Highclere Castle, Newbury.
Highclere Park is a stunning Capability Brown landscape, overlying archaeologically rich parkland. As part of a HMRC tax exemption scheme, Liz Lake Associates was appointed with the Debois Landscape Survey Group to coordinate and edit the production of a Landscape and Conservation Management Plan. This complex project included input from archaeologists, a conservation architect, an ecologist, forester and taxonomist. As a second part of the work we were asked to assess over twenty potential development sites for an enabling development project.
Debois undertook the archival work, historic tree survey and field archaeology; the taxonomist was needed to identify the numerous rhododendron hybrids that the first Lord Carnarvon created; he was the first person to import rhododendrons and these plantings form a very significant collection. Our role was to pull all the work together and to address the core landscape issues of geology, topography, land ownership, planning policy, current land uses, access, recreation and future management. We prepared all the plans for the final document, contributed to the creation of policies for the Park and edited the Conservation Management Plan. The proposed development sites were individually evaluated as to their capacity to absorb change, the likely visibility of proposals and any possible impact on the historic landscape.
The final Conservation Management Plan became part of the Heritage Management Plan that contributed to a successful Inheritance Tax Exemption application. The enabling development proposals were not pursued by the estate and since the study Highclere has achieved even greater significance as the setting for the TV series Downton Abbey.