Thursday, 17 October 2013

Operation Car Park: Week One

The Car Park at Markenfield has never been quite the same since it was dug up twice in quick succession - once by BT looking for a junction box, and once by the water people looking for a leak!

The surface became lumpy and began to hold water. The grass disappeared and the whole area began to resemble the surrounding farm land rather than somewhere for visitors to park their once-clean cars.

A brand new car park has been on the cards for many years now - but how to fund it? What to do with it to keep it in keeping? A concrete monstrosity just wouldn't do. Tarmac? Sacrilege! 

As it turned out, inspiration wasn't too far away!

It was decided that the new Car Park should be surfaced in a pale hardcore to match the central aisle of the Courtyard and then edged in cobbles. 

The cobbles in the Courtyard were unearthed when the grass was edged one day by the Hall's gardener and the decision was taken to preserve and maintain them rather than to grass over them again.

They are a handsome feature of the Courtyard and actually run along the side of the Gatehouse too. So it was only natural that the thought of introducing them in to the Car Park too was greeted with enthusiasm by English Heritage.

Because the Car Park is on land Scheduled as an Ancient Monument, English Heritage have been involved from the very beginning. Most car parks do not require Consent from the Secretary of State and an Archaeologist on stand by!

So, work began this week on scraping off what remained of the old grass surface. What was underneath was then leveled by hand proving a hard standing surface for the Hall's staff still to park on.

Luckily the existing drainage from the farm buildings still worked... we knew that following a morning of frothy pouring water down various holes and then running round to see if the moat was frothy too... a bit like Pooh Sticks - but with bubbles! So the surrounds to the run off drains will be made this week by the Hall's Stone Mason and then it's cobble time...

Funnily enough... it would appear that someone (several hundred years ago) had the same idea! Look what was uncovered against the farm buildings - just under the grass.

1 comment:

  1. Since car parks are, sadly, a necessity today, you are making the best of the situation. I am sure it will look really good with the cobbled rim.