Otterhead Estate Heritage Update November 2010

1. Terraced Victorian paths south-west of the Middle and Higher Lakes have been cleared by various groups of young people, such as from Chard Connexions, supervised by the Somerset Rural Youth Project and arranged by the Blackdown Hills AONB Partnership. This work will also facilitate the restoration and maintenance of a leat and other heritage water features

2. Overgrown Drive east of the Lower Lakes is now being cleared by teams from Groundwork South West. The drive is not depicted on any map of Otterhead so far discovered. The following have been suggested as to when it might have been cut into the valley slope and then abandoned:

a. Prior to William Beadon’s death in 1864.

b. Prior to the mortgage foreclosure in c1892.

c. Prior to the death of Lady Geraldine Goschen in 1918.

Once restored, the drive will enable that part of the Estate to be more easily accessible to visitors of various physical abilities.

3. The walls of the Otterhead Walled Gardens were the subject of a condition survey funded by the Blackdown Hills AONB several years ago. That has recently been followed up by a feasibility study for the restoration of the outer walls surrounding both gardens. If restoration is not carried out soon, hundreds of Somerset tiles including William Beadon’s patent gutter tiles will fall and so will thousands of bricks. A nursery close to the AONB has offered to donate several obsolete English Lights which when restored could cover the forcing pit in the Higher Garden.

4. It is hoped that work that will lead to the site of Otterhead House being conserved and interpreted for visitors may be commenced soon.

5. Somerset Industrial Archaeological Society members expect to begin searching for features such as hydraulic rams and an underground water wheel chamber before the end of this year.

 

Roy Coombs

Project Co-ordinator

The Otterhead Estate Trust Company Ltd.   8 November 2010.

 

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