Woburn Abbey unveils its latest addition

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The Duchess of Bedford has officially opened the Keepers Cottages, which have been added to the aviary.

The ceremony took place during the Woburn Abbey Garden Show.

The extensions are the final stage of a project to reconstruct another eye-catching feature for the Woburn estate.

Under the direction of the Duchess of Bedford and a team of gardeners, many of Humphry Repton’s designs for the Woburn Estate, where his work has been most realised, have been brought back to life. However, few projects have been as fascinating as the reconstruction from the ashes of his design for the aviary, cone house and menagerie.

Originally built in 1805, the aviary and cone house represents one of Repton’s most elaborate designs and marked the estate’s first foray into keeping exotic birds and animals in the surrounding menagerie. When it was originally built, the artistic views of the Red Book had the labourers and agents scratching their heads as to how best realise Repton’s designs.

Unfortunately it was burnt down and later deconstructed during the Second World War for easier garden maintenance.

However, after reviewing Repton’s largest Red Book of designs in the Woburn Abbey library, the duchess, the estate gardens manager Martin Towsey and Woburn’s gardeners were inspired to reinstate Repton’s designs. The work began in 2011.