Garden earthworks south of West Woodyates Manor


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012141

Date first listed: 07-Nov-1961

Date of most recent amendment: 04-Feb-1999


Ordnance survey map of Garden earthworks south of West Woodyates Manor
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Dorset

District: East Dorset (District Authority)

Parish: Pentridge

National Grid Reference: SU 01663 19393


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Post-medieval formal gardens are garden arrangements dating between the early 16th and mid-18th centuries, their most characteristic feature being a core of geometric layout, typically located and orientated in relation to the major residences of which they formed the settings. Garden designs of this period are numerous and varied, although most contain a number of recognisable components. For the 16th and 17th centuries, the most common features are flat-topped banks or terraces (actually raised walkways), waterways, closely set ponds and multi-walled enclosures. Late 17th and 18th century gardens often reflect the development of these ideas and contain multiple terraces and extensive water features, as well as rigidly geometrical arrangements of embankments. Other features fashionable across the period include: earthen mounds (or mounts) used as vantage points to view the house and gardens, or as the sites of ornate structures; `moats' surrounding areas of planting; walled closes of stone or brick (sometimes serving as the forecourt of the main house); and garden buildings such as banqueting houses and pavilions. Planted areas were commonly arranged in geometric beds, or parterres, in patterns which incorporated hedges, paths and sometimes ponds, fountains and statuary. By contrast, other areas were sometimes set aside as romantic wildernesses. Formal gardens were created throughout the period by the royal court, the aristocracy and county gentry, as a routine accompaniment of the country seats of the landed elite. Formal gardens of all sizes were once therefore commonplace, and their numbers may have comfortably exceeded 2000. The radical redesign of many gardens to match later fashions has dramatically reduced this total, and little more than 250 examples are currently known in England. Although one of many post-medieval monument types, formal gardens have a particular importance reflecting the social expectations and aspirations of the period. They represent a significant and illuminating aspect of the architectural and artistic tastes of the time, and illustrate the skills which developed to realise the ambitions of their owners. Surviving evidence may take many forms, including standing structures, earthworks and buried remains; the latter may include details of the planting patterns, and even environmental material from which to identify the species employed. Examples of formal gardens will normally be considered to be of national importance, where the principal features remain visible, or where significant buried remains survive; of these, parts of whole garden no longer in use will be considered for scheduling.

The earthworks south of West Woodyates Manor incorporate one of the principal garden features of the 18th century: a ha-ha to separate the park and its livestock from the garden without interrupting the view from the house. The prospect mound, to provide a viewpoint from which the house, garden and estate might be seen to good effect, is incorporated within the ha-ha and may therefore be taken to be contemporary. Both of these features are well-preserved at West Woodyates Manor. They and the area enclosed within the ha-ha will contain information about the garden's design and planting.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes the surviving extent of post-medieval garden earthworks which are situated to the south of West Woodyates Manor. These comprise a ha- ha containing a rectangular area of undulating ground, 175m south west to north east by 100m, which slopes down towards the house on its north west side. The house is divided from this partly enclosed area by a modern fence and a stone balustrade, which are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath is included. On the south west and south east corners of the garden the ha-ha diverts to enclose two circular areas, resembling bastions, the south western of which includes a mound 8m in diameter at the base and around 4m high. This is believed to have been a prospect mound from which the gardens and surrounding Chase could have been viewed. Surrounding the mound is an irregular berm or levelled area, from 6m-9m wide. The ha-ha, which has a symmetrical sloping-sided profile, is at its largest north west of the prospect mound where it has a maximum depth of 1.35m and is up to 6.5m wide. A fence, set along the base of the ha-ha, would have been needed for it to have been an effective barrier; there is a modern fence along part of the south western side. What survives today is likely to be a substantial part of a once larger garden which, given the location of the remnants of a third `bastion' south west of the house, would have been square in overall plan, with the ha-ha extending behind the house to its north west, and just excluding a chapel, which was documented in 1291, but had been demolished by around 1774. This area has been much disturbed in modern times and is not included in the scheduling. All of the surviving garden features are interpreted as being of 18th century date. West Woodyates Manor itself is of 17th century or earlier origin, but is known to have been partly remodelled in the 18th century. It is likely that the garden was designed then. All fencing, gates and associated posts, the stone balustrade, water troughs, and metalled track and drive surfaces are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 25624

Legacy System: RSM


Ordnance Survey, SU 01NW 10, (1954)

End of official listing