Extract taken from the National Trust;
‘A ha-ha is a type of sunken fence that was commonly used in landscaped gardens and parks in the eighteenth century. It involved digging a deep, dry ditch, the inner side of which would be built up to the level of the surrounding turf with either a dry-stone or brick wall. Meanwhile, the outer side was designed to slope steeply upwards, before levelling out again into turf. The point of the ha-ha was to give the viewer of the garden the illusion of an unbroken, continuous rolling lawn, whilst providing boundaries for grazing livestock.’
Ha-ha’s were created to provide a view of a pastoral idyll from a country house, with the barrier hidden in the slope, allowing livestock to appear as free roaming in the landscape. This effect creates a romantic impression of the landscape, and allowing an elevated vista across the land.
The benefits of reinstating the ha-ha at Aldwark Manor would be to visually connect the parkland type landscape near the house to the golf course landscape beyond, seemingly un-interrupted, but at the same time defining the regions for playing golf, and elevating the visual drama of a more formal landscape near the house.
The ha-ha at Aldwark Manor is visible on an early OS plan, and has been covered by earthworks in recent years. On a recent site visit a small section was found in a ditch near a group of mature trees not far from the house. There appears to be a ditch still visible, but the brickwork of the ha-ha is probably buried under earth.