Croft Castle and Parkland, a National Trust place near Leominster in Herefordshire, have uncovered lost walks through Fishpool Valley which are thought to have been originally created in the eighteenth-century to appreciate the picturesque features of the landscape.
Many of these lost walks were designed to take in key views that have sadly been lost over time, which is why the National Trust have embarked on an ambitious restoration project to revive the valley’s Picturesque features. This includes repairing the dams and spillways, restoring the built structures, re-instating walks and sensitively thinning areas of secondary tree growth in order to improve biodiversity and open up those lost, key views.
Visitors to Croft Castle will see that work has been underway to sensitively thin areas of woodland. The ranger team, which largely includes volunteers, together with contractors, have been working to reveal some of the lost walks through the valley. These paths provide unique and sometimes thrilling glimpses across the valley and encourage visitors to go off the beaten track.
Restoration work is currently happening to some of the historic structures in the valley, which reveal some of the landscape’s fascinating history. The structures include a Gothick pumphouse, a rusticated grotto, an ice-house and a once working limekiln. They are in vital need of repair work, stabilisation and re-pointing in order for them to survive for future generations. The team at Croft are very keen for these structures to be accessible once repaired and are planning to install a timber viewing platform in the pumphouse which will allow visitors to see inside it safely for the first time.
Visitors can discover more about Fishpool Valley’s history on a Picturesque tour every Wednesday in May and June at 2pm. The tour guide will highlight the subtle design of the landscape and the work that’s being done to restore and revive it.
The National Trust will continue to rely on funds raised by its supporters to see the project through to fruition, including the vision of a restored, Picturesque valley in the heart of Croft’s ancient parkland. This is an ambitious project and the Trust are in need of donations to target specific aspects of the work, including reviving built structures, restoring the pools and re-instating walks, which will eventually bring to life the Picturesque experience.
Further updates and details about how you can get involved and support the project can be found by visiting: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/croft-castle-and-parkland