Parks & Outdoors

Marlay Park restoration works to start this week

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Marlay Park works to start this week

This week we will be carrying out works to stabilise and future-proof an important part of the Marlay Park historic landscape. The HaHa is a long ditch with a retaining wall on one side. It might have a funny name, but a HaHa played an important part in garden design known as the “English Landscape Style”. It was a clever way to allow a clear open view from the house across the wider landscape while acting as a barrier to grazing animals. An ordinary fence or wall would have interrupted the views and the HaHa makes it feel like the whole landscape is part of the garden. Some say it is called a HaHa because the optical illusion was only revealed when you came close to the ditch, and people would exclaim - A-ha!

There are two steps to the restoration:
1. Temporarily stabilise parts of the feature by inserting a trench box and infill lined with a geotextile
2. Removal of temporary stabilisation measures and restoration/future-proofing of haha in line with built and natural heritage conservation methods

This work is Action 4 of the Marlay Park Masterplan.

How a HaHa works

The gardens at Marlay were painted in 1837 by Anne La Touche who lived in the house – she may be showing here how the HaHa allows a clear view across the lawn to the house. The HaHa first appears in mapping as a line on the 1843 OS map.


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