Wednesday, 6 November 2013

The "Ha Ha" in Hillworth Park

The Ha Ha, a walled trench, was a feature of many 18th century gardens, and was designed to separate grazing animals from the garden, without spoiling the view from the house.
The first Hillworth House, seen to the right in the background of the photo,  first appeared on a map of Devizes dating from 1737.   It was then located 100 metres to the east of it current location on a road known as Gallows Ditch, and outside the town ditch.  One theory for its change of location, was that it stood in the way of a new railway line being built close by. 
Owners of the house have included many eminent local people, and this present building, built in 1832 is now a Grade ll listed house, divided into four apartments and in private ownership, is no longer part of the public park. 
 Hillworth Park was purchased by the town council after the Second World War, and the Ha-Ha had become buried in the lawn with only the top stones of the walls showing

The old English Oak is surrounded by folk law and a local legend has it that a man hanged himself on the tree, and many people have claimed to see his ghost dangling from a branch.   This branch fell from the tree on Christmas Eve in the mid 1980´s, but some still claim that his ghost still dangles in midair from the missing branch!

Many trees in the park date from the the 1700´s and include four Common Lime trees, Blue Atlas cedars and a Cedar of Lebanon dating from early 1800.  A four hundred year old Sweet Chestnut tree stands near the Queens Road entrance.   

This park was recently renovated with a grant from the National Lottery, and is now used to stage various public attractions throughout the year

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