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Broadlands Estate, Hampshire

Broadlands House, on the bank of the River Test, is at the centre of a park created by Capability Brown when he and the architect Henry Holland refashioned the Elizabethan mansion in Palladian style. The river was realigned and water meadows modified to create a celebrated setting for the west front of the mansion. On the opposite side of the mansion, the common fields of the town of Romsey were landscaped in typical Brown style. The park was subsequently extended by Lord Palmerston, the Victorian Prime Minister. In the following century, Broadlands was the home of Earl Mountbatten of Burma.

acta prepared a parkland plan based on restoring the simple, bold structure of Brown’s and Palmerston’s landscape. It set out new planting, stripping away misguided twentieth-century planting and reinstatement of lost vistas. Proposals struck a balance between conserving the historic landscape and maintaining and enhancing the River Test SSSI.

Client - Broadlands Estate

  1. The River test was realigned to form the foreground in views of the mansion
  2. Early estate plans show how the park was developed by breaking–up formal avenues and acquiring land from the common fields
  3. The River Test is a SSSI. Wildlife and water quality management have to be integrated with landscape management and fishing
  4. Brown’s landscape extended beyond the park to include drives and viewpoints overlooking the mansion and the Test Valley. This setting has hardly changed since it was shown in this nineteenth-century watercolour