New entrance to house and gardens

So finally the visitor centre/gardeners storage building is now finished! With building works all but complete its time for the garden team to start sprucing up the car park and planting up the new entrance path to the house and gardens.

Visitors to Strawberry Hill will now enter via the new visitor centre, which includes interpretation panels charting the progress of the restoration, and will then be directed along a new avenue pathway (shown in the pictures below) that follows the course of the road which passed the front of Walpole’s property during the 18th century. The installation of this path is a key feature of the landscape restoration, and the garden team will now plant up the entrance path to mimic the ‘country lane’ feel shown in many of the historic images of the external area of Strawberry Hill House.

new build

new visitor centre front elevation as viewed from the car park

The images below show the original historic view and a picture taken from a similar angle today showing what we are trying to recreate!

avenue historic vs new

Left: ‘View in the Avenue looking South West’, John Carter c. 1788 Right: View looking South West along the new entrance path to the house, 2014.

The first part of the planting, the narrow strip along the base of the fence has now been completed. The plants chosen are British natives (and some cultivated varieties of native species!) all commonly found growing along the edges of country lanes and in hedgerows throughout Britain. Some of the plants we included are Hart’s tongue fern (Asplenium scolopendrium), red campion (Silene dioica), royal fern (Osmunda regalis), teasel (Dipsacus fullonum) and self heal (Prunella vulgaris).

avenue side strip planting

Left: Before planting Middle and right: finished planting along base of fence

On the other side of the path we will be planting hornbeams to mimic the ‘avenue’ feel shown in the historic images and then under planting the trees using shrubs, herbaceous perennials and bulbs to give a woodland feel. Planting of the new entrance path and around the wider car park should be completed within the next couple of weeks.

More pictures of the finished plantings will be added once the job is complete!

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