The Danesbury Fernery – a brief History.
The Fernery in Danesbury Park was constructed by William John Blake’s renowned gardener Andrew Parsons in 1859-60. He incorporated Pulham artificial stone. The site is in the Motorway Field of the Local Nature Reserve, a short-walk from Danesbury House.
The Pulham Legacy website describes the Danesbury Fernery as: ‘Cave, Dropping Well, Pass for ferns and other rockplants in old chalk pit but in artificial stone’.
The Danesbury Fernery is one of Pulhams’ earliest ferneries, but it is now in a very delapidated state, as can be seen in this next photo taken in September 2015. The volunteer group, Friends of Danesbury Local Nature Reserve, aided by the Friends of Mardley Heath, and groups of Sherrardpark Wood Wardens, have started a new project to clear the site. When the Pulhamite stone has been exposed again, the landowner (Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council) will be in a position to adjudge whether or not to continue with full-blown restoration by specialist contractors, including works to make the site safe for public access once again.
The Pulham Legacy
Claude Hutching is the author of many publications about Pulhamite, and he runs the very topical Pulham Legacy website, which details the successful restoration work carried out around the country. We hope that before long, the work to restore the Danesbury Fernery will feature.
Go to the Pulham Legacy website to get details of Claud Hitching’s Presentation Diary. Claud Hitching (with Valerie Christman) regularly gives presentations about some of the experiences he encountered during his research leading up to the publication of his critically-acclaimed book, Rock Landscapes: The Pulham Legacy. Valerie Chistman also gives the history behind the development of Pulham cement. Valerie is directly descended from the Pulham family, and is an amateur geologist and professional garden designer in her own right.