A New lake and Himalayas project at Markshall Estate

Recent visitors to Markshall Estate may have noticed a lot of landscaping and changes at the North end of the Arboretum. Over 10 acres of land are being transformed into a replica of the Himalayas and a large new lake close by in the North American section of the Arboretum. Making it perhaps the biggest development project in the Charitable Trust’s history – especially significant this year as the Trust celebrates 50 years as a charity. This latest phase of plans to develop the Arboretum at Markshall Estate are just the beginning in a series of exciting developments for the landscape.

The land under development was historically let to the Forestry Commission to grow conifers. 10 acres belonging to the Forestry Commission were felled in 2018, returning the land to the possession of Markshall Estate.

Since then, the Team have worked continually on the project: the roots were grubbed out, brash cleared and remaining arisings were cleared by hand. A mammoth task for a small, dedicated team of Arborists, Estate Workers, and Volunteers. The area is now being re-landscaped before being planted with new trees and shrubs to further extend the Asia Geographic Zone* A Ginkgo Forest will be among some of the features of this landscape.

17,000 cubic metres of soil from a development on nearby Earls Colne Business Park have been moved to form low hills which of course have been nicknamed the Himalayas. The topsoil which still contains the seed bank from the old deer park sward was carefully removed before the mounds were landscaped, will then recover the area. So, overtime grasses will establish to match the rest of the Arboretum.

On the other side of Robins Brook, an attenuation lake is under development. The lake will take surface water from Earls Colne Business Park but so constructed that it will hold large amounts of run off in times of heavy rainfall which will then be discharged at a slow but steady rate down the nearby Robins Brook, helping to protect Coggeshall from future flash foods.

Before the lake was created, topsoil was scrapped off to one side, and the soil landscaped into the surrounding mounds. The original topsoil then put back over the top. This summer the soil will be handpicked of roots, then cultivated and then this area will be planted with North America trees as part of the North America geographic zone.

In as little as 12 months we could see visitors climbing the Himalayas and admiring wildlife, idyllic views across a new lake! All in the stunning Essex countryside.

*Markshall Estate’s arboretum is split into four geographic zones: Europe, Asia, North America and Gondwanaland. Mass planting of trees and shrubs from each temperate zone can be found in each zone. Making the Arboretum home to trees from across the world.