was influenced by late 17th century French fashions and used throughout the garden at Studley Royal with English yew used as the hedging plant.

The first phase of the restoration project will see about 50 older trees removed to make way for new planting in the spring of next year.

Staff from local nursery Johnsons of Whixley, near Knaresborough, are growing 300 specially selected close-growing yews for planting in the water garden.

The garden will remain open to the public throughout the project and none of the main paths through the grounds will be affected. Fencing will be erected around the area of work, which will focus on the area between the Rustic Bridge and the bank alongside the canal towards the lake at Studley Royal.