RESEARCHERS from the University of Gloucestershire have teamed up with Hestercombe House and Gardens to explore water conservation solutions. 

The research will take place at Hestercombe’s gardens using mill devices, machines and water systems in the area to channel water from the top of the gardens, down the valleys, around the site and to other locations.

Hestercombe House and Gardens has over 300 years of garden design, offering a unique combination of Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian landscapes. 

Researchers hope to assess the impact of garden design on sustainability, and the benefits of seasonal water systems to the environment, amid a scarcity of water during some months and an abundance of water in others.

One critical area of the project known as ‘Test Bed’ will help to inform best practice in water management and water conservation at other gardens and parks across the UK.

However, the project broadly looks at how visual and sound art practices incorporating flowers, trees, plants and landscapes can be used to find nature-based solutions in relation to climate change. 

‘Test Bed’ will be launched at Hestercombe House and Gardens during a public event on May 14, featuring a series of audio-visual works structured incorporating moonlight, water and sound.

Dr Matthew Lovett, Associate Head of the University’s School of Creative Arts, said: “We are living in the age of the ‘Anthropocene’, where the extent of humanity’s impact on Earth’s ecosystems is becoming ever clearer.  

“We’re excited to be working with Hestercombe House and Gardens to explore how – through creative research within living environments – we can envision ways of being that are attuned to the natural world.”

Hestercombe’s Creative Director, Tim Martin, said: “At a time when the world’s climate is changing rapidly, Hestercombe needs to respond.

“Working with others to contribute and develop new and natural ways of not only managing and conserving water, but also ways of successfully managing our historic landscapes for future generations. ‘Test Bed’ is a project that could become central to sharing best practice with others.”

Tickets for the ‘Test Bed’ event (May 14, 1.45pm to 5.30pm) can be found online via Herstercombe’s website.