A stunning example of the natural beauty Capability Brown sought in all his garden designs, Ugbrooke House has been a place of residence dating back to Tudor times, and the park itself is mentioned in the Domesday Book as “church land part of the Diocese of Exeter”. Fast forward nearly 500 years and the Estate remains the Clifford family seat to this day, now home to the next generation, The Honourable Alexander Clifford.
In 1760 Robert Adam was commissioned by the 4th Lord Clifford to redesign the house creating the grand Georgian house seen today. To complement the newly designed building, Capability Brown was commissioned to remodel the park, which extended over 40,000 acres. Brown’s proposals for Ugbrooke were made during the latter years of his career, by which time Brown had established himself as a leading landscape gardener. His draft drawings depicting the plan for the Ugbrooke landscape were found hidden in a drawer of the house late last century and now hang inside the house.
At Ugbrooke, Brown dammed the Ug brook, thereby creating two large lakes. He then set out the tree plantations to create the natural landscape for which his designs are famous today. The ponds situated by the main entrance were a later addition to the landscape, but still in keeping with the style previously set by Brown.
Today the areas surrounding the main house remain as per Capability Brown’s original plans, including many fine mature trees. Mindful of Brown’s vision, the present Clifford family continues to plant and replant parkland trees in groups and belts, staying true to his renowned, original designs.
Story supplied by Ugbrooke and the Clifford Estate.