In April this year, Her Majesty the Queen opened the restored landscape setting to Cow Pond by Russ Canning landscape architects.
Cow Pond is a large formal water feature within the Royal Landscape of Windsor Great Park. The works to Cow Pond form part of the Royal Landscape project, which has seen the ongoing restoration of the historic landscape of the Great Park and the integration of contemporary visitor facilities over the past eight years.
Coordinated and designed by Russ Canning and Company Limited, and largely implemented by Crown Estate staff, the project has progressively transformed the visitor experience, whilst restoring the integrity of the historic landscape.
2012 is also the 300th anniversary of the landscape architect, Henry Wise’s ‘Generall Plan of Windsor Great Park’, which was drawn up in1712. This plan clearly shows the formal landscape setting to Cumberland Lodge, including Cow Pond, which was introduced by Hans Willem Bentinck, Ranger of the Great Park, following his visit to Versailles.
By 2009, however, Cow Pond had lost its canal-like profile and its banks were totally overgrown and impenetrable in places. At the northern end, the scalloped semi-circular form had been subsumed by large numbers of dead trees, which had created a ‘primeval swamp’ landscape.
The restoration works to the water body and its setting, which have been implemented over a three year period, comprise:
- Clearance of invasive alder and R. ponticum
- Re-establishment of the formal pond through dredging and the use of traditional oak revetments and puddled clay embankments
- Construction of an oak arbour to an original design by Henry Flitcroft (1748) specifically for Cow Pond
- Construction of a Baroque-influenced footbridge, designed by Russ Canning, enabling visitors to promenade around the pond as originally intended. The bridge design incorporates a diamond lattice balustrade in deference to the Queen’s Jubilee.
- Drainage works and resurfacing of paths
- Turfing and planting, including the transplantation of water lilies.
All oak used in the construction was grown on the Windsor estate, having been planted in the mid 18th Century. Estate staff were responsible for the construction of the arbour and bridge, together with the associated paving and planting.