Recognising the importance of the historic landscape

Capability Brown expert John Phibbs at Stoneham Park with members of the Hampshire Gardens Trust, 2009

"North Stoneham's landscape is almost unique at present in that it is one of the few ancient manors in England where development can be traced in an almost uninterrupted line for two thousand years.  It is unfortunate that these discoveries should be made only after much of the landscape has already been destroyed, or seriously damaged. ... The park should be afforded greater merit as part of [Southampton's] heritage than its present status affords. Efforts should be made to prevent any future deprivations, and attempts should be made to bring as much of this landscape into public ownership as possible for use as a recreational, and above all, unique educational resource that it represents. There are few other places in the United Kingdom where such unbroken continuity in the landscape can be demonstrated to the public."

C K Currie, North Stoneham Park: its origin and development, report to Hampshire County Council (1992).

"The quality of the environment in this area is deteriorating and there is a constant threat of development. Nevertheless, the landscape is still an important and attractive feature and there is a considerable opportunity for enhancement and greater public access to the area. It is vital therefore that there is a coherent and constructive approach to land management and development control.

The long term future of the park is dependent on a coherent strategy which is likely to be either accepting a form of institutional corporate development ..., or developing the park as an education and recreational resource, using its many nature conservation and historic features."

Blandford Associates, North Stoneham Park: Historic Landscape Survey, report to Hampshire County Council (1992).

"North Stoneham Park is a site of considerable historic and landscape interest which has become severely degraded ... Nevertheless, it retains a large number of historic features worth safeguarding, is a significant element in the Eastleigh Southampton urban fringe, and has great potential for future use if ownership problems can be overcome. It is at the centre of the Eastleigh Southampton Strategic Gap and an improvement of its present landscape character is essential to the improvement of the environmental quality of the gap.

Although parts of the original landscape have been degraded or destroyed, ... the parkland character of the landscape survives over a considerable part of the area, together with a number of historical features. The most important of these features are the remnants of The Avenue (which pre-dates Capability Brown's work), three man-made ponds, the walled garden and a shrine ..."

County Planning Officer, Planning and Management Framework - North Stoneham Park (1993); adopted in 1995 by the Borough Councils of Eastleigh and Test Valley.

"North Stoneham is a very high grade Brownian landscape. As I calculate he and his men worked there for at least three years, from 1772-1775, employing throughout that time an average of about 30 men with a foreman. A number of Brownian buildings went up at about that time, including the stables, the walled garden and the ice-house. In addition the general form of the landscape took shape. ... My advice in short is to now consider either a lottery application, or a stewardship scheme, which would allow you to go further into an understanding of the layout at Stoneham."

John Phibbs, 2000