Milton Abbey near Blandford Forum in Dorset, was awarded a grant of over £1.2 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund in late 2016. The abbey is a 14th Century gem nestling in a fabulous Capability Brown landscape, apparently nicknamed “The Great Stare” by the great landscape architect himself. The grant will support significant repairs to the buildings, improve facilities for visitors and enhance the connections between the abbey and the stunning 500 acre landscape designed by Capability Brown.
Milton Abbey is a historic site with a difference. Part of the Diocese of Salisbury, it is run according to the Benedictine traditions of hospitality to all. The grant will help the abbey, its staff and volunteers to extend their welcome and ensure that the abbey and its stunning landscapes are restored for the inspiration and enjoyment of generations to come. For fans of Capability Brown, the grant will support the rediscovery of historic walks, drives and viewpoints in the landscape. Milton Abbey, Lord Milton's mansion, St Catherine's Chapel and the village of Milton Abbas are embraced and integrated by the landscape designed by Brown between 1763-83. Three valleys converge, and inside one of the valleys is the village of Milton Abbas. This picturesque 'lost village' in a wooded valley is considered to be the first 'new town' in England.
Milton Abbey created a wonderful multimedia exhibition as part of the Capability Brown Festival 2016 which introduced thousands of new visitors to the site, so there could not be a better time to embark on their next ambitious project.
The wonderful thing - thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund - is that 2016 was not simply a once-and-for-all occasion at Milton Abbey, but the beginning of a new way of appreciating, caring for, and understanding Brown’s landscape, with new ways of engaging with visitors. This is truly for the long term.