Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Thoresby Estate woods, plantations, groves & avenues.

In 1706 the 5th Earl of Kingston applied for permission to make a “ride” through Bilhaugh Wood. Permission was necessary because, although the 4th Earl had gained the right to create a Park by enclosure from Sherwood Forest, the 5th Earl’s plans traveled beyond that boundary. The proposed route would facilitate a quicker journey direct from the original Thoresby Hall (1683), to Ollerton town and Newark beyond. Permission was granted.

Clearly visible on Google maps (though long since abandoned and off limits today) the “ride” led from the original Thoresby Hall by the east of the lake, over the original site of the Green Bridge, through the Pleasure Gardens, behind where one day would be built the Woodyard complex, before taking an absolutely straight line for one mile south, stopping at the lodge which would later become Buck Gates. Emerging from those gates the route continued in another straight line southeast for one mile to reach the town of Ollerton. The last part of this route became Beech Avenue, a very popular and scenic site in its heyday, whilst the part nearest the Hall, a few yards up the road from the Woodyard complex, became known as Chestnut Avenue.

Chestnut Avenue suffered like every other landscaped area of Thoresby as trends in forestry changed. However, there is a story that the Estate Manager Mr Holder was dismissed in the early 1950's when Lady Manvers discovered he had started felling trees there. Holder was replaced by Mr Tapper, who's foresight started a vigorous planting scheme in Thoresby. Apparently Chestnut Avenue was restored in 2000 by clearing it of the silver birches which had taken root along its length over the decades Indeed, one can see the clearing where the original Duke's carriages would have passed on THIS VIDEO taken during the Thoresby Hayride 2015.

Above: Two photographs from 1964 taken in Chestnut Avenue. The lower shows the view from atop one of those chestnut trees looking towards the woods which concealed Proteus Camp and the A614.

Below: Ian and Billy Craig walking down a well kept Chestnut Avenue c.1958.

Above: Green Drive is less easy to pinpoint. This postcard places it near to Buck Gates, and at the end of Chestnut Avenue there were indeed several such woodland paths converging at the lodge.

Above: Scotch Firs, Thoresby. Postcard c.1900, colour photograph 2014.

This relatively undisturbed region of Thoresby, close to the rear of Rose Cottage and the A614, is now open to their Permitted Walks within the estate. To reach it one follows the path up the hill at the rear of Perlethorpe Environmental Centre, and carries onward in a straight line.

See also these links for Beech Avenue, Buck Gates, and Cockglode.

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