Belcombe Court, Wiltshire

Restoring the grounds of a small country house estate

Belcombe Court is a small country house estate west of the small Wiltshire town of Bradford-on-Avon of Grade I status. Its land encircles an 18th century Grade I listed Georgian country house, which lies in steep and heavily wooded topography and is largely invisible beyond its walls.

Belcombe’s owner had ambitious plans to restore the neglected elements of its 19th century romantic grounds, including a woodland wilderness. Plans also included the repair of existing garden buildings, summer houses and grottos needing a gravity-fed water supply reservoir and distribution system, and creating a great variety of new garden facilities in the largely derelict walled vegetable garden.

In the context of a Grade I listed building and an estate on the Historic England Register of Parks and Gardens, the planning case for each of these interventions had to be built on thorough research, a testing of options and demonstration of impacts and mitigation measures.

The architectural quality of the house set a high standard for the design and craftsmanship of all new work. Our team worked closely with many specialist craft skills in creating new stone walls, steps and ornamentation. We also worked with ironworkers for new gates and railings, a shell artist for restoring the 18th century grotto and – throughout the project – with the estate’s gardeners.

The project has expanded Belcombe’s rich and picturesque character into the surrounding landscape. It included some very particular design and planning challenges, such as creating a large tennis court on a steeply sloping site, converting an 18th century dovecote into a guest suite and designing an open-framed floating boathouse on the nearby river.

For our client, the work has added a range of ancillary assets to an historic house and diversified the landscape of gardens and park.