Restoring our ha-ha!

Posted: May 20, 2014 at 10:36 am Author: Sarah Millard

Ha Ha. An expression often used to represent laughter. However a ha-ha is also a landscape design feature that creates a barrier to things such as livestock, while preserving uninterrupted views.

The name "ha-ha" derives from the unexpected and amusing moment of discovery when, on approach, the recessed wall becomes visible. Here at Westonbirt we are privileged to have a ha-ha that acts as a boundary around the Old Arboretum. A map from 1881 clearly illustrates the ha-ha, however it is estimated it was built in the 1820’s during the establishment of the old arboretum.

Currently work is being undertaken to clear and expose the wall so its condition can be assessed. The estate volunteers have been blessed with fine weather for this work as they use tools such as scythes to clear away the bramble and nettles, exposing the historically significant feature. Only hand tools are being used so as to be sympathetic to any wildlife that has made its home around the ha-ha, being careful to cause as little disturbance to the structure of the wall as possible.

Estate volunteers Haha restoration

Haha restoration Haha restoration

Plans are in place for its complete restoration in the near future.