A Special Family Wedding

June 2019

We were delighted, honoured and privileged to host the most beautiful family wedding on Saturday 22nd June.

Alscot was a hive of activity during the build-up, and excitement grew & grew as we drew closer & closer to the big day. The grass was mown, the drive raked, the borders trimmed and even the initials of the bride and groom appeared in the long meadow grass in the parkland.

A huge 110ft marquee was erected 4 full days in advance and metres and metres of cabling installed, enabling power to supply the lighting, sound, catering and services. A stage was built that created a base for the amplifiers, speakers, microphones, mixer desks and musical instruments, and a large dance floor, situated close-by, that would become the most occupied space later in the evening . Tables and chairs arrived and numerous crates of cutlery, crockery and catering equipment. The bar was constructed and stocked, glasses were polished, tables laid with seamless detail and lavish floral decorations created with foliage from the Estate. Once the food preparation began and the band struck up, to sound check, the delicious smell and sound brought the place alive.

With, both family and guests following, the bride and groom made their way back from St Mary’s Church in a charming 1930’s vintage Bentley, whilst the bridesmaid travelled in a modern day Bentley Mulsanne. The sun continued to shine and Alscot Park was the idyllic setting for a Champagne reception for 200 guests. It was also the perfect backdrop for the marquee that sat proudly within the stunning gardens and formed yet another, and the next, dimension to the proceedings.

A delicious dinner, that created a little bit of atmospheric theatre, was prepared outside on a huge BBQ and refreshing cocktails were served. After the wonderful and heartfelt speeches, the evening entertainment started with a blast as live band, Good Intentions, featured, much to everyone’s surprise and delight, the rock legend that is Mr Steve Winwood. Steve dedicated his set to his goddaughter, the bride, Molly, and her new husband, Harry. The place was a buzz with excitement and enjoyment and with amazing light effects and sound, the celebrations continued into the night as people took to the dance floor to popular tunes belted out by a DJ.

Rather more quickly than it went up, the contractors arrived in droves on Monday morning to decommission, extract and dismantle, unveiling an uninterrupted vista once again.

Repairing and Rebuilding the Historic Ha-Ha

June 2019

The 10 year project that has seen the 18th century Ha-Ha completely rebuilt is finally finished! Admittedly, it shouldn’t have taken 10 years but there is the small matter of an Estate to run that comprises another 200 properties to look after.

A Ha-Ha is an ingenious piece of engineering that gives the viewer of the garden the illusion of an unbroken, continuous rolling lawn, whilst providing boundaries for grazing livestock.

Each bay measures 12 metres long and there are 18 bays. Over time the bays have been carefully deconstructed, numbered, excavated and rebuilt as every stoneblock was carefully repositioned and finished with the original decorative ornate wrought iron balustrade.

It is said that a-ha derived its name from the success of the optical illusion it created from a distance on viewers of the garden: the hitherto concealed ditch and wall would ‘surprise the eye coming near it, and make one cry, “Ah! Ah!”’

Mark, the longest serving member of the team, has worked on the project from start to finish and was pleased to see the final piece being relaid on Thursday 13th June 2019 - another great piece of stone masonry done and another piece of history created.

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Alscot Parkland Restoration Scheme

December 2018

It has been a project long-time in planning and planting has now begun.

We are currently working on a ten year landscape plan, for the outer parkland, which follows a survey carried out by Professor Tom Williamson, University of East Anglia, on the history of the landscape.  The survey identifies areas, such as the “Lynches”, and explains that in the middle decades of the eighteenth century this particular area of scrub and woodland was occupied by a detached ‘rococo’ pleasure ground, containing a circuit path and a number of ornamental buildings and structures. It is Emma's ambition to recreate and reinstate some of these historic features and in addition enhance planting across the 100 hectare park.

It is our intention to name a new tree, planted within the parkland, after each current member of the Alscot team that has served 10 years or more on the Estate.

On Tuesday 18th December 2018 we took delivery of the first load of trees from Hilliers in Hampshire and planting began. The species include Beech, Oak, Tulip, Cedar and a hybrid Elm; Ulmus New Horizon, created and grown to be disease resistant. Elms in Warwickshire were a common sight before the 1970s. Indeed, the English elm hedgerow trees were termed the Warwickshire Weed. Tall and distinctive trees, the timber was often used as a substitute for oak, and was used for among other things chairs and coffins. Dutch Elm disease almost entirely wiped elms off the Warwickshire map in the 1970s, and savagely changed the landscape in places.

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Ziggy’s and Millstones

June 2018

Where simple lawn and pink herbaceous borders once stood, the garden, that developed over the winter months, is now transformed into a bright, attractive and interesting space. Emma, and garden designer Kate, worked closely on the design which is based on the windows of the adjacent 18th century Orangery, and it borrows architectural details from areas and buildings elsewhere on the Estate.

From excavation and setting out the levels with markers & pegs, to construction and the planting that centres around the stunning China Rose; Rosa Bengal Crimson, set in meadow planting with grasses and perennials. The structure and contrast of the shapes and colours is amazing and once the planting flourishes it's set to deliver an array of blue hues throughout the spring and summer and pomegranate reds during the autumn. 

The fernery is the perfect backdrop for the new millstones structure. The two millstones, erected and supported by a steel frame (made on the estate), were working stones and saved from Cutlin Mill; an old Mill property that stood derelict on the Estate for several years and later was the subject of a devastating arson attack. 

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Forestry Planting

November 2017

Following on from a large scale independent tree survey across the Estate, which identified areas of  improvement, the Estate has successfully implemented and established a forestry and planting scheme. Work in the Estate’s woodland areas has involved the clearing of fallen timber, diseased and dangerous trees and selective thinning. The pollarding of the willows along the river banks, which grossed in excess of 120 tonnes, has seen the timber and soft wood thinning transferred for biofuel and the fallen trees are used for logs at Alscot Park and The Bell.  The continual forestry scheme, headed by David Arnold, has to date seen over 500 new trees and substantial hedging planted in 2017.

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40 Preston on Stour

March 2016

This two bedroom derelict estate property was converted in 2016 into a four bedroom family house by adding a two story extension, and making alterations to the existing building.

The Alscot Property Development team completed the project in Spring 2016.

The house comprises; four reception rooms, fully fitted kitchen, utility room, main and rear entrance halls with stairs leading to; master bedroom with en-suite, three further bedrooms and family bathroom. The property will benefit from an eco-friendly heating system, private car parking and front and rear gardens.

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The Bell, Alderminster

April 2016

The Bell at Alderminster, part of the Alscot Estate, has recently undergone a build project to provide a brand new two story restaurant.

The acclaimed Inn offers all-day bar and dining across two floors, with outside seating overlooking the sprawling riverside meadow & Stour Valley, as well as luxury guestrooms.

The contemporary building was designed by award-winning local architects, Marson Rathbone Taylor, who are recognised for their creative ideas and commercial awareness. The steel framed structure, with grey aluminum fascia and render façade, stands proud and impressive, yet neat, between the existing brick construction. Inside, the restaurant has large open spaces with a full height atrium and floor to ceiling glass panels and windows.

The space was planned carefully to offer comfort and modern luxury without compromising the characteristic spirit of the eighteenth century pub.  The ground floor restaurant, decorated in soft pastels and silvers, with seating directly onto the terrace, serves everything from breakfast through to dinner. The top floor, with dark wooden floors inside and out, and polished copper tables, has panoramic views across the Stour Valley with its own seated balcony for additional dining, or afternoon tea.

The extension took just 14 weeks for construction specialists Cotswold Oak to complete.

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