One of the country’s best Elizabethan houses has been saved from a major development that would have severely impacted on its setting, thanks to Bolsover District Council’s decision to reject Losk Lane Wind Farm Limited’s application for the development of a windfarm at Palterton, Derbyshire.
The turbines would have dominated the views to and from nearby Hardwick Hall, a Grade I listed house and estate owned by the National Trust.
Hardwick is one of the best intact examples of an Elizabethan house and parkland. Designed by Robert Smythson, the leading architect of the day, it was built for Elizabeth, Countess of Shrewsbury, better known as ‘Bess of Hardwick’, one of the most powerful women of the time and an important figure in Elizabethan history.
The Hall is a landmark for miles around: it was a building to be admired from the surrounding landscape, but the rooftop walk and the array of large windows also show that the estate was to be seen from the house. It attracts visitors locally, nationally and internationally, with over 210,000 people visiting in 2012.
Denise Edwards, General Manager for Hardwick Hall, said: “As the largest conservation body in the country, there’s no question that the National Trust supports the development of renewable energy sources. However, we believe that the impact on local communities and natural or historic landscapes should be very carefully considered when deciding on the location and scale of such developments. It is hugely reassuring that the conservation setting of one of Derbyshire’s most special places has been recognised and protected.”
The National Trust has made a commitment to cut fossil fuel emissions by 50 per cent by 2020* and there are already 140 renewable energy projects operating at National Trust places throughout the UK. At Hardwick this commitment has been demonstrated in measures such as the installation of a biomass boiler in the new visitor facilities which opened in 2012.
Hardwick Hall was built by ‘Bess of Hardwick’, Countess of Shrewsbury, between 1590 and 1597. Outliving four husbands, ‘Bess of Hardwick’ gathered social status, land and fabulous wealth. Bess’s initials, ES, and her coat of arms, decorate the rooftop. The Hall houses a unique collection of rich 16th and early 17th century tapestries and needlework collected by Bess, and, even now, unsurpassed in Europe.
Hardwick gardens are beautifully presented in a series of courtyards, where you can move from one garden ‘room’ to the next to explore the herb garden, orchards and colourful borders. The Estate also has 900 acres of parkland, which is home to a variety of wildlife, circular walks and trails.