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Hartsholme Park


Hartsholme Park is a country park developed from a landscape park dating from 1862, with many of its original features still present. The park contains walks, landscaped gardens, woodlands and a reservoir.

The following is from the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. For the most up-to-date Register entry, please visit the The National Heritage List for England (NHLE):

Gardens and park laid out by Edward Milner in the mid-19th century as the setting for a contemporary country house.



Hartsholme Park is situated to the south-west of the city of Lincoln. It comprises c 50ha and the approximately rectangular site runs roughly north/south, bounded by Skellingthorpe Road to the north and Swanholme Lakes Local Nature Reserve to the south. Housing abuts the north-west boundary while the western edge of the stream which runs parallel to the tail of Hartsholme Lake forms the south-west boundary. Housing forms the eastern boundary. The setting of the park is therefore predominately urban. Until sand and gravel extraction in the mid C20, the boundary of the site extended southwards through what was Hartsholme Wood to Doddington Road, and south-eastwards to ballast pits which lie west of the Newark to Lincoln railway line. The western boundary of the site was marked by the fields of Baker's Close, Jarvis Close, and Higgin's Close (OS 1889). By 1907 (OS) the fields, planted with conifers, had become part of the ornamental landscape of the estate. Fields abutted the eastern boundary.


The main entrance to the park is by the lodge at the north-east corner of the site off the Skellingthorpe Road; this was present by 1886 (OS). There are several late C20 entrances into the park from the surrounding housing. Formerly a drive led north from Doddington Road, past Top Lodge (outside the area here registered), for 650m through woodland, then entered the parkland at Black Bridge Lodge, a rendered two-storey building with a slate roof. From here, the drive, the route of which is followed by one of the paths through the country park, curved north-eastwards for 750m along an avenue of deciduous trees through parkland set with several large clumps of trees. The drive then entered a wooded area to arrive to the east of the stables (OS 1889). The lower part of the drive, south of Black Bridge Lodge, is now lost beneath the lakes of the Swanholme Lakes Local Nature Reserve.


Hartsholme Hall was designed by F H Goddard c 1862 for Joseph Shuttleworth and was built of red brick in Tudor style. It was built to the east of the Lake, 250m from the main entrance, on a site offering views over the Lake and to Lincoln Cathedral and Castle (JHCG 1876). By 1906 the Hall was substantial, having five main ground floor rooms, a winter garden, and nineteen bedrooms as well as kitchens and servants' quarters (Sale catalogue 1906).

The stables, located 200m to the south-west of the main entrance, are of brick with a slate roof. They have now (1999) been converted for use as a visitor centre and Rangers' office. A central square tower with a large window stands over the entrance into the courtyard to the north-west with long ranges to either side. Set against the north-east wall is a late C20 aviary. To the north-east of the stables is the cafe and toilet block; built in the mid 1990s, these are on the site of the country park's first cafe which was burnt down.


Hartsholme Park is dominated by Hartsholme Lake which lies in the wooded western area of the site and extends the length of the park. The main part of the Lake to the north is a roughly triangular expanse of water while a long thin tail stretches south-westwards to the southern tip. The gardens for the Hall occupy the area to the north-west and south-west of the Hall site. South-east of the main part of the Lake is the Crescent Pond created as part of Edward Milner's mid C19 landscaping (guide leaflet). There is a thin strip of woodland to the west of the Lake and more substantial ornamental woodland to the east.

Immediately north-east of the Hall site there is a terrace running from north-east to south-west, which allows views out over the Lake. Steps at the north-east and south-west ends of this upper terrace lead to a lower garden described in 1876 (JHCG) as 'a sunk panel or water garden laid out with dwarf growing evergreens of Rhododendron Wilsoni edged with Skimmia japonica and dotted with dwarf varieties of Golden-leaved Hollies'. A path leads around the edge of this garden which is now (1999) grassed, with a circle of trees in the centre planted in 1996 (guide leaflet).

South-east of the Hall site a path leads south-eastwards from the upper terrace path and, running parallel to the Hall site, joins a late C20 path which links to the south drive path. In the late C19 the path joined the south drive immediately south-west of the stables (OS 1889). The 1st edition OS map marks a fountain, now (1999) gone, 50m along the path. This fountain, made of terracotta, was designed by Pulham of Broxbourne (JHCG 1876). The path continued with embankments on either side, these consisting of projecting mounds planted with shrubs, and sheltered recesses twenty yards apart, planted alternately with Deodar cedars and Wellingtonias. At the end of this path was a gothic summerhouse, now (1999) gone (JHCG 1876). From the site of the fountain a path now (1999) leads westwards to join the Crescent Pond path. To the south-east of the Hall a range of glass was approached from the south-west through a gothic archway (glass and archway also now gone). The range consisted of a conservatory, two vineries, and an orchard house (ibid).

The pleasure grounds extend south-west and north-east of the gardens. From the upper terrace a path curves through ornamental woodland to the Crescent Pond and continues as a minor path around the Pond between limes and beeches planted in parts with an understorey of rhododendrons. This area was described in 1876 (JHCG) as 'a small ornamental pond containing a white Water Lily surrounded by a carpet of grass, standing on which in the early summer we are as it were buried in a rich mass of gorgeous flowers sheltered on every side by tall trees'. From the woodland there are views of the Lake. North of the Crescent Pond the path continues past the Boat House, on the south-west edge of the main lake. The Boat House, built of brick in 1881 (guide leaflet) with a steep pitched slate roof, was restored in the mid 1990s. To the west of the Boat House is White Bridge which marks the division between the main part of the Lake and the lower part to the south.

