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Chatsworth begins biggest garden transformation for 200 years

The world-famous 105-acre garden at Chatsworth in the Peak District has begun its biggest transformation since Joseph Paxton’s work finished more than 200 years ago.
An undeveloped 15-acre area known as ‘Arcadia’ will lead the way in a programme that includes the clearance of previously inaccessible areas, large-scale structure installations and new sculpture commissions. Also the movement and addition of hundreds of tonnes of rock, more than one hundred thousand new plants and hundreds of new trees. New pathways will also take visitors into underexplored areas of the garden.
When the initial works are complete, in around three years time, more than 25 acres of garden will have been transformed. Principally the Rockery, the Maze area, the Ravine, the Trout Stream and Jack Pond, as well as the Arcadia area, which is supported by Gucci.
The foundations of Chatsworth’s garden were laid by the celebrated garden designers Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown and Joseph Paxton in the 18th and 19th centuries. Now, a new team of the world’s leading garden designers will build on their work to transform Chatsworth once more.
Working under the direction of Steve Porter, Chatsworth’s Head of Gardens and Landscape, Tom Stuart-Smith will lead the project to design and make major alterations across the garden with work having already begun in the Rockery. The movement and addition of hundreds of tonnes of rock is already underway in an area that was inspired by the 6th Duke’s trip to the Alps in the 19th century. He will also be responsible for the creation of the Arcadia site and changes around the Maze.
Dan Pearson will continue his work with Chatsworth, which began when he designed the estate’s ‘Best in Show’ garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2015. The Chelsea garden inspired the redeveloped Trout Stream that ends at the Jack Pond. His latest contribution will be to redesign the Jack Pond area to include a large, new Corten Steel Pavilion and to create a place for contemplation and reflection.
This large project will be phased over several years and will fully involve the 25-strong Chatsworth garden team, 4 trainees and 75 regular volunteers.
The famous waterworks include the 300-year-old Cascade, the Willow Tree Fountain and the impressive gravity-fed Emperor Fountain.
As well as the Maze, the Rockery and the Rose, Cottage and Kitchen Gardens, there are also over five miles of walks with rare trees, shrubs, streams and ponds to discover.
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