Bloom­ing Early

Mild weather prompts open week­end at Clive­den

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE -

WITH a warm start to win­ter signs of spring will al­ready be bloom­ing at Clive­den near Maiden­head, which is open for an ex­tra week­end on Fe­bru­ary 6 and 7 so vis­i­tors can make the most of po­ten­tial early flow­er­ing.

By Fe­bru­ary ev­ery cor­ner of Clive­den es­tate will be com­ing to life, as drifts of snow­drops be­gin to give way to swathes of daf­fodils along­side unique for­mal plant­ing.

This year sees the Long Gar­den filled to burst­ing with 20,000 strik­ingly-scented blue hy­acinths, while the Parterre will be home to thou­sands of tulips in a high-Vic­to­rian style dis­play. Come mid-Fe­bru­ary the pan­sies and polyan­thus which form part of this dis­play will be start­ing to bloom, while the tulips and hy­acinths are ex­pected to flour­ish later in the sea­son.

It’s not only the gar­dens that are com­ing to life this spring – vis­i­tors now have the op­por­tu­nity to walk in the foot­steps of roy­alty and celebrity on the iconic South Ter­race steps which lead down to Clive­den’s Parterre.

The steps have been closed for nearly two years as part of the South Ter­race restora­tion. One of the largest con­ver­sa­tion projects within the Na­tional Trust, it is bud­geted to cost around £5mil­lion.

The ter­race it­self is thought to be the old­est sur­viv­ing build­ing at Clive­den, with some al­ter­ation and re­fur­bish­ment over time, hav­ing sur­vived two fires and drainage dam­age over four cen­turies.

The Ter­race fa­cade you see to­day is known to date from Charles Barry’s 1851 de­signs, which were drawn up for the Duke and Duchess of Suther­land af­ter the se­cond fire at Clive­den de­stroyed the ma­jor­ity of the house above.

Barry, fa­mous for de­sign­ing the Houses of Par­lia­ment, in­tended the sweep­ing de­sign to make the gar­dens feel like an ad­di­tional room in the great house, and for the own­ers and their guests a cen­tral part of the Clive­den ex­pe­ri­ence, as the gar­dens are to­day.

The steps will be open un­til the sum­mer when they will be closed tem­po­rar­ily once again so the flag­stones on top of the Ter­race can be re­paired and the his­toric drainage sys­tem,sys­tem which caused some of the de­te­ri­o­ra­tion to the Ter­race it­self, can be im­proved.

Along with the con­ser­va­tion work to the stairs and Cock­er­ill Pav­il­ion over the past two years, the western side of the Ter­race has been re­paired and the work to the dome-shaped sound­ing cham­ber be­neath the cen­tre of the Ter­race is on­go­ing. The gates to the Sound­ing Cham­ber are also cur­rently be­ing re­stored and gilded, and on their re­turn will form a sig­nif­i­cant eye-catch­ing cen­tre-piece of the Ter­race.

Mark Brad­shaw,Brad­shaw Gen­eral Man­ager at Clive­den, said: “The South Ter­race is an iconic part of the Clive­den ex­pe­ri­ence and cen­tral to the prop­erty’s his­tory and de­sign.

“When it is com­plete, the restora­tion pro­ject will have been run­ning for more than five years, but this is just a small part of the to­tal life-span of the Ter­race which we are look­ing af­ter for gen­er­a­tions to come.

“We look for­ward to wel­com­ing vis­i­tors to en­joy us­ing the steps this spring and to dis­cover all they can about the South Ter­race pro­ject as it takes place.”

Bloom­ing mar­vel­lous: The daf­fodils and snow­drops are com­ing to life as are the South Ter­race steps which vis­i­tors will be able to walk down to to the stun­ning land­scaped gar­dens CLIVE­DEN’S gar­dens, wood­lands and cafés will be open for an ex­tra week­end on Fe­bru­ary 6 and 7, then daily from Fe­bru­ary 13, 10am un­til 5.30pm.

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