17th Century Bolton Castle Park Restoration Plans

A FAMILY who have owned a Yorkshire Dales mansion since the 17th century have unveiled plans to help restore its grounds to how they would have been when it was built for a duke announced by King William III for his service in the Glorious Revolution.

Tom and Katie Orde-Powlett have submitted a proposal to Richmondshire District Council to redesign the natural and historic landscape of Bolton Hall, in the heart of Wensleydale.

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While the hall is considered a particularly sensitive location being close to designated Sites of Special Scientific Interest and neglected by the Yorkshire Dales National Park, the significant project has so far received no objection.

The proposal is part of Orde-Powlett’s ambition to make the heritage of its 12,000-acre estate and 14th-century Bolton Castle more accessible to the public while preserving the nature of the area.

The move follows Mr Orde Powlett’s father, Harry, the 8th Baron Bolton, restoring the medieval castle gardens and grounds in 1994 and the gardens of Bolton Hall as well as the introduction of displays of falconry, archery the bow, re-enactment weekends and a boar sounder on the estate.

If approved, the proposal would see a new tree-lined walkway planted from the hall to Lord’s Bridge by converting a corridor from intensive dairy grassland to low-intensity species-rich grassland, a walk in the center and a trolley sweep in front of the hall.

The documents state that the plan for the park aims to follow the 17th and 18th century approach by re-establishing the link between the Grade II listed hall and the River Ure “with a remarkable line of sight which ran north to south from a crest of the valley to the other by the center of the house and the Pont du Seigneur”.

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The documents specify: “The whole landscape was organized along these north-south lines, perpendicular to the great east-west valley.

“Few Baroque landscapes on this scale survive and it would be wonderful to restore the focal design which follows earlier field patterns so simply and clearly.

“The room could again look down the historic avenue to the bridge and the river rather than across a patchwork of variously cultivated and fertilized fields.

“The public can look back along the avenue to see the framed hall at its end.

“And the flow of wildlife, trees, hedgerows, water and biodiversity can be restored to the valley floor.”

The planting program is part of a strategy for the estate, which already has some 1,300 acres of dedicated woodlands and 300 acres of designated old growth woodlands, focused more on conservation and habitat creation than commercial forestry.

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