Looking for parkland’s Tudor paths
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.