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The Lake

Take time to explore Kirkharle's historic Lake and Landscape


Now is the first opportunity to discover how the vision of English landscaping genius Capability Brown, known as the Shakespeare of gardening, is coming to life.

You can now walk around the lake on a meandering 900 meter fully accessible pathway for close up views of a never realised 18th Century landscape in early development - an experience that has never been possible for today’s public before.

Capability Brown designed the original plan for the lake and stunning parkland at his Kirkharle birthplace almost 300years ago, possibly when he was as young as 23 years old; if so, it could represent his first ever attempt at landscape design - now the long forgotten design has been updated sympathetically to become reality.


The new landscape has had to cope with all the changed conditions since Brown first drew the plan. So now there are two lakes instead of Brown’s one, gravel paths - where Brown probably had paths mown with a scythe through grass - a new entrance and no mansion house, as it was pulled down in the 1820s, not to mention the A696 which cuts Brown’s lake in half. It’s rather akin to adapting an 18th century house to modern living. The result gives us a unique insight into the mind of a very great landscape designer and the beauty he saw in the Kirkharle landscape. Coupled with this is the creation of a habitat that positively encourages all manner of wildlife and native flora; the number and variety of birds at such an early stage of development is particularly pleasing to behold.

We are delighted to see that many of our visitors now enjoy the leisurely walk roung the lake and the wildlife.The land around the lake and at the entrance is still being worked upon and we have encountered a number of problems on the way - not least the weather. It will take several seasons to create the natural look that Capability Brown strove to achieve. We would also like to make an number of improvments prior to 2016 when we will be celebrating the tercentenary of his birth at Kirkharle . These should prove exciting for visitors as they see the lake and landscape developing close up and over time. Kirkharle Lake and Courtyard is grateful to its partners Northumberland County Council, using Rural Development Programme for England funds provided by One North East, the EU and Defra, Northumbrian Water and charitable donations. Natural England has backed the project as well as a previous Forestry Commission grant.


Entrance to the Lake is Free. Open all year round.

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Photos courtesy of Natural England