Chatsworth Gardens

Chatsworth Garden Transformation

The world-famous 105-acre garden at Chatsworth has begun its biggest transformation since Joseph Paxton’s work finished more than 200 years ago.

With garden design and gardening in the spotlight at RHS Chatsworth, it seemed a fitting time to hold a press call to unveil the plans and progress.

Our press contacts from regional, national and garden media joined us for the event. Gathered around its gardens, the Duke of Devonshire and Chatsworth’s Head of Garden & Landscape, Steve Porter, shared the vision and implementation for the garden transformation. We also arranged a filmed presentation by the leading garden designer Tom Stuart-Smith, who will be delivering much of this huge project over the next few years.

Following the presentation, media enjoyed a ‘walk and talk’ session with the Duke and Steve Porter around the garden and discovered the areas where work is beginning and other key developments are to come.

It was a very successful and well-attended press call; we’re looking forward to deliver the PR programme for the project over the next few years.

For more about Chatsworth’s biggest garden transformation, continue reading.

Chatsworth begins biggest garden transformation for 200 years

The world-famous 105-acre garden at Chatsworth in the Peak District has begun its biggest transformation since Joseph Paxton’s work finished more than 200 years ago.

An undeveloped 15-acre area known as ‘Arcadia’ will lead the way in a programme that includes the clearance of previously inaccessible areas, large-scale structure installations, new sculpture commissions, the movement and addition of hundreds of tonnes of rock, more than one hundred thousand new plants and hundreds of new trees, as well as new pathways taking visitors into underexplored areas of the garden.

When the initial works are complete, in around three years time, more than 25-acres of garden will have been transformed, principally the Rockery, the Maze area, the Ravine, the Trout Stream and Jack Pond, as well as the Arcadia area, which is supported by Gucci.

The foundations of Chatsworth’s garden were laid by the celebrated garden designers Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown and Joseph Paxton in the 18th and 19th centuries. Now, a new team of the world’s leading garden designers will build on their work to transform Chatsworth once more.

Working under the direction of Steve Porter, Chatsworth’s Head of Gardens and Landscape, Tom Stuart-Smith will lead the project to design and make major alterations across the garden with work having already begun in the Rockery. The movement and addition of hundreds of tonnes of rock is already underway in an area that was inspired by the 6th Duke’s trip to the Alps in the 19th century. He will also be responsible for the creation of the Arcadia site and changes around the Maze.

Dan Pearson will continue his work with Chatsworth, which began when he designed the estate’s ‘Best in Show’ garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2015. The Chelsea garden inspired the redeveloped Trout Stream that ends at the Jack Pond. His latest contribution will be to redesign the Jack Pond area to include a large, new Corten Steel Pavilion and to create a place for contemplation and reflection.

Having completed the £32m Masterplan project to restore the house a few years ago, the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire have since been planning to have a similar revitalising effect on the garden.

The Duke of Devonshire: “Chatsworth is often thought of as timeless but the truth is that it has always been changing. What we think of now as ‘traditional’ was often considered challenging or revolutionary at the time. Capability Brown and Joseph Paxton used the latest tools, techniques and ideas to deliver their particular genius for modern garden design.

“Tom Stuart-Smith and Dan Pearson have the vision and talent to continue Chatsworth’s radical tradition. We’re going to create an exciting, beautiful, contemporary garden that stands on the shoulders of those earlier giants.”

This large project will be phased over several years and will fully involve the 25-strong Chatsworth garden team, 4 trainees and 75 regular volunteers.

Tom Stuart-Smith: “When I first came to talk to the Duke and Duchess and the garden team at Chatsworth I was struck by their creative energy and the drive to achieve excellence. Arcadia, in particular, is a huge project and while some of the changes to the four glades within it and the pathways between them will be immediately obvious, I’m confident that, thanks to the long-term thinking here, that the whole area will get better and better as the years go by and the planting and other work beds-in.”

The 105-acre garden is the product of nearly 500 years of careful cultivation. Although some points of interest have been replaced to make way for new fashions, the garden retains many early features, including the Canal Pond, Cascade and 1st Duke’s Greenhouse.

The famous waterworks include the 300-year-old Cascade, the Willow Tree Fountain and the impressive gravity-fed Emperor Fountain.

As well as the Maze, the Rockery and the Rose, Cottage and Kitchen Gardens, there are also over five miles of walks with rare trees, shrubs, streams and ponds to discover.

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