A stream called the Bollo Brook originally formed the natural boundary of Lord Burlington’s estate. After Lord Burlington purchased the land beyond the water in 1726-7, the Brook was widened and canalised. In 1737, it was ‘naturalised’ by landscaping its edges, to give it the illusion of being a river.
This elegant stone bridge, which replaced a wooden bridge over the lake, was built for the 5th Duke of Devonshire in 1774. It is attributed to James Wyatt.
The historic views from the Bridge across the lake have been restored. The stonework has been repaired.
The Wilderness, a fashionable feature in 18th century gardens, was designed by Lord Burlington and William Kent to include a delightful series of serpentine paths through naturalistic woodland.
The Garden restoration project saw the introduction of more native trees and shrubs, and protection of bat roosts. The historic stone Rustic Gate entrance, which leads from the car park into the gardens, was restored, allowing entry along a yew lined alley to the gardens behind Chiswick House.
Obelisk (by Burlington Gate)
Erected in 1732, the Obelisk has built into its base an ancient Hellenistic sculpture of a man and a woman which had been given to the young Burlington in 1712. This was replaced with a copy in 2006, and the original is now on display in Chiswick House. The original sculpture was once part of a large collection of Classical statuary assembled by the Earl of Arundel in the 17th century. Imposing straight avenues radiate out from the Obelisk, leading to the Classic Bridge and the Ionic Temple.
Cricket pitch and pavilion
The cricket pitch was created in the 1890s by the Tuke family, who ran a mental asylum at Chiswick House between 1892 and 1928. Keen cricketers, the Tukes encouraged their patients to play. From 1946 until 1992 the Turnham Green Cricket Club played here. Celebrity cricket matches were a regular feature in the 40s and 50s and famous cricketers like Denis Compton and Bill Edrich played at Chiswick. The cricket pavilion was built around 1956. It can be hired for special events.
Just off the path leading to the Rustic House is our rare example of an early 18th century green. It is surrounded by historic sweet chestnut trees.