This is the first edition of our property Newsletter – don’t throw it away, it may be collectable one day! So much fascinating work has been going on at Lyveden that we have decided to produce a newsletter twice a year to help spread the good word. Lyveden still retains its magical charm that it has held since the property was donated to the National Trust in 1922. But today, as more of Sir Thomas Tresham’s legacy is discovered, that charm has developed into an under-standing of what can only be described as a remarkable place; in terms of archaeology, garden history, architecture and indeed peace and tranquillity.
New Visitor Facilities
A new visitor room opened in April, providing for the first time, an opportunity to offer hands-on information for visitors to enjoy. With the help and enthusiasm of 30 volunteers, visitors to Lyveden this year have learnt far more about the history and mystery of the property. Despite poor weather, visitor numbers were up by 75% this year between April and October, totalling 6400. In addition, the sale of guidebooks, ice creams, and a limited range of goods increased by a staggering 350% to £1,809. This money directly supports our work at Lyveden.
We hope next year will be even more successful with better weather, more to see, and Lyveden promoted as the Region’s oldest garden during the National Trust Year of the Garden -Rooted in History and Growing Forever:
Still Waters, Still Deep
Two years of planning and four weeks of work, culminated in the successful completion of dredging work to the Elizabethan moats. Challenged by wet weather, Land and Water Services carefully removed over 2000 cubic metres of silt from the moats. Funded by the National Trust, EB Northamptonshire Ltd and Countryside Stewardship, the work has helped preserve the original layout of the moats, as well as improve the water quality for both visitors and wildlife to enjoy. The total cost of the project was £32,000, only made possible by external support. The silt has been spread over an adjoining field, which will be studied by archaeologist next spring. Although the garden area remains wet, visitors can already enjoy the benefits of the work open every weekend throughout the winter.
Work was completed earlier this year to underground the electricity supply to the property. When installed in the 1970’s the supply was routed across the garden area – then overgrown with scrub, but now designated as a Scheduled Ancient Monument.
East Midlands Electricity funded most of the £15,000 cost of the project, which has provided enormous benefits to the aesthetics of the garden setting and the wider landscape.
The property has recently entered the Ministry of Agriculture’s Stewardship Scheme, which makes payments to farmers to manage and improve the natural beauty of the countryside. Annual payments and one-off payments for conservation works will help support the future work of the property. The scheme initially runs for ten years.
Wild and New
Under the Stewardship Scheme we have recently converted twenty acres of arable land to a wildflower meadow with a mix from Ashton Estate. This forms part of the area that the Trust has obtained on a tenancy from the Duke of Gloucester’s Estate. The Trust’s management of this land is essential in protecting the garden remains, as well as providing new public access and the opportunity to re-instate parts of the garden, which had disappeared since 1605.
Next summer, and with careful management, the field should display a mix of flowers such as ox-eye daisy, scarlet pimpernel, trefoils and vetch. This area adds to the ten acres of wildflower meadow which we manage to the south of the New Bield. Also converted from arable land some 3 years ago, this area now displays an impressive range of flowers, grasses, butterflies and birds throughout the summer months.
On one of our few warm sunny days this summer, twenty-five members of the National Trust enjoyed a tour of the property and the opportunity to learn how their future support could help to preserve our heritage and countryside. When Lyveden was acquired by the Trust in 1922, there was no endowment to support the conservation of the property. Raising funds to pay for our work is very difficult for a small, fragile place like Lyveden. The support of our members can make all the difference.
We have recently launched a Guardianship Scheme with William Law C of E School in Peterborough. Sponsored by Norwich Union, the scheme encourages children to become involved in the care and management of our countryside properties. Visiting Lyveden throughout the year, the children will help monitor the wildflower meadows, plant new hedges, build bird boxes, and learn about our natural environment. At the same time, the Trust will be helping the children to develop their own wildlife areas at school.
Visitors to Lyveden this summer could not have missed Rosalind Stoddart’s display of contemporary art, depicting themes from the New Bield and surrounding landscape. The exhibition formed one of a number of works across the country to celebrate the Year of the Artist. The New Bield would have been very foreign looking to the eye some four hundred years ago, and similarly, Rosalind’s work provided interesting and imaginative contrast to the surroundings. Of the 54 people who completed the questionnaire, eighty five percent thought the exhibition complimented the site and wished to see more arts events at Lyveden – watch this space.
I was delighted to welcome Martin Drury, Director- General of the National Trust to Lyveden New Bield in October. Having not visited Lyveden since 1992, he was impressed with the work undertaken to uncover and conserve the Elizabethan garden and enhance the setting of the New Bield. He applauded the efforts and commitment of our volunteers who enable the place to come alive through the welcome and information they give to visitors.
Rooted in History, Growing Forever
That’s the strap line for Year of the Garden next year. What better way to put it into practice than to donate a tree for Lyveden. To replace some of the many dead or dying trees which were felled during the clearance work, we are now wishing to re- plant a better mix of oak, hazel, field maple and alder. If you would like to mark the new Millennium with a tree for future generations to enjoy, please send a cheque for £20.00 payable to ‘The National Trust’ to Lyveden New Bield, Oundle, Peterborough, PE8 5AT. Thank you.
And finally, some dates for your diaries:
Easter Egg Hunt
Saturday 14th Apri111am-3pm. Bring the family to hunt for clues and Easter eggs. Normal admission of £1 per child.
Tour and Tea
Sunday 01 July and 22 July at 2pm. Enjoy a guided tour of the house and garden followed by cream tea on the lawn. Numbers limited.
Adult £5, Children £3.50
Open Air Service of Worship
Sunday 8 July 4pm. Back by popular demand, the opportunity to enjoy an open- air service in this beautiful setting.