Garden designer will produce a masterplan and management plan

Henry Moore 'reclining figure' in Tiltyard_Dartington Hall gardens

The Dartington Hall Trust has commissioned landscape designer Dan Pearson to produce a creative masterplan and management plan for the Grade 2* listed gardens that sit at the heart of its 1,200 acre estate.

The Dartington Hall Gardens, designed chiefly in the 20th century,  incorporate the remains of a medieval landscape on an estate that can be traced back as far as the 9th century. They gardens include a yew tree that is at least 1,500 years old, a holy well and a Henry Moore sculpture (The Reclining Figure) and are a monument to the vision and enterprise of the great families who have owned the estate over the last millennium.

The brief given to Dan involves sensitively reinvigorating and reimagining the gardens, including their relationship with the surrounding landscape and community. In reshaping them for the 21st century, Dan Pearson Studio, his landscape practice, will take account of the Trust’s plans to develop the estate  and foster its vision of a ‘many sided life’ for all to access and enjoy.

Dan said: ‘We are particularly inspired by the opportunity to refresh and reinvigorate the historic gardens to make Dartington known again as a centre of best landscape and garden practice.’

Earlier garden and landscape designers  who have worked on the gardens include leading American designer Beatrix Farrand (1934-39) who also designed campuses for the White House, Princeton and Yale; respected British designers Henry Avray Tipping (1925-30), Percy Cane (1945-c1960) and Georgie Wolton (1992) and Danish-born Preben Jakobsen (1985).

Dartington Hall Trust CEO Rhodri Samuel said, ‘Dan is the next in line of a series of world class designers who have helped to shape our beautiful gardens at Dartington Hall. Great gardens are living, evolving places and Dan’s brief combines respect for the past with opportunities to innovate and excite.  This chimes with our founders Dorothy and Leonard Elmhirst’s belief in “reverence for the old and a joy in the new”. I cannot think of a more sensitive and imaginative designer to entrust this project to.

Dan and his team are at the early stage of planning designs and the project is expected to last approximately one year. The masterplan will then be delivered in phases over several years, as funds are raised to realise each individual new scheme.

This commission has been made possible thanks to some significant donations from supporters Richard Creed, from Kate Caddy (granddaughter of Dartington Hall Trust founders Dorothy and Leonard Elmhirst) and from an extremely generous legacy.

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