The striking red, green and gold pavilion in a Chinese-style was the inspiration of Humphry Repton, the famous landscape gardener, and sits on top of the attractive rockery in the gardens of Woburn Abbey, family home of the 15th Duke and Duchess of Bedford.
In 1802 Repton was commissioned by the 6th Duke to produce designs for enhancing the gardens and deer park and create interest for visitors. The rockery and pavilion together were one part of Repton’s plan for formal ‘Pleasure Grounds’ at Woburn Abbey and illustrations of all of Repton’s designs and ideas were collated in his Red Book (1805), still held at the Abbey today. Woburn has the most plans of Repton’s realised in the UK, but until this year the rockery stood uncompleted.
For the past seven years the Family along with the Estates Gardens Manager Martin Towsey and his team have been working tirelessly to restore Repton’s original plans for the ‘Pleasure Gardens’, which have also included an aviary and Children’s Garden. In 2009 the Abbey Gardens team began restoring the rockery, which had suffered badly from weather over the years and was overgrown with trees, with the ultimate goal of recreating Repton’s original illustration. In 2011 F Martin Ltd were commissioned to build the pavilion and together with the Abbey Gardens team constructed it on top of the rockery. It took four weeks to build and a week to construct on site. The entire project was successfully completed this summer and officially opened by Her Grace, The Duchess of Bedford at the Woburn Abbey Garden Show.