Star Pond forms part of the illustrious history of the gardens at Boughton stretching back to the 17th Century.
Dating back to Ralph, 1st Duke of Montagu (1638-1709), the gardens at Boughton are thought to have been inspired by those of Louis XIV and the Palace of Versailles, where Ralph was court ambassador. Star Pond was created by Ralph’s son, 2nd Duke of Montagu and is one of many water features at Boughton.
Following the death of the 2nd Duke of Montagu, the landscape was subject to ‘benign neglect’, until the 8th Duke of Buccleuch inherited the estate in 1935.
David Cullum, parks and gardens manager at Boughton Estate says: “In their heyday, the gardens were considered to be among the largest and finest in the country and in the last 30 years, considerable work has taken place to restore various features. It is an absolute privilege to be involved in this next exciting step of this journey and the restoration of Star Pond.”
Alongside other stewardship projects across the Northamptonshire estate, this project reflects strong Buccleuch’s environmental values and commitment to good stewardship.
David continues: “Everything we do should have a positive impact on the environment, whether that be designed or natural. We are excited to be able to do both with the restoration of Star Pond.
“We have our work cut out, but the change will be dramatic, connecting the designed landscape to the River Ise. It will not only look spectacular, but over time it will become an area of improved water quality and one where interesting new habitats can be established for a variety of species, which we hope will make their home on the estate.”
In conclusion, David comments: “This project would not have been possible without the considerable support from a number of organisations. It is a great showcase for partnership and collaborative working in the Northamptonshire area.”
The restoration of Star Pond is expected to take six months and contributes to the wider partnership between the Estate and Natural England. Alongside Natural England, the project has also received support from a number of organisations, both local and national, including The Environment Agency, Forestry Commission England, Historic England, North Northamptonshire Council, the Local Authority County Archaeologist and the River Ise Partnership.
Andy Sadler, catchment co-ordinator at the Environment Agency
“The Boughton project has clearly shown the benefit and importance of partnership working. Huge environmental gains in terms of habitat, biodiversity, fish passage, floodplain reconnection and water quality will come as a direct result of partners working together in a positive and collaborative way. It has been a privilege to be part of this project from its inception and will prove to be a shining example of how environment and heritage can harmoniously be part of the same landscape.”
Erika Diaz Petersen, Principal National Landscape Adviser at Historic England
“The Grade I registered park and gardens at Boughton House are an internationally important example of formal gardens of the late 17th and early 18th centuries, many of which were swept away in later periods. Historic England has been pleased to work collaboratively with the Boughton Estate and all the partners to provide advice on projects along the River Ise within the park. Research undertaken to inform the Star Pond restoration project has shed further light on the fascinating history of this important and influential feature of the gardens. The projects will together help to further conserve the unique heritage of the park and gardens, provide benefits for nature, and support new opportunities for people to enjoy and learn about the historic and natural environment of the registered park and gardens at Boughton.”
Cllr Michael Tebbutt, Unitary Councillor for Desborough and Member Champion for the River Ise Partnership
“This is a creative and contemporary project that will contribute to natural flood management, habitat enhancements and water quality improvements, all of which complement the council’s ambition for a greener, more sustainable environment that will become more resilient to climate change. The projects will enhance the Estate’s landscape which will encourage more visitors whose mental health and well-being will benefit from their engagement with nature.”
Cllr David Brackenbury, North Northamptonshire Council’s Executive Member for Growth and Regeneration
“This is testimony to the power of partnership working and the council have been delighted to have had a supporting role in its development; this is a unique collaboration that has also drawn on expertise from the Environment Agency, Historic England and the River Ise Partnership. We look forward to future opportunities of working in partnership with progressive organisations such as Buccleuch to develop environmental plans and projects that will contribute to the social, environmental and economic well-being of North Northamptonshire.”
Dr Corinne Muir, senior project officer at Nene Rivers Trust
“As a pioneer and long-term advocate for partnership working, the Nene Rivers Trust are proud to host the River Ise Partnership, which brings together a wide range of partners from the charity, public and private sectors. Together, this group have developed the Ise Valley Strategic Plan, which sets out a vision of how the valley can be improved for people and wildlife. The work that is taking place at Boughton House is testament to what can be achieved for communities and nature when we work together in this way.”
Roger Baines, contracts manager at Land and Water
“We are delighted to be working in partnership with Buccleuch, Natural England, Historic England, the Environment Agency and River Ise Partnership to deliver works which will safeguard the future of Star Pond and return it back to its original state.
“As part of the works, we will be incorporating innovative engineering solutions, which will put the environment front and centre, to ensure we are supporting the surrounding historic landscapes, as well as habitat creation.”