Just what would a seventeenth century gent do if he needed to indulge his enthusiasm for entertaining, gambling and hunting? He would find a space for it, of course, and for John ‘Crump’ Dutton, his solution was to create Lodge Park, a grandstand within extensive grounds in the Cotswolds.
Having already inherited the estate, Dutton added his dream dwelling in 1634, later enclosing the land and introducing the wild deer that still roam there today. The parkland was landscaped in 1726 by Charles Bridgeman, and is the only one of his designs to have avoided alteration by Capability Brown or William Kent, both better-known to us today.
As England’s one remaining seventeenth century grandstand and deer course, the location has an interesting history. After suffering structural changes down the years, Lodge Park was returned to its original form in 1998 by the National Trust’s very first restoration project, using archaeology to ensure authenticity. The Grade 1 listed building and its surroundings now provide a stunning setting for weddings, civil partnerships, other celebrations, or corporate events, with catering options to suit all budgets.
The working estate of Sherborne Park teems with wildlife, with the added attraction of enchanting eighteenth century water meadows. Wander through this beautiful landscape for spectacular views within sight of the River Windrush, and search for the Stone Age long barrow. Three designated walks include a family-friendly option, while public footpaths beckon you on.
There’s always something happening at this Cotswolds gem, situated just two and a half miles from the village of Sherborne. An Easter hunt kicks off the season, with activities for children throughout the summer. Learn the history of Sherborne through art along the Sculpture Trail, or head to the Shepherd’s Hut to hear about the local wool industry of the past. Join an indoor game of giant chess, or imagine yourself back in time, courtesy of the dressing-up box.
The Cotswolds AONB Dry Stone Walling Competition was held on the estate in October 2013, allowing experts from around the country to rebuild twenty-two metres of a hundred-year-old wall before the ravages of winter arrived. Then each year as the month ends, Halloween brings Lodge Park’s season to a spooky end until the following spring.
Nestling in the pretty Gloucestershire countryside, Lodge Park and Sherborne Estate offer something for everyone. Take a picnic in the grounds, but do celebrate your experience with an award-winning cake in the café before you leave!