The Landscape of Old Park

The 18th century saw fundamental changes in the aesthetics of landscape design in a turn away from the formality and enclosure of Tudor and later Dutch styles towards a more naturalistic, but, nevertheless man-made, sylvan landscape — a fundamental shift in style which would have been known to families of the standing of the Haddons at Old Park.

The dramatic quality of the Undercliff setting of Old Park was already irresistibly close to this 'Picturesque' ideal, causing an influx to the Island of those with the means to develop simple farms into designed idealised landscapes of great beauty.

There is no evidence that the landscaping of the grounds surrounding Old Park ever involved the services of a professional landscape designer, and no contemporary plans survive, (assuming that any were ever made). It would seem that the owners of Old Park from the very early years of the 19th century – the Haddons, through to the later Cheape and Spindler families simply used their own imagination in developing the estate. They then employed the skilled labour that their position and wealth allowed them, to bring their schemes to fruition.

The result of their efforts is an inherently delightful landscape, rich in variety, influences and the nuances of history; although not extensive or grandiose, it must surely rate serious consideration as a product of its time, and of the taste of its custodians over succeeding generations.