The 1660s saw the transformation of Greenwich Park from a medieval heathland hunting park into a formal landscape with a grand garden and avenues.
King Charles II, remodelled the park to a formal design by André Le Nôtre - the gardener to Louis XIV of France and the landscape architect who designed the park to the Palace of Versailles. Le Nôtre’s plans – the Grand Plan - entailed the development of formal gardens - a parterre - on the park side of the Queen’s House and a series of grass terraces were cut into the slope overlooking the gardens, lined with pine trees originally – later to be replaced with hawthorn hedges. The plans also included magnificent sweeping avenues of trees, channelling the view of the Queen’s House.
Greenwich Park is unique in being the only UK park landscaped by the famous Le Nôtre. But the park is facing centuries of erosion and the famous tree avenues are facing new pests and diseases. Greenwich Park Revealed will protect this incomparable historic landscape and future proof the park.
The project will:
Recreate the Giant Steps and Parterre Banks
The reinstatement of the giant grass terraces below the Royal Observatory, are considered the fulcrum of the 1660s ‘Grand Design’ – and will have a spectacular impact on the park’s landscape, reinforcing the architectural ensemble which make up the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site.
The restoration of the symmetrical parterre banked areas – conceived by André Le Nôtre – will clearly re-establish the historic long north-south visual line extending from the River through the centre of the Queen’s House across the Park to Blackheath Gate.
These two historic landscape elements of the Grand Design, are a feat of engineering and are a masterpiece of the application of symmetrical landscape design applied to the irregular terrain.
Protect the historic tree avenues
We will undertake important work phased over four years to reinstate and replant Greenwich Park’s famous historic tree avenues. The project will increase the number of trees in the park, and provide an attractive, robust and disease-resilient tree-scape that will serve Greenwich Park’s visitors for many generations to come, replacing diseased, dying, damaged and poor-quality trees which have been impacted by new pests and diseases.
The viewing platform around the General Wolfe statue will be extended to create additional space for the growing numbers of visitors at this popular spot for selfie takers who come to capture the magnificent view across to The Queen’s House and The Thames. The extended space will alleviate the erosion of the grassland area below.
New interpretation and access
an interpretation plan will uncover the park’s history and a mobility scheme and make the park more accessible to visitors – opening up undiscovered corners of the park and reducing the impact on popular visitor destinations – such as around The Wolfe statue.
We will develop an extensive range of learning, training and volunteering opportunities to communicate elements of the park’s heritage to existing and new audiences - such as community archeology digs. We will create a number of horticultural pre-apprenticeships and landscape architecture internships along with an extended schools programme. Through our partnerships with local youth-orientated arts organisations we will deliver free theatre and music events alongside walks and talks.