The Garden Guide

Book: Gardening tours by J.C. Loudon 1831-1842
Chapter: Middlesex, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Wilshire, Dorsetshire, Hampshire, Sussex, and Kent in the Summer of 1832

Tottenham Park woodlands

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The park may be described as an interminable oak forest, on a surface which, taken as a whole, may be considered flat, but which, in particular places, exhibits undulations. This forest is crossed at right angles by two avenues, one above eleven miles long, which intersect each other in the centre, at which point of intersection is placed the house. A stranger can form no idea either of the extent of the park or of the length of the avenues; so that to him the characteristic of the place is interminableness. Besides these principal avenues, there are innumerable subordinate ones, many planted with beech trees, and others cut out of the forest and bordered by the native oaks and birches. There is one master avenue, or rather grass drive, which makes a circuit of the entire forest, and which is 25 miles long. From one front of the house one of the straight main avenues is distinguished passing over a swell, at the distance of seven miles. By way of distinguishing the 25-mile avenue, we have suggested to Mr. Burns the idea of planting an arboretum along it, of such trees and large-growing shrubs as are perfectly hardy; and adjusting the distance so that they shall extend over the whole 25 miles. This idea, properly developed, would produce something unique, and worthy of such a place as Tottenham Park. Mr. Burns took us extensive drives in all directions; but, for want of distant prospects, and water, we cannot say that we met with any striking views. Indeed, we felt a degree of sameness, perhaps increased by the impression, still vivid in our minds, of High Clere. In the bottom of one quiet valley is Savernake Lodge, a small villa, intended for the eldest son of the family when he marries, with grounds about it very neatly laid out, and well kept. Here the children of the present marquess were nursed up by Mrs. Morgan, the present housekeeper, and each child had its garden. These gardens still exist, and appear like little islands in a sea of turf. They are surrounded by hedges, and are still kept up with great care and taste, under the direction of Mrs. Morgan.