Palladian Bridge: Prior Park
Prior Park is a Palladian house, designed by John Wood, the Elder in the 1730s and 1740s for Ralph Allen, on a hill overlooking Bath, Somerset, England.
The first park on the site was set out by John of Tours the Bishop of Bath and Wells around 1100, as part of a deer park, and subsequently sold to Humphrey Colles and then Matthew Colhurst. It is set in a small steep valley, with views of the city of Bath. Prior Park’s 11.3 hectares (28 acres) landscape garden was laid out by the poet Alexander Pope between the construction of the house and 1764. During 1737, at least 55,200 trees, mostly elm and Scots pine, were planted, along the sides and top of the valley. No trees were planted on the valley floor. Water was channeled into fish ponds at the bottom of the valley.
Inside the Palladian Bridge
Later work, during the 1750s and 1760s, was undertaken by the landscape gardenerCapability Brown. This included extending the gardens to the north and removing the central cascade making the combe into a single sweep. The garden was influential in defining the style of garden known as the English garden in continental Europe.
The features in the gardens include a Palladian bridge (one of only 4 left in the world), Gothic temple, gravel cabinet, Mrs Allen’s Grotto, ice house, lodge and three pools with curtain walls plus a serpentine lake. The Palladian bridge, which is a copy of the one at Wilton House, has been designated as a Grade I listed building and Scheduled Ancient Monument. It was repaired in 1936.