The English landscape style

A meandering thread through West Flanders' provincial domains ...

What do several of our West Flemish provincial domains have in common? Not only the presence of a rich castle, but also the meandering parks in English landscape style that embrace the castles are visible in some domains.

The style movement found its way into our country in the second half of the 18th century. A natural-looking park, where winding paths, groups of trees (so-called"clumps") and organic-looking water features come together, became the prevailing trend. "Let nature take its course", it was said, despite the intervention of human hands that was required for the construction of the parks. However, the new trend produced ecologically very valuable domains. However, the progressive ideas of park and garden design were at odds with the previously indispensable, typically French geometry and symmetry, with the stately garden of Versailles as a prime example.

West Flanders Provincial Domains

The English landscape style gained popularity in the 19th and 20th centuries and did not go unnoticed by West Flemish castle owners. According to the latest trends, the fashionable style was applied to the construction of their castle grounds. To this day, this style can be felt by visitors in some provincial domains ...

Tillegem Castle Estate

ErfgoedApp Tillegem

The present layout of the Tillegem estate probably dates from the 18th century and is therefore not fully in the English landscape style. The domain has a star as its basic shape: from the castle as the centre, several avenues start in the shape of a star. The park layout of Tillegem does have similarities with the English landscape style. Characteristic of this is the use of slopes. Tillegem Castle therefore offered many possibilities because of its location at a natural height, at the beginning of a slope and centrally located in relation to the surrounding park. Castles were often placed on a slope to emphasise their landmark status.

Castle estate d'Aertrycke

ErfgoedApp d'Aertrycke

The castle domain d'Aertrycke was designed by landscape architect Louis Fuchs (1818-1904) entirely in the English landscape style. The use of visual axes was applied here. Every 15 degrees there is a line of sight from the castle that divides the park and highlights an element (outbuilding, group of trees, water feature, etc.). Conversely, each line of sight offers a beautiful view of the castle. A striking feature of the d'Aertrycke provincial domain is the large, ecologically valuable pond near the castle. With its natural shape, the pond acts as an important attraction for various fauna and flora. In addition, the small outbuildings on the domain, such as the dovecote, the bathhouse and the boathouse, create a picturesque and cosy atmosphere.

View from the boathouse.

Castle Estate Wallemote-Wolvenhof

The idyllic castle estate Wallemote-Wolvenhof is also a striking example of the English landscape style. The various clumps of red beech trees create organic-looking forestation. The castle pond can be reached via winding paths that lead to a romantic bridge. From here, visitors have an excellent view of the pond, Wolvenhof Castle and the surrounding garden.

Aerial photo of the Wallemote-Wolvenhof provincial domain.

Interested in exploring one of the province's domains in person? Come and visit, download the ErfgoedApp and start your walk. The heritage walk through Wallemote-Wolvenhof domain will soon appear on the map!