Heatwave Reveals Hidden Secrets: National Trust Hall’s ‘Ghost Garden’ Unearthed by UK Weather


The heatwave has uncovered stunning traces of Britain’s architectural heritage after a ‘ghost garden’ emerged at a country house.
The temperature has soared recently, hitting 32.2C in Chertsey, Surrey, on Saturday, the highest recorded this year.
The scorching weather has caused the outline of the formal Victorian garden at Gawthorpe Hall, near Burnley, to re-emerge on its front lawn.
Aerial photographs capture the traces of the footpaths of the Victorian parterre garden, which was installed in the 1860s.
The garden was removed after the Second World War due to maintenance costs but often re-emerged during summer as various soil types dry at different rates.
Built-in the Elizabethan era, the hall was remodelled in the 1850s by noted architect Sir Charles Barry, who sketched out plans for the Houses of Parliament.

Sir Charles also re-designed the gardens at both the front and back of the property.

The one at the back is smaller and was kept after the Second World War, but the front one became too onerous to maintain and was removed in 1946.
It comes after large parts of the UK officially experienced a heatwave.
Temperatures have soared nationwide since the weekend, with many areas passing the threshold.
On Tuesday, the Met Office said 35 different counties across the UK were experiencing a heatwave, having had high temperatures on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
These include 27 counties in England, five areas in Scotland, two in Wales and one in Northern Ireland.
Temperatures have cooled slightly this week but have remained mainly in the high 20s.
Most of the UK was hit by thunderstorms and heavy rainfall on Monday, but sunny and dry conditions are expected in most areas for the rest of the week, which could lead to even more locations reaching the heatwave threshold this week.
According to the Met Office, a heatwave is defined as three successive days with a daily maximum climate meeting or exceeding the heatwave temperature threshold.

UK Heatwave and Its Unusual Discovery

The current heatwave provides a near-unprecedented bonanza for archaeologists, as scorched conditions all over Britain expose the previously undiscovered or long-hidden outlines of everything from ancient fortifications to remnants of the Second World War.
In what was described as “a frantic race against time and weather”, archaeologists are scrambling into aeroplanes or flying drones to search for the outlines visible from the air as “crop marks” before they are once more erased by rain.
The discoveries in Wales have included an early medieval cemetery in south Gwynedd, a Roman villa in the Vale of Glamorgan, a prehistoric or Roman farm near Newport and a Roman fortlet near Magor, south Wales.
In hot weather, crop marks expose the presence of things like historic buildings or burial mounds because the grass or crops above them grow differently compared to plants in the surrounding soil.
A buried ditch that once ringed a hill fort will collect more underground water and nutrients, so the plants above it will grow taller and greener while the hot weather parches all the neighbouring vegetation. Meanwhile, the underground remains of a wall will have drier and poorer soil above it, producing shorter and browner plants.

Opening the Ghost Garden to the Public for a Limited Time

Ms Barker explained that the differences are more noticeable in prolonged hot weather that can affect even normally hardy greenery like grass. This means that when the rain comes, the crop marks vanish again.
“It’s a frantic race against time and the weather,” said Ms Barker. “There is just this window of opportunity, and then, according to the forecast, the rain will come in the next couple of days, and it will all be lost again – the outlines will start disappearing before your eyes.”
But even though the rain is coming, Ms Barker said the discoveries already made would produce significant advances in archaeological knowledge once the aerial images had been examined and the newly discovered features had been investigated at ground level.
She said: “We have found a Roman fortlet which will allow us to learn more about where the garrisons were and how the Roman conquest progressed. We have discovered an early medieval cemetery from the eighth or ninth century, with the potential to tell us more about the period that used to be called the Dark Ages.
“At the known sites, we have seen more and more things come out as it has got drier and drier.”
Elsewhere in the UK, emerging crop marks had given archaeologists another look at the outlines of Venta Icenorum, the Romano-British predecessor of Norwich, which was first discovered when the RAF aeroplanes flew over it in the summer of 1928.

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Olivia Wilson

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