The north-east pleasure grounds are approached by a path from the upper terrace of the Hall site through a dell of Wellingtonias and Deodar cedars with an understorey of rhododendrons (JHCG 1876). The area to the east of the dell is now (1999) the children's playground and is surrounded by a wooden fence. The path continues to the lakeside path which runs parallel with Skellingthorpe Road. The path runs along the dam wall of the Lake and is edged with low stone coping with at regular intervals square bastions set out into the Lake. These were formerly planted with rhododendrons (ibid) but are now (1999) not planted. There are views over the Lake to an island set in its centre, richly planted with trees including Scots pine and beech with an understorey of rhododendrons. Near the west end of the path is a narrow channel set with an ornamental balustrade on either side. An obelisk stands on the most westerly of the bastions on the path. The path leads into the woodland to the north-west of the Lake and beside the path is the column first set up in 1901 to commemorate the establishment of the Lincoln Waterworks Company in 1848 and re-erected in 1902 on this spot by Colonel Harding. The path, which follows the 'Y' shape of the Lake, continues into a woodland made up of birches and Corsican pines interplanted with rhododendrons with restricted views of the water. As the path continues south, the views open out over the Lake to the central island and the Scots pines on the east bank. The lakeside edge has a thin planting of rhododendrons and small trees with a richer planting of rhododendrons on the west side of the path. As the path continues south the Boat House can be seen, 200m to the south-west of the Hall site. Towards the southern end of the main part of the Lake the path is edged by large beeches. At the southern end of the main lake a path leads over the White Bridge back to the gardens and pleasure grounds around the site of the Hall.


The parkland accompanying the Hall prior to its demolition lay south-west of the building and east of the lower tail of the Lake. It was bisected by the south drive from Doddington Road and dotted with three clumps of woodland. The parkland is now (late C20) part of the country park and is an area of c 22ha crossed by a network of paths.

To the west of the park, south of the White Bridge, a tarmacked path leads south on the west bank of the lower part of the Lake. A stream runs parallel to the path west of the Lake and between it and the housing on the west an area of birch and alder form a green corridor. Further south along the path, willows have been planted on the lakeside, and further on still rhododendrons are planted amongst the birches. By the Black Bridge at the southern tip of the Lake a path leads west into the housing. This wooden bridge was rebuilt by conservation volunteers in 1997. To the south of the Lake, a small stream, the Piral Drain (outside the boundary here registered), leads south to Doddington Road and beyond. From the east end of Black Bridge, a path, edged on either side with birches and young beech, runs north parallel to the east side of the Lake to join the pleasure grounds at Crescent Pond.


The kitchen garden stood to the north-east of the stables; only the south-west wall now (1999) remains.


Journal of Horticulture and Cottage Gardener, (9 March 1876)

Lincoln Past, Present and Future (1969)

J Anthony, The Gardens of Britain 6, (1979), p 167

Lincolnshire Echo, 27 April 1978; 11 April 1979; 18 March 1982; 17 May 1988; 26 February 1999

Lincolnshire Chronicle, 18 March 1982

N Pevsner et al, The Buildings of England: Lincolnshire (2nd edition 1989), p 526

D Start, Lincolnshire from the Air (1993), p 19

Hartsholme Country Park and Swanholme Lakes Local Nature Reserve, guide leaflet, (Hartsholme Country Park 1992, 1997)

Step into the Past An historical trail around Hartsholme, guide leaflet, (Hartsholme Country Park no date)


OS 6" to 1 mile: 2nd edition published 1908

OS 25" to 1 mile: 1st edition surveyed 1885-6, published 1889; 2nd edition published 1907

Archival items

Messrs Osborn and Mercer, Sale Particulars of the Hartsholme Hall Estate, 1906 (FS 24/114), (Lincolnshire Archives)

Description written: January 2000

Amended: April 2000

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts


01522 873577

Access contact details

This is a municipal site for general public use.


Hartsholme Park is about 3 kilometres south-west of the city centre. Buses 29, SB2, SB6 and 66a run from the city centre. The nearest bus stop is 200 metres from the main entrance.


City of Lincoln Council

City Hall, Beaumont Fee, Lincoln, LN1 1DD

The following is from the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. For the most up-to-date Register entry, please visit the The National Heritage List for England (NHLE):


Hartsholme Lake was constructed by the Lincoln Waterworks Company which was set up in 1846. Joseph Shuttleworth bought the land on the shores of the Lake and built Hartsholme Hall in 1862. In the same year the gardens and park were laid by Edward Milner (1819-84). On the death of Joseph Shuttleworth in 1883 his son Alfred sold the property to his father's business partner, Nathaniel Clayburn Coburn. Colonel Thomas W Harding became the owner of Hartsholme in 1902 and improved the gardens. Hartsholme Hall was put up for sale in 1906 and was purchased by Lord Liverpool in 1909. Thomas Place of Northallerton purchased the estate in 1939 but appears not to have taken up residence. During the Second World War, the Hall was an Officers' Mess and the estate was used for military training. The Hall and 130 acres (about 54 hectares) of land were sold in 1951 to Lincoln Corporation; most of the Hall was then demolished and the park was opened to the public. The park was designated as a Country Park in 1974 and in 1978, the year that it was officially opened, the stables were converted into a visitor centre, cafe, and toilets. Hartsholme Park remains (1999) in local authority ownership. To the south of the country park is Swanholme Lakes Local Nature Reserve, an area of flooded sand and gravel pits. The woodland to the west of the Lake was developed for housing in the 1990s.


Victorian (1837-1901)

Associated People
Features & Designations


  • The National Heritage List for England: Register of Parks and Gardens

  • Reference: GD1982
  • Grade: II
  • Site of Nature Conservation Importance


  • Walk
  • Lake
  • House (featured building)
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
Key Information





Principal Building

Parks, Gardens And Urban Spaces


Victorian (1837-1901)





Open to the public


Electoral Ward