Hannahs Land Management Team has started working on a historic and unique garden project not far from Hannahs at Seale-Hayne. The Italian Garden on the Great Ambrook Estate near Ipplepen is a Grade II listed site of enormous architectural, literary and aesthetic importance.
The four acre Italian Garden features a tumbledown pavilion and portico and has been described as a perfect example of an early 20th century design. It is the only surviving garden created by T H Lyon, first Director of the Cambridge School of Architecture. The work was done on behalf of Arthur Smith Graham, the former owner of Great Ambrook between 1909 and 1912. The garden had been forgotten for decades, having been camouflaged by overgrown plants and trees, but was rediscovered in 1988 by the owners, the late Mr and Mrs Kenneth Rees.
The landowners, who purchased the garden in a neglected state in 2016 have asked Hannahs Land Management Team to help with restoration work at the site. The team is being assisted by people with disabilities supported by Hannahs. The work involves tree felling, vegetation control, restoration of structures including the pergola and buildings, clearance and cleaning of paths, control of invasive species and safety work including the installation of temporary surfacing and fencing to allow safe access. The work is expected to take several years, and the owners are also keen to support the work of Hannahs and to develop a working partnership.
Hannahs Land Management Team have years of experience working on historically significant sites, including Milber Hill Fort where they were engaged by Historic England and local residents to remove invasive species, fell self-sown trees and improve access. The low-impact methods employed by Hannahs Land Management Team are ideally suited to working on historic sites, and their past experience was a key factor in their appointment.
Nigel Cotterill, Head of Social Enterprise at Hannahs at Seale-Hayne said, “Working at Ambrook is a fantastic opportunity for Hannahs Land Management to take part in restoring this historic and beautiful garden. We are really pleased that the new owners have chosen us to get involved, as it will offer great opportunities for our guests and volunteers to participate in a unique opportunity on a truly amazing site. The work is also raising valuable funding for Hannahs and is the first step in what, I hope, will turn out to be a long and mutually beneficial working relationship".