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Rediscovered plans inspire new Capability Brown garden bus tours

Capability Brown’s ‘lost landscape’ design for Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire now features in a number of new garden bus tours designed and narrated by Emma, Duchess of Rutland.
Brown’s original landscape designs lay largely forgotten in the Castle’s archives for almost 200 years, thought to have been lost in the 1816 fire that destroyed almost half of the Castle. The plans were only rediscovered by chance back in 2014. A subsequent two-year restoration programme, led by the 11th Duchess, has recreated large parts of the landscape as it was conceived by Brown.
Capability Brown guided tours are hosted in the Castle’s new eco-friendly, rechargeable electric bus. The story of the ‘lost landscape’ is narrated by Emma, Duchess of Rutland. She says:
“At first glance, much of Capability Brown’s design is still instantly identifiable in the landscape around Belvoir. But closer scrutiny of his plans reveals huge insights into his creative direction in the latter stages of his career.
“ We explore new areas and previously unseen views that have been opened up in the 16,000 acres of parkland. Then we leap forward to the present day in the newly restored Pleasure Gardens, which we painstakingly restored to coincide with the tercentenary of Capability Brown’s birth in 2016.
The 4th Duke of Rutland commissioned Brown to produce a plan for the Belvoir Estate, but at the time of Brown’s death in 1783 the scheme remained mostly unfulfilled. A certain amount of it was implemented in the 19th Century by Elizabeth, the 5th Duchess, but the majority of Brown’s extensive vision has only recently been realised by the 11th Duke and Duchess of Rutland.
You can find out more about Belvoir Castle in the September issue of Pro Landscaper magazine and via its website here.
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