Colvin & Moggridge
uniquely personal landscapes

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The Column of Victory in the Blenheim Palace Grounds, Oxfordshire, England

Landscape Restoration Plan

Expertise / Capability Brown / Historic Landscape Management / Masterplanning / Planting Plans

The Challenge

Dutch Elm Disease and the growing senility and decline of many of the trees threatened what could be considered Lancelot Brown’s greatest masterpiece. The 11th Duke of Marlborough commissioned us, in association with Cobham Resource Consultants, to prepare a landscape restoration plan to guide replanting over the next 15 years.

The Outcome

Perpetuating this historic landscape required much longer-term thinking. A masterplan on a 200-year cycle was consequently conceived, accompanied by a short-term action plan. The masterplan was centred around three conservation principles: natural regeneration; continuous select felling and replanting; and planting replacement features in sequence. The action plan described in detail works to be done over the first 10 years. The shelter belt around the Great Park has been regenerated and Brown's plantations around the lake have now been restored. The new planting attempts to reproduce the original composition of mass and texture exactly, because the precision of the original planting is such that any change in shape would significantly alter the design as originally conceived. We have since been tasked with conserving other important historic features and ensuring contemporary landuses continue to be integrated in a manner complementary to the historic park.