Look­ing for park­land’s Tu­dor paths

Western Daily Press (Saturday) - - News - STAFF RE­PORTER news@west­erndai­ly­press.co.uk

AR­CHAE­OL­O­GISTS will be con­duct­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions in the park­land at Dyrham Park this Oc­to­ber, as the his­toric routes through it are in­ves­ti­gated to help plan a net­work of new path­ways.

Hard­stand­ing path­ways are planned to en­sure ac­cess to the 270-acre Na­tional Trust park­land near Bath all year round. In pre­vi­ous win­ters the park­land has been closed when the weather’s been very wet as the grass gets wa­ter­logged, slip­pery and very eas­ily dam­aged.

Ar­chae­ol­o­gist Paul Martin, from Ab­so­lute Ar­chae­ol­ogy, will work with vol­un­teers to in­ves­ti­gate his­toric routes and path­ways.

They hope to un­cover ev­i­dence of me­dieval track­ways and the old drive to the pre­vi­ous Tu­dor house. By build­ing the new paths on the ex­ist­ing ones, the orig­i­nals can be pre­served and pro­tected from dam­age.

The team is due to work on six sep­a­rate ar­eas across the park for around four weeks.

Gar­den and park man­ager Dale Den­nehy said: “Other than the main drive through the park­land that was laid out af­ter the re-land­scap­ing of the park­land at the end of the 1700s, there are very few hard sur­faced routes around the park.

“How­ever, be­neath the grass we know there are many his­toric routes dat­ing back hun­dreds of years in­clud­ing the old drive of the Tu­dor house.

“Ini­tially five routes will be in­ves­ti­gated that will en­able us to cre­ate an all year round cir­cu­lar route through the park to the house and gardens.

“Th­ese routes will link the ex­ist­ing drive to Old Lodge and the Ter­races. There will also be a route for ve­hi­cles so out­door staff and vol­un­teers can ac­cess Old Lodge for con­ser­va­tion work.

“In the fu­ture, fur­ther routes will be in­ves­ti­gated that will open up fur­ther walks and ac­cess to im­prove both the ex­pe­ri­ence for our vis­i­tors and ac­cess for the out­door team.”

To de­velop the path­ways the team have re­searched old maps and pic­tures and used ground imag­ing Li­dar.

The path in­stal­la­tion will be phased over a few years with some pri­or­ity routes be­ing worked on im­me­di­ately to im­prove the ac­cess of the ex­ist­ing park­land on of­fer, such as all-year ac­cess to Old Lodge play area and the Ter­races.

The path­ways work forms part of big­ger plan of de­vel­op­ment for the in­fra­struc­ture of Dyrham Park to ac­com­mo­date ris­ing vis­i­tor num­bers.

As well as im­prov­ing the car park­ing, cater­ing and re­tail, one of the project’s ob­jec­tives is to in­crease all-year-round ac­ces­si­bil­ity of the prop­erty and to im­prove the vis­i­tor ex­pe­ri­ence of the park­land.

With the sup­port of in­ter­nal staff and vol­un­teers and ad­vice and sup­port from ex­ter­nal con­ser­va­tion or­gan­i­sa­tions, the team are work­ing on a wider plan for the con­ser­va­tion and man­age­ment of the park­land in­clud­ing the con­ser­va­tion of na­ture, vet­eran trees and the lime­stone grass­land that sus­tains the his­toric herd of fal­low deer.

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