Restoring Historic Landscapes

 

We’re delighted to be bringing new life to historic landscapes at Sunninghill and Bagshot Parks, restoring heritage features for current and future generations to enjoy.

Sunninghill and Bagshot Parks are nationally important areas that we’re restoring now to stop them being lost forever. This will create new opportunities for tenants, at the same time as adding biodiversity value.

For the first phase of the project, we commissioned research into the history and development of the Parks, which informed our Landscape Development Plan. We’re now putting this plan into practice, delivering a series of improvement works over a five-year period.

We’ve already started to remove invasive bracken and rhododendron to give habitats the opportunity to regenerate. We’re then conditioning soil where needed and encouraging native species to flourish, restoring the appearance and ecology of the Parks to times past. We’re also training staff in historic landscape management to protect and enhance these areas for the long term.

It is hoped that one day Sunninghill Park will be restored to its former splendour, to take its place, alongside Windsor Great Park, amongst the jewels of The Crown Estate”

Andrew Fielder, Author of ‘Sunninghill Park – An Historical Record’

Historic landscapes and rich features that we will be renovating in the Parks include the Great Pond and Sunninghill Bridge. In days past, this beautiful area was a popular destination for Royalty and the families of those working on the estate. Following a period of decline, today it plays host only to fish, birds, insects and other wildlife. It will be wonderful to forge a new future for the 17-acre pond, benefiting both people and biodiversity. This will also add value for our tenants, improving the landscape and creating new recreational opportunities.

As part of this project, we plan to carry out biodiversity surveys to improve understanding of habitats and species at Windsor. Located historically within the ancient Forest of Windsor, Sunninghill and Bagshot Parks are home to veteran trees, including English oaks, beech, Scots pine and one of the largest sweet chestnuts in the UK. The Parks’ ponds and streams are rich in plant and animal life, and the forests are home to many woodland creatures, birds and fungi.

Phil Edwards, Parks Manager at Windsor, said: “As active land managers, we’re delighted to be restoring heritage futures at Sunninghill and Bagshot Parks before they are lost forever. Windsor offers unique opportunities for people to gain insights into life and landscape a thousand years ago. This cultural heritage is not only much-loved by visitors, it is of great value in understanding how England’s native species and habitats may help solve today’s environmental challenges."

Located to the south west of Windsor Great Park, Sunninghill Park was originally part of the Forest of Windsor and the former residence of the Duke and Duchess of York. It also served as the headquarters of the American Ninth Air Force during World War II. A few miles away, Bagshot Park is the home of Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, and the Countess of Wessex.