Historic ‘Ha Ha’ discovered at Aldwark Manor Golf and Spa Hotel

Historic ‘Ha Ha’ discovered at Aldwark Manor Golf and Spa Hotel

Ha Ha - Aldwark - Map2-Teaesr

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.’

This plan shows the landscape of Aldwark prior to Aldwark Manor being built. However there is a bowling green marked on the plan, nearby Aldwark Hall. Another interesting addition that could become part of the landscape features of Aldwark Manor, that would relate to the history of the area.

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.

This OS map of Aldwark shows the line of the ha-ha circling the house, creating a bold line separating the parkland from the house. The area beyond the ha-ha will have been grazed by livestock.

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 nearby Beningborough Hall has a ha-ha. The ha-ha is defined on this OS estate map 1841, defining the garden landscape of the house, and the rural parkland beyond.
‘The Hall is set in extensive grounds and is separated from them by an example of a ha-ha (a sunken wall) to prevent sheep and cattle entering the Hall’s gardens or the Hall itself.’
‘The gardens to the south and west of the Hall are enclosed by a ha-ha (listed grade II) which curves around a patch of woodland immediately north-west of the Hall, shown on an estate map of 1841, and continues around the south front and returns on the east side of the American Garden.’

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.

Beningbrough Hall by Alexander Francis Lydon (1880)
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