The Hawkhills, Yorkshire
The Hawkhills is sited in that part of the Vale of York which became known as the Forest of Galtres, a Royal Forest from the days of the earliest Norman kings of England. The site has recorded history dating back to 1630, where the Temple Newsham papers record the plan for clearing the Forest of Galtres, when the King decided on felling the forest.
- Principal Winner: BALI Award, Public Limited Access, 2018
Today, the Hawkhills is a stunning Georgian and Victorian country home, set in 240 acres of immaculately maintained gardens. The country home has been sympathetically updated and modernised to provide state-of-the-art facilities and modern hotel accommodation.
It is also home to The Emergency Planning College, which is operated by Serco who deliver training to assist in organisational resilience, which is approved by the Civil Contingencies Secretariat of the Cabinet Office.
The Hawkhills is an outstanding venue for weddings, conferences, team building and corporate away days, training events, charity functions, social events and meetings.
Within the original Grounds Maintenance Specification, included with our submission, it was detailed that the grounds needed to be maintained to the appropriate standards, paying particular attention to front of house.
Since being awarded the Hawkhills contract, our on-site team has worked hard to bring the site back up to the expected high standards, after being neglected by the previous subcontractor for seven years.
- “Since the JOC improvement programme, the Hawkhill grounds and gardens now provide the perfect setting for woodland walks, running trails or just a nice place to sit and enjoy our beautiful gardens.
- In addition, our magnificent parkland grounds are a stunning setting for dream weddings and the Hawkhills is proving to be a more popular choice than ever.”
At the start of the contract, our Head Gardener, together with our Client and put in place a Winter Works Programme which detailed the areas requiring immediate attention. This was broken down into three main areas: the Accommodation Block, Reception area and the Decking Garden.
In the first year, the grass across the estate was identified as being almost 90% moss. To remove the moss, our team used a scarifier every month. During the first process of scarifying, our team filled and removed a total of 15 tipper trucks of moss. Scarifying the grass is still an ongoing process, and the moss is now recycled on-site with it being used within the ha-ha to help prevent stinging nettles growing. The vastly improved main lawn to the rear of the stately home is now known as the croquet lawn used for team building activities and an area for wedding guests to congregate.
To help support the site improvements, our passionate Head Gardener has built an on-site nursery from scratch on a piece of redundant grass. Within the nursery, our Head Gardener has created a poly tunnel where plants and shrubs have been grown from seed and cuttings taken from species on-site and then replanted on the contract. In addition, a soil nursery bed and a gravel nursery bed have been introduced which are used to help nurture larger plants before they’re replanted on-site.
Since the completion of the works and site improvements, and the on-going regeneration of the site, the Hawkills has seen yearly wedding bookings rise, providing increased revenue, with many guests and visitors commenting on the high standards of the grounds.