Lily Hill Country Park
Lily Hill is a 23 hectare public open space, located to the north east of Bracknell. The park forms part of the estate originally belonging to Lily Hill House and consists of parkland, woodland, and formal gardens. The park is a place for quiet, informal recreation, meeting friends, walking the dog and enjoying nature, so the restoration project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund was eagerly awaited by local residents.
The objective of the contracted works was to restore the 19th century ‘gentleman’s residence’ and grounds to its former glory. Works were to be carried out in two phases (East and West) to allow maximum public access to the wonderful local amenity.
Many mature specimens of exotic pines and ornamental rhododendrons remain, however the original design and 'feel' of the park had gradually been lost because of extensive natural birch regeneration. Removing much of this has reinstated vistas and views and to allow restoration the wildflower meadows.
The tree works were part of the overall restoration works and comprised of selective felling of dead and dangerous trees and crown thinning and dead wooding the remaining ones. There were over 1500 trees to be worked on over a phased period of time.
Over a mile of paths, now restored and finished in naturalistic ‘hoggin’ material, allow visitors to enjoy Vincent’s Hill, a fine stand of beech trees, the original yew walk, and Forester’s Hill where three mighty wellingonia have pride of place. Associated works around the periphery of the park meant we had to section fell trees over a main road and overhead electricity conductors, and at one stage move a bus stop while works were being undertaken.
Phase Two Restoration work encompassed Starch Copse, the water garden and the paved promenade reinstated in Edwardian style. Another unusual landscape feature is the ‘ha ha’, or sunken timber fence, in front of Lily Hill House. This feature was originally designed to keep livestock from the house and garden while still providing an uninterrupted view of the parkland.
The park had to remain open at all time throughout the restoration, whilst keeping local residents, park preservation groups and visitors fully informed. All works were carried out with the aid of the consultant ecologist ensuring minimum impact to the diverse wildlife population. During the restoration 82 examples of rare rhododendron were discovered in the overgrown Starch Copse which has now been protected and reproduced with the aid of the Royal Horticultural Society. This was made possible due the care and attention of Frosts Landscape Construction in clearing this area.
All objectives were achieved with the Lily Hill Country Park receiving the prestigious Green Flag Award following the completion of the restoration project.
- Bracknell Forest Borough Council
- 2004 - 2008
- Main Contractor
- Frosts Landscape Construction Ltd