We’ve recently completed important and historical restoration work at Stanmer Park to reinstate the estate’s ancient heritage.
A total of £7.1 million was invested into the estate.
Funding for the project came from a £4 million grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund, topped up with investment from Brighton & Hove City Council, Plumpton College and the South Downs National Park Authority.
The project, which has taken 6 years to complete, has restored some of the 18th Century landscape and buildings, enhanced the historic and natural features in the park, provided modern facilities and improved access for visitors to enjoy Stanmer’s beautiful estate and woodland.
Situated in the South Downs National Park, Stanmer is Brighton & Hove’s largest park and is visited by 500,000 people annually.
Restoring the 18th century landscape
Stuart McLeod, Director of England, London and South at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “We are thrilled to celebrate the completion of works at the Stanmer Estate. Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, a £4 million grant helped to restore this historically important 18th Century landscape and buildings.
“With community at the heart of the restoration, this ambitious makeover ensures that Stanmer Park will be enjoyed by visitors and its local community for many years to come.”
The proposals were developed after significant consultation with the public to deliver transformational improvements across the wider estate with a strong heritage focus on key historic areas.
The areas included the parkland and visitor approach to Stanmer House, the Home Farm Complex and Stanmer Village and the Walled Garden and Nursery.
Stanmer has evidence of over 5,000 years of human activity and the area has had a long and interesting life.
The estate remains a rare near complete example of an 18th Century designed landscape and is Grade II listed on the English Heritage Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest.
There are 27 listed buildings and structures on the estate including Grade I listed Stanmer House and Grade II listed stables and Stanmer Church.
The estate’s farmstead is a rare and substantially complete example of a traditional farmstead located within parkland.
The estate was purchased by the council after World War II, where it had previously been used as a military training ground, including a Canadian Tank Regiment, to practice for the liberation of Europe.
Rediscovered and reinvented walled garden
Prior to the restoration, the walled garden primarily consisted of 20th Century glasshouses and parking areas with restricted access to the public, except where plants were sold from the glasshouses.
Now known as One Garden Brighton, the Grade II listed brick and flint heritage walls have been repaired and a range of new gardens and green spaces have been created to provide an operational kitchen garden and for visitors to enjoy.
These include the ‘all seasons garden’, ‘pollinator garden’ and ‘medicinal garden’.
The gardens have been designed by Dominic Cole who is known for his work on the Eden Project.
Within the walled garden, One Kitchen was built to provide a beautiful restaurant and meeting place and has been enjoyed by thousands since it opened in 2021.
Plumpton College’s Stanmer campus is based within the walls of One Garden Brighton. They offer horticulture and floristry courses, training and education.
As well as the kitchen, One Market provides local produce including Plumpton Estate Wine, artisan bread and other delicacies from the area.
The parkland and approach to Stanmer House
We have introduced managed car parks to the estate which replace ad hoc parking along the road towards Stanmer House to improve access and views across the estate.
Revenue from the car parks now partially funds the continued management and maintenance of the park.
The bridleway around the estate is being restored with funding from National Highways and will offer a dedicated cycling and walking route.
Enhanced access around the park has improved the visitor experience as it was intended in its original 18th Century design.
Restoration of the home farm complex
The home farm complex consists of historically significant and listed buildings which had fallen into disrepair but with separate council funding are now in a much more presentable and stable condition.
The farmyard is now open to visitors to wander around and enjoy, having never previously been publicly open before.
Protecting and improving biodiversity
Stanmer Estate is a working landscape with farming, grazing and food growing taking place on its land and is home to many residents in Stanmer Village and cottages around the estate.
Under council management, the estate’s woodland has seen new areas of coppiced woodland where trees are cut on a regular cycle by our volunteers. This is essential for biodiversity as it allows light to reach the wildflowers on the ground below for them to flourish.
We worked with Froglife, a charity committed to the conservation of amphibians and reptiles, to restore dew ponds and other bodies of water around the estate to encourage and support amphibians and insect life.
An exciting new era for Stanmer Park
Councillor Tim Rowkins, Chair of the City Environment, South Downs and The Sea Committee, said: “As the city’s largest park and the gateway to the South Downs National Park, Stanmer is a real treasure and we’re lucky to have such a beautiful and historically significant park within our city.
“Everyone involved came together to invest in Stanmer Park and create a more accessible experience for visitors, whether you’re cycling around the estate, walking through the woodlands or having lunch at the restaurant in One Garden.
“Preserving the estate’s history was a key part of the project and the parks team have delivered fantastic improvements across Stanmer.
“With the 6-year project now coming to a close, we’re entering an exciting new era for Stanmer Park. We hope residents and visitors take an opportunity to visit this summer and enjoy all that Stanmer has to offer.”
The estate will be managed in a sustainable way that reflects the needs of park users and the wider community and is an exemplar of environmental management.
One Garden are now looking to restore the ‘Palm House’, a beautiful and ornate greenhouse on the Stanmer Estate.
It was previously used to grow and display native and tropical plants and is just one of three remaining structures of its kind in England.
They aim to complete the project and open the doors of the Palm House to visitors in 2024.
Volunteering opportunities at Stanmer
We also offer residents, businesses and visitors new learning, training and volunteering opportunities at Stanmer Park.