Site record MDR6070 - Hardwick Park, Hardwick Hall, Ault Hucknall

Type and Period (5)

Protected Status/Designation

Full Description

SK 465 641 Deer Park (NAT). (1) A deer park at Hardwick of seven-hundred acres, fenced by partly continuous iron and wood paling. Noted by Leland. (2-3) The parkland probably has medieval origins and was extended in 1665-6. The east side of the park today [1999] is largely open pasture land with scattered trees, clumps and patches of woodland, and lime avenues planted in 1925. The north-east boundary is sheltered by Car Plantation, with Car Ponds along the inner edge. The east side of the park is shown on William Senior's map of 1610 as 'Launde', which then extended to a point c. 500m east of the Hall; it was considerably extended in 1665-6. The west side of the park is hilly, well covered with mature trees, and ridge and furrow is visible on some of the level areas west of the Old Hall. A chain of four ponds is situated c. 500m west of the Hall; they are shown on Senior's map and may have been fish ponds. They feed into the Great Pond to the west, and Miller's Pond, the largest pond, lies to the north-east. The latter two ponds were in existence by the 1630s, and extensive remodelling took place in 1860-1. In the south-west corner of the park there is an elliptical bank planted with trees, which is the remains of a duck decoy of 1860. (4) The landscape of Hardwick Park was mapped by William Senior in 1610. He shows that the steep banks below Hardwick Hall were clothed in trees. A tributary of the Doe Lea had been dammed to produce seven fish ponds now called the Row ponds [SMR 261]. The land had been emparked and a park pale, much of which is still evident today, had been constructed to keep the deer and 'joist' cattle in. On the more elevated limestone plateau on which Hardwick Hall stood, an enclosure called the 'Launde' had been established on which deer and 'joist' cattle grazed (joist cattle were owned by local people and permitted to graze in the park for a small sum). Records suggest that the Great Pond and Miller's Pond were created during the 1630s. In the second half of the 17th century the Great Pond was used as a drain for coal pits between the two ponds. In 1665 the park was greatly enlarged by the addition of Rowthorne Carr, an area of some 225 acres of woodland pasture. By the mid 17th century two ponds, the Carr ponds, existed on the northern perimeter of the newly enlarged park. By 1758 they had been increased to the four that are present today. In 1665 there was an elm walk on the Launde. However, this was sold and felled in 1730 and the site was recorded as meadow in 1731. Changes to the park in the 19th century included the creation of new drives, the planting of Lady Spencer's walk and of roundels of trees to fill open areas in the park, and the creation of a duck decoy. Deer were gradually phased out of the park in the 20th century and much of the grassland on the eastern side of the park went under the plough; however one new feature was created, namely the lime avenue in the shape of a wine glass that was planted in the Launde. Part of this was destroyed by the creation by the RAF of a landing strip during the 2nd World War, although the trees have since been replanted. The western side of the park was converted into a county park in 1970. The park today has an abundance of parkland trees and plantations, including many examples between 200 and 250 years old, while the ponds represent some of the oldest man-made elements of the site. (5) The large parish of Ault Hucknall contained two medieval parks, Hardwick and Stainsby [SMR 258], both once within the ancient Royal Forest between the Erewash and the Trent, which was disforested in 1225. The present Hardwick Park, a readily recognised feature today, encloses the old and new Hardwick Halls. It is an area of open parkland with veteran trees, woodland and ponds. Administered by the National Trust, open access allows the wealth of features attesting to its former use as a deer park to be observed. Of particular note are the well-preserved sections of pale and internal ditch by Blingsby Gate in the north. The Senior map of 1616 shows a smaller park than the one now in the hands of the National Trust. (6) During World War II, an airfield was prepared at Hardwick Park by Rendel, Palmer and Tritton. It was designed as 37 SLG (Satellite Landing Ground). The site consisted of a 16 acre parking area, which could accommodate up to 65 aircraft and one 1000 yard grass runway. The airfield opened in 1941. Due to safety issues surrounding live ammunition that was present on site, Hardwick Park was transferred to the sole control of the Airborne Forces on September 14th 1943. All aircraft was removed and no trace was left of the airfield. See SMR 283 for associated camp. (7) For SMRs on Hardwick Hall, see: Hardwick Old Hall, Ault Hucknall, (SMR 214) Hardwick Hall, Ault Hucknall, (SMR 216) Hardwick Park, Hardwick Hall, Ault Hucknall, (SMR 207) Conduit House, Hardwick Hall, Ault Hucknall, (SMR 215) Gardens and pleasure grounds, Hardwick Hall, Ault Hucknall, (SMR 217) Courtyard and wall, Hardwick Hall, Ault Hucknall, (SMR 264)

Sources/Archives (8)

  • --- Unpublished document: Lodoen, A (ARS Ltd). 2018. Archaeological Watching Brief at Hardwick Hall Estate.
  • <1> Map: David & Charles edition, Sheet 28. 1840. OS 1" map, Chesterfield. Surveyed 1837-1839, with later revisions.. 1" to the mile.
  • <2> Bibliographic reference: Whitaker, J. 1892. Deer Parks & Paddocks of England. pp 37-8.
  • <3> Bibliographic reference: Shirley, E. 1867. English Deer and Deer Parks. pp 171-2.
  • <4> Unpublished document: English Heritage. 1999. Hardwick Hall. Registered Parks and Gardens description.. GD1418.
  • <5> Unpublished document: Chris Burnett Associates. 1997. The History of Hardwick Park and Outline Restoration Strategy.
  • <6> Bibliographic reference: Wiltshire, M & Woore, S. 2009. Medieval Parks of Derbyshire. pp. 26-7.
  • <7> Archive: English Heritage. 2012. Thematic Survey National Heritage Protection Plan: World War II Temporary Airfields. PastScape Monument No: 1579382.



Grid reference Centred SK 464 639 (2444m by 1672m) (Centre)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (3)

  • EDR3697
  • EDR5044
  • EDR2341

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Record last edited

Mar 21 2022 2:51PM

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