Longstock House & Water Gardens

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HCC Site ID: 1450 Parish: Longstock
Designations: House LB II Area: c81 ha
Access: Water Gardens occasionally open.
House, no public access
Ownership: Leckford Estate, John Lewis Partnership

Location and Site

Situated on the west slopes of the Test Valley, three miles north of Stockbridge and roughly 200 feet above sea level.

Historic Development

Longstock House and Park, an estate of nearly 81ha (200 acres) owned since the 1940s by the John Lewis Partnership and now part of the Leckford Estate, used by executives from the partnership as a country retreat.

The parkland around the house includes an extensive arboretum with rare conifers and deciduous trees, a great curving lawn with a huge liriodendron, lean-to greenhouses and walled kitchen gardens which are now used to display the plants grown by Longstock Nurseries, a commercial enterprise.

Nearer the house are terraces and herbaceous borders. Sales particulars from 1913 describe the kitchen gardens and pleasure grounds as ‘acknowledged to be the finest around’.

The parkland is separated from the River Test by a public road. Across road are the famous water-gardens.

In 1870 the extraction of gravel from the banks of the Test to make a road in the park created a lake which formed the basis for the design of these gardens. Developed by John Spedan Lewis and his butler, with advice from botanist Terry Jones, they now cover a five acre archipelago, comprising small and large islands connected by bridges and linked by grass causeways.

Current Description

The water gardens are now a well-known visitor attraction, some times opened for charitable events.

The gardens are fed by the river Test, the flow controlled by sluice gates and the water returned to the river. The lakes and pools are teeming with golden carp. The gardens are planted with native trees and exotics, which thrive in the damp conditions, these include the swamp cypress, cut leaved alder and Betula Costata. Beyond the water areas a woodland garden has been developed to provide for less aquatic species including blue poppy, giant white lily, Stewartia Pseudocamellia as well as rhododendron, azalea, enkianthus, camellia, embothrium and lilium.

The storms of 1987 and 1990 toppled and damaged over 70 mature trees. Some were successfully righted and the initial concept retained.The nursery in the kitchen gardens is open to the public.

Summary

The estate lies on the west facing slopes of the River Test, owned since the 1940’s by the John Lewis Partnership and used by them as a country retreat; House and gardens mid-19th century. Commercial nursery run from glasshouses and walled garden. The parkland, with specimen trees, lies across a road separating it from the water gardens and river. The water gardens, begun as a lake created by the dredging of gravel from the river bank, are now a five-acre archipelago. planted with native trees and exotics.

HGT Research: October, 2006


Our address

Address:
Longstock Water Gardens occasionally open Click for Disclaimer & copyright
GPS:
51.143009655747136, -1.4786911010742188

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