The Park and the Follies
Highclere Castle is set in 1,000 acres of sweeping parkland. This was designed for the 1st Earl of Carnarvon by the famous 18th century landscape gardener Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, and then developed by his son the 2nd Earl who like his father was passionate about the landscape.
Today, the parkland and gardens provide acres of peace, tranquillity and discovery, with breathtaking views across the rolling downlands of North Hampshire and the Kennet Valley.
Nearer to Highclere Castle on the East Lawns is a pillared Temple called Jackdaw’s Castle, a folly built by Robert Herbert in 1743 to provide a charming view from the Castle and back to it.
The cedar trees provide splendour and stature throughout the year. Some of them are now 250 years old and were grown from seedlings given to the 1st Earl of Carnarvon by his cousin the Earl of Pembroke at Wilton House.
A second folly, an Etruscan temple, stands to the southwest of Highclere Castle at the edge of some woodland walks.
The Temple of Diana and Heaven’s Gate can be viewed from the summer walks off the Wayfarers’s walk and from London Lodge.
Recent archaeological and landscape investigations have shown that there are 2 hill forts and quite a number of tumuli, ancient trackways, lynchets and field systems within the estate. They date from the Iron Age and Bronze Age.
During Medieval times, it was emparked to create a deer park for the Bishops of Winchester. William of Wykeham then created at least 2 further deer parks as well as enclosing rabbit and hare warrens. Records from his tenure (1370), show 5 fish ponds at Milford, on the northern boundary of the estate.