Page last updated at 15:11 GMT, Thursday, 19 February 2009

Capability's sketch set to bloom

Capability Brown's sketch
The plan draws inspiration from an early sketch by Brown

A plan by the legendary landscape architect Capability Brown which lay hidden for 250 years looks set to be brought to life in Northumberland.

The sketch, thought to be Brown's first garden plan, focuses on the village of Kirkharle, the hamlet he grew up in the early 1700s.

Subject to funding and permission, the project will involve nine acres of woodland, said landowner John Anderson.

It is estimated it will take about 18 months to plant out the design.

The 21st Century project would use Brown's plan as an inspiration.

Brown's original sketch covered some 100 acres of rolling Northumberland countryside.

Christened Lancelot but nicknamed "Capability" because he would tell prospective clients their land had "a lot of capabilities", he became England's finest landscape architect and gardener.

Brown was responsible for creating over 100 gardens, including those at Chatsworth House in Derbyshire and Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire.

Capability Brown
Capability Brown is described as one of Northumberland's "greatest sons"

The Forestry Commission has already awarded Mr Anderson a 4,000 grant to allow hundreds of beech, oak, Scots pine, shrubs and fruit trees to be planted.

"It's possible that the design reflects actual elements of the 18th Century grounds, but it mainly contains Brown's ideas for the way it could be improved," Mr Anderson said.

"Our plan is to fulfil his vision as far as we can, complete with serpentine lakes, woodland and footpaths.

"It really is a unique opportunity to create a stunning public visitor attraction and pay homage to one of Northumberland's greatest sons."

Neil Dixon, woodland officer with the Forestry Commission, said: "It's certainly one of the most unusual planting schemes we have backed, in fact one designed by the nation's most celebrated landscape architect.

"The result will be a stunning new parkland with the key elements Mr Brown conceived 270 years ago."

